The Royal Navy was no doubt re­lieved to have such a white ele­phant off its books...

Boating NZ - - Feature -

decks for her fu­ture com­ple­ment of 60 boys and 12 adult of­fi­cers, en­gi­neers and in­struc­tors.

Al­most all of the 527 cadets who com­pleted the 18-month cadet­ship aboard her over the next 14 years were des­tined to become sailors aboard mer­chant ves­sels (only 25 were to join the navy). And a thor­ough ground­ing it was.

The dis­ci­pline was man-o-war style, train­ing these young­sters in sail-han­dling, all-round sea­man­ship, en­gine-room skills, sig­nalling, gun­nery and small-boat sail­ing. Ev­ery year dur­ing early summer Amokura would do the rounds of New Zealand’s sub-antarc­tic is­lands, ser­vic­ing the cast-away de­pots and re­mote light­houses, largely un­der sail.

It must have been a tough ex­er­cise in tough­en­ing-up for these boys who these days would be barely out of in­ter­me­di­ate school. Cap­tain Hooper has been lauded as a “lib­eral mas­ter, show­ing tact­ful­ness and un­der­stand­ing in deal­ing with the youths un­der his con­trol.” How­ever, read­ing the ac­counts of lads like Barbara’s grea­tun­cle Albert, the ship’s dis­ci­pline would these days be con­sid­ered pretty tough:

“The in­struc­tors all car­ried switches or wands with them. You stepped out of line in any way at all, cheeky or

ABOVE She even ap­peared on post­cards of the era.

FAR LEFT She spent years moored at Queen’s Wharf, stor­ing coal from the West­port mines.

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