The burning wreck of the Tainui is seen here from a cliff overlooking Gore Bay, in September 1919. All but one of the crew died attempting to escape the inferno. Wartime shipping constraints had resulted in the Tainui, a wooden, refrigerated, coastal ship, carrying a variety of cargoes. Benzine had been loaded despite the concerns of watersiders that many of the tins were leaking. The captain decided to leave damaged tins behind – but then, because checking the cargo slowed loading, put them into the forehold instead. A pair of metal ploughs were put on top of the tins, even though metal striking metal was known to produce sparks.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.