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No. 55 (June 1966)
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SHIP'S MASTER
DIES AT SEA

Captain Albert Mokomoko, one of the very few Maoris to become master of a merchant ship, died at sea on 12 March, aged 49.

Master of Holm and Co.'s Holmlea, Captain Mokomoko collapsed and died when his ship was in Cook Strait on its way from Lyttelton to Onehunga.

Captain Mokomoko, a member of the Whakatohea tribe, was born in Opotiki of a family well known for its knowledge of the sea. His father was pilot at the port of Opotiki and his five brothers all looked to the sea for their livelihood, one of them becoming a chief engineer.

Starting his career in 1935, Captain Mokomoko spent two years before the mast in inter-colonial vessels. He then spent six years in ships of A. G. Frankham's coastal fleet and obtained his mate's ticket in 1942. He next joined the Northern Steamship Company and obtained his master's ticket in 1946.

Mr Maaka Tauranga

Mr Maaka Tauranga died recently in Gisborne, aged 81.

Distinguished for his fine record of service in the First World War, Mr Tauranga was an original member of the Maori Contingent and survived two woundings in action.

He was wounded in action on the Gallipoli Peninsula and after treatment in Middle East Hospitals was invalided home to New Zealand, where he made a good recovery and volunteered a second time to serve in France. Mr Tauranga is thought to be one of only two Maori servicemen who left New Zealand twice for the 1914–18 war.

In France Mr Tauranga was wounded again while working under enemy fire, but he was not disabled for long.

Returning to New Zealand he took up his former occupation as a shepherd and drover, in which capacity he was highly regarded.

Mr Tauranga was a widower. He is survived by two sons and two daughters.

Picture icon

Taranaki Herald photo
Captain Albert Mokomoko

Three years later he was given his first command and was master of several ships of the Northern Company's fleet before transferring to the Holm Co.

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Speaking of Captain Mokomoko, the managing director of the Holm Co., Captain J. F. Holm, said, “He was both highly regarded and well-liked.” His skill as master was recognised by the fact that he had won pilotage exemptions from every port in New Zealand.

Captain Mokomoko's home was in Auckland, where he was buried. He leaves a wife and children.