SS Wairarapa
Sailed Sydney 6:00pm on Wednesday October 24th 1894
Sank on October 29th 1894 after striking Great Barrier Island outside Auckland.

Story of the tragedy of SS Wairarapa                  Crew List of SS Wairarapa

Passengers Listed on her Final Voyage


Saloon Passengers

Name Residence


Arkle Miss Christchurch Perished
Baldwin Mrs H Wellington Perished
Child Wellington Perished
Bowker Mr J A Daylesford, Victoria Perished
Bramwell Mr R Auckland Survived
Bray Mr A Sydney Perished
Breen Mr J D Melbourne Survived
Brown Mrs F Auckland Perished
Child Auckland Perished
Child Auckland Perished
Buckleton Miss Sydney Survived
Bullock Miss E L Melbourne Survived
Burton Miss E England Perished
Chadwick Mr J Melbourne Survived
Chaleyer Mr J Melbourne Survived
Chamberlain Mr A J England Survived
Chapman Mr C A M Napier Survived
Chick Mr George Port Chalmers Perished
Cole Miss Miriam Wellington Survived
Corrie Mr T Wellington Survived
Dickenson Miss E Auckland Survived
Doran Reverend T Dunedin Survived
Drybrough Mr D Sydney Perished
Dunbar Mr A J Lyttelton Survived
Dunkley Mr S Melbourne Perished
Ferguson Mr W Wellington Survived
Mrs Wellington Survived
Flavell Miss Laura Fielding Perished
Fyfe Mrs J M Dunedin Perished
Infant Dunedin Perished
Geogehan Mr W B Melbourne Survived
Glen Miss Sydney Perished
Grusning Mr F R Auckland Survived
Hardy Mr Samuel Tauranga Survived
Haua Mr A Auckland Survived
Hill Mr Christchurch Perished
Mrs Christchurch Perished
Hollis Mrs H Adelaide Perished
Hotcke Reverend Perished
Kelly Mr Andrew Dunedin Perished
Knight Miss Daisy Wellington Perished
Langley Mr C Wellington Survived
Leighton Mr F W Auckland Survived
Levesque James Daniel Geelong Survived
Mary Emma Geelong Perished
Lumley Mr A J Dunedin Survived
Manderson Mrs A Sydney Perished
McIvor Reverend S Hobart Perished
McKellar Miss Melbourne Survived
McKinnon Mr Charles East Strathbourne, Victoria Perished
Mills Mr A Auckland Perished
Paul Miss Annette Wellington Survived
Peters Reverend W Survived
Pipe Mr James Survived
Pounds Mr H H Melbourne Survived
Rayward Mrs Christchurch Perished
Infant Christchurch Perished
Infant Christchurch Perished
Read Miss Ex Austral Perished
Rhodes Mrs Cairns, Queensland Perished
Infant Cairns, Queensland Perished
Roberts Mr T Auckland Survived
Rowbotham Miss Sydney Perished
Runting Mr L Melbourne Perished
Ryan Mrs T (Louisa) Port Chalmers Perished
Scoular Mr W Dunedin Perished
Mrs Dunedin Perished
Scoular Miss Fanny Dunedin Perished
Scoular Miss Nellie Dunedin Perished
Skewes Mr S Napier Survived
Mrs Napier Perished
Child Napier Perished
Child Napier Perished
Child Napier Perished
Smith Mrs M Auckland Perished
Smith Mrs N Port Chalmers Perished
Smith Mr S C Sydney Survived
Spencer Mr T Auckland Perished
Stewart Mrs C Launceston Perished
Sullivan Miss Sydney Perished
Talbot Mr J Victoria Perished
Varley Mr F W Melbourne Survived
Warry Mr W Port Chalmers Perished
Waterhouse Mrs Sydney Perished
Child Sydney Perished
West Mr England Perished
Mrs England Perished
Master England Perished
Master England Perished
Master Felix England Survived
Whaley Mr Melbourne Perished
White Mr F C Ballarat Perished
White Mr J C Sydney Perished
Williams Miss Jane Auckland Survived
Williams Mis Sarah Auckland Perished

Steerage Passengers

Name Residence


Ambrose Mr M Survived
Austin Mr J Survived
Bailey Mr Oamaru Perished
Baldwin Mr Dunedin Perished
Beregar Mr J Germany Perished
Bird Mr G Wellington Perished
Black Mrs A Wellington Survived
Boyd Miss Survived
Bromwell Mr F Napier Perished
Brown Mr W Melbourne Survived
Brown Mr G Napier Perished
Butler Mr T Napier Perished
Butler Mrs Napier Perished
Clark Mr T Napier Survived
Chan Wong Perished
Cogan Mr N Survived
Courtney Mr Perished
Mrs Perished
Infant Perished
Crowther Mr Perished
Mrs Perished
Child Perished
Dalton Miss M Ireland Survived
Davis Mr T Ex German Steamer Perished
Dickson Mr M Edingurgh Perished
Donovan Mr J Geelong Perished
Fisher Mr A Lyttelton Survived
Fraser Mr J F Survived
French Mr A Auckland Survived
Geenty Mr J Napier Survived
Gordon Mr A Perished
Harris Doctor Wellington Survived
Mrs Wellington Survived
Harris Mr J Wellington Survived
Hastie Mr F Oamaru Survived
Hastie Mr T Oamaru Perished
Hauser Miss A Daylesford, Victoria Survived
Henderson Mr T Napier Survived
Heavey Mr P Napier Perished
Hickey Mr M Geelong Survived
Hills Master G Survived
Howland Mr T C Oamaru Perished
Joe Some Perished
Johnstone Mr W Ex Austral Perished
Jolly Mr H Chrischurch Survived
Lewis Mr J Dunedin Perished
Lyon Mr G Napier Perished
Mackay Mr J L Perished
Madden Mr J Woolongong Survived
Manderson Mr W Westport Perished
Martin Mrs E Ex German Mail Steamer Perished
McKenzie Mr J Leeds Perished
McMillan Mr D Waikouaiti Perished
Melicie Mr J Naples Perished
Monaghan Mr O Sydney Survived
Mulvay Mr J Survived
Nicholls Mr F Survived
Nicholson Mr P Survived
Parrish Mr G Survived
Pearson Mr W Survived
Perry Miss J M Survived
Pitches Miss A M Ex German Steamer Perished
Roberts Mr D M Melbourne Survived
Robets Mr J T Survived
Rosmergy Mrs New Plymouth Perished
Rosmergy Miss New Plymouth Perished
Rosmergy Miss New Plymouth Perished
Ross Mr W Survived
Scott Mr C Survived
Sinclair Mr W H Perished
Snell Mr Jos Survived
Sow Wai Survived
Stanley Mr W Geelong Perished
Stephens Mr G Survived
Stewart Mr James Survived
Stuckey Mr E England Perished
Terraboccio Mr A Naples Survived
Tuckett Mr Survived
Tucksworth Mrs G Wellington Perished
Child Wellington Perished
Vella Mr W Naples Survived
Mrs Naples Survived
Veneke Mr F Perished
Vorbach Mrs Blenheim Perished
Walker Mr G Survived
Wheatley Miss Kate England Survived
Wishart Mr P Survived
Won Jim Survived
Wong Chau Perished
Wright Mr J Survived


F R Grusning (or Gruszning):
Frantz Robert Gruszning was born in Memel, Prussia (now Klaipedia, Lithuania) to Julius and Henrietta Wallansbus (possible variant is Valankas) abt 1865/1866.  From family stories it is believed Frantz left Prussia with a brother to avoid conscription into the Prussian Army, his brother is supposed to have gone to America while Frantz came to New Zealand.  I have not been able to find a record of Frantz on any shipping lists apart from this one, however he was a cook by trade and could have worked his way to New Zealand on a ship.  Frantz's naturalisation certificate provides that he was 28 years old when naturalised and had been in New Zealand for 10 years at that stage (July 1894). Again from a family story Frantz allegedly first landed in Wanganui.  He then moved to Auckland where he met and married Sofia (Sophia) Dufty on 1 July 1887 at age 21.  They had three children, 2 boys - Harold Arthur and Francis Robert (aka Frank), and 1 girl - Edith.  Frantz died in Wanganui about 18 December 1915, he is buried in Aramoho Cemetery in Wanganui.  Sophia remarried to a Cliffe and she died sometime in the 1930's, closer to 1940 it is believed.  There does not appear to have been much contact between Frantz and his family back in Prussia, apart from one letter that is known of that arrived from Eastern Europe written in Russian Cyrilic script, this letter was destroyed due apparently to the "Cold War".  Another letter we are aware of was written in 1968 by a german man living in New Zealand who had returned to visit his brother in East Berlin and when there a neighbour asked for a favour.  The neighbour's name was Kurt Gruschning and he had a family member with the surname Grussning or Gruschning in Auckland, New Zealand.  It appears no-one in my family replied to this letter and by the time it reached the possession of those interested in researching the family tree there has not been any trace of a Gruschning in Germany that we have been able to find. When the SS Wairarapa was wrecked Frantz was returning from Australia, where he had worked as a chef/cook at a reception for royalty (this from a family member). His recount was that the ship was moving slowly in thick fog and hit rocks, he was able to walk off the ship onto these rocks.  He said that the local Maori helped considerably with sheltering the survivors.  He had little else to say about the tragedy.
If you have a connection with this family or would like to know more please contact Kylie Grusning.


LEVESQUE family:
Mr & Mrs J Levesque from Geelong were James Daniel Levesque & his wife Mary Emma (nee Wilcock). As the date I have for Mary's death is 29 October 1894 , Great Barrier Island, I thought her parents must have lived there however finding the passenger list proved this wrong.  James is my husband Ron Olsen's Great Uncle and Charles Frederick Levesque (James Daniels brother) was his Grandfather. James Daniel Levesque was born 9 July 1870 in St Lawrence, Jersey, Channel Islands and was the eldest son of James Stanley  Levesque and his wife Mary Ann (nee Humby). On December 1884 Jame's parents, grandparents (James & Susan - nee Le Brun - Levesque and Jame's siblings Mary Isabel, Joshua Henry, Susan Rachel, John William, Charles Fredrick, Harriet Jane and Ralph Stanley arrived in Victoria on board the SS Kildare from the Channel Islands. Also aboard were Mary Ann's two sisters Jane and Harriet. Only Susan, Jame's sister, settled permanently in Victoria while the rest of the family later migrated to the North Island of New Zealand and are buried there. James Daniel married Mary Emma Wilcock sometime before they board the SS Wairarapa on it's final tragic voyage. Mary was born in Yorkshire England in 1867 and migrated to Geelong before marrying James there. She was drowned on the 29 October 1894 at the Great Barrier Island and James must have returned to Australia, as in 1897 he married Catherine MALCOLM. Catherine was born in Geelong on 21 May 1868 and died later in Te Papapa, Auckland on 27 March 1931. They had seven children born in Victoria and one child in New Zealand. James died on the 24 November 1949 at 76 Paice Ave, Sandringham, Auckland. If you have a connection with this family or would like to know more please contact Gael Olsen.


Mrs N SMITH, Mrs T RYAN, passengers, and Thomas RYAN, fireman:
The first two passengers were mother and daughter, Mary Smith n�e COLEMAN and Louisa Ryan n�e Smith of Port Chalmers. Mary COLEMAN was born in 1842 at Boyle, Co. Roscommon IRL,
the daughter of Dominic Coleman and Mary MCHUGH, and arrived at Port Chalmers on the Gananoque in 1863. She married Nicholas Smith at Dunedin in 1864. According to Port Chalmers Early People he was born in Italy circa 1835, arrived in NZ circa 1861 and was a labourer/stevedore of Currie Street. Nicholas appears to have arrived at Port Chalmers on the Oscar from or via Melbourne VIC on 27 August 1861. His parents were Nicholas Smith and Louisa JONES. Nicholas and Mary had six children, John (1865-1904) m. MITCHLEY; Louisa (1866 -1894) m. RYAN; Cornelius Coleman (1867-1886); Andrew James (1871-1910) m. HEALEY; Ernest b. 1874; Kate Maria b. 1876. Louisa Smith is the Mrs T Ryan in the passenger list, and had married Thomas RYAN, a fireman on board the Wairarapa, at Dunedin on 11 April 1984, only a few months before the wreck. Her father Nicholas Smith died in August 1894 and perhaps the bereaved mother and newlywed daughter elected to travel over to Sydney to recuperate, returning on Louisa’s husband’s ship. Both women, aged 52 and 28 respectively, died but Thomas Ryan survived. Thomas Ryan was born at Lingan, Nova Scotia Canada 1 January 1864. Following the tragedy of the Wairarapa he joined the NZ Police on 17 April 1896 at Wellington and in several incidents during his early career saved several persons from drowning in Wellington Harbour, including the keeper and his family of the coal-hulk Omega in 1901. He married in 1900, had four children, and retired from the police in 1928 having reached the rank of Senior Sergeant. He died in 1942 and is buried at Karori Cemetery. His photo and a description of his career appear in R.T. Hermans Capital Coppers (1985). If you have a connection with this family or would like to know more please contact Tor Riley.


Samuel HARDY:
Sam Hardy was born about 1845-46 in Nottingham England. We know nothing about his parents, though there is an entry in the St Catherine's Index which may be him. Family lore has it that Sam's father wanted him apprenticed to a trade - draper I think - which did not appeal to him, so he ran away, took a cattle ship to North America, and from there followed the trail of gold discoveries from California to Australia and to the West Coast of N.Z. where he married Flora McInness (parents Hugh McInnes and Margaret McLucas, both families originally from the Isle of Mull to the Hunter Valley) who had come from Australia to marry him. The marriage took place in the Presbyterian Church in Hokitika, 5 June 1877. He was 30 and a miner, she was 20. If his son Charles is anywhere close to correct on his death certificate, he had been in New Zealand since about 1866-67, and there is a record in the Victorian Archives for his probable arrival in Melbourne aboard the Marco Polo in March 1862. We know he had sisters in East Maitland whom he visited frequently later in the century (I have photos of them, but no idea who they are!). The first child, Jessie, was born in Hokitika in 1879. By March 1880, the family had moved to Tauranga where he established Hardy Transport, a busy transport company that plied over the Bay of Plenty/southern Coromandel and as far north as Auckland. The family home was on Fourth Ave, Lot 469, Sec 2 in an 1881 roll. It was off Cameron Road and part of it is now occupied by a medical clinic. On his death, he left a considerable fortune in property to his son Archibald, in trust for his widow and the daughters. Sam's trips to Australia to visit his sisters are said to have cost him five pounds sterling for each trip as a saloon passenger. In 1894 his final trip was on the Wairarapa which was wrecked on 29 October on Great Barrier Island. Sam was amongst about half the passengers and two-thirds of the crew that survived. He never talked much about his roll in the wreck and rescue, but we understand that he helped a considerable number of passengers to safety. Details of the voyage are in the family papers. Death recorded 1909/192 in Waihi. He was 62 and appears to have died of complications of surgery for stomach cancer and consequent pneumonia. According to his son Charles, who lived in Waihi and reported the details, he was a coal merchant. Charlie had no knowledge of his grandparents' names and knew only that his father had been born in England. There is no record of his burial. He was survived by three sons and four daughters. Unfortunately none of his granchildren had been born prior to his death, and while two of them are still alive, they were born 1913 and 1914 (my mother) and any knowledge they have is very much second hand. Kitty, born 1913 is the source of most of the information I have on Sam and Flora. Her father was Charlie, the oldest son. The children of the marriage were: Jessie, Charles, Lily, Selina, Margaret (my grandmother), Christina, Hugh (died in 1918 returning from WW1) Robert (died as an infant) and Archibald. I have a formal family photo from about 1891-2 taken just before Archie was born. If you have a connection with this family or would like to know more please contact Melda Brunette.