The SS "Awarua" is a large and impressive model of a New Zealand steam tug. It is 9 feet (3.57 m) in length and was built by Mr Harry F. Allen of Carlton, a Sydney suburb, in the 1940s. Awarua is a Maori mytholgical creature.
The full size steam tug was built in Scotland in 1932 by the Glasgow builders Lobnitz for the Bluff Harbour Board. Bluff Harbour is on the Foveaux Straight at the southern end of New Zealand's South Island.
The "Awarua" left the Clyde ship yards on 23 August 1932 and steamed the 13,000 km to New Zealand via Algiers, Malta, the Suez Canal, Colombo, Sabang in Indonesia, and Albany in Western Australia. The little steam tug made the voyage in 73 days calling at ports on the way for coal, with Captain F. Donovan as master. The vessel went well in bad weather and shipped no water.
The vessel was registered in Invercargill, New Zealand, in 1932, with the official No. 128,594. It had the international code signal letters ZMJV. Its dimensions were length 131.2 ft (40 m), breadth 32.1 ft (9.8 m), depth 13.9 ft (4.2 m), and gross tonnage 411.
The tug replaced the "Theresa Ward" which had entered service in Bluff Harbour in 1900. The "Awarua" was used in around the Bluff port, said to be one of the most dangerous harbour mouths in the world. It was not only used as a harbour tug, but pilot boat and salvage tug. The tug was sunk as a dive wreck in December 2008.
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