Shifting sands reveal a 150-year-old wreck.
The 32-tonne Daring was a trading ship built at Mangawhai just two years earlier – and it appears the Muriwai beaching wasn’t her first argument with the shore – she’d foundered a year earlier at the Waikato Heads.
On this, her last voyage, she was carrying a cargo of grass seed from Taranaki to Onehunga and, despite the gale, beached in a relatively intact condition. None of the crew or her two passengers were lost.
Alerted to the unexpected reappearance of the wreck, Auckland Council’s principal cultural heritage specialist and maritime historian, Robert Brassey, researched the Council’s heritage inventory and record of wrecks near the Kaipara Harbour entrance.
He narrowed her identity to one of four vessels – and as soon as he saw her realised it was a two-masted vessel of New Zealand construction. Her measurements and dimensions exactly matched those of the Daring. He was subsequently proved correct by an inscription on the inside of the hatch, showing the vessel’s registered number and tonnage.
The Daring has been buried in sand almost since she was driven ashore 153 years ago. This provided protection from tides and weather as well as from fungal growth which normally accelerates a wreck’s degradation.