Dar­ing Rev­e­la­tions

Shift­ing sands re­veal a 150-year-old wreck.

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY COR­RIE COOK

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.

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