2 Jul 2020

The Rest Is History: the search for the SS Ventnor

From Lately, 10:40 pm on 2 July 2020

RNZ National and it's now time for The Rest Is History and this week we're looking at the story of a ship that sank to the bottom of the Tasman Sea almost 120 years ago.

The SS Ventnor left Wellington in October 1902 carrying the bodies of 499 Chinese men, back to China to their families. These men were mostly gold miners who had worked in the Otago, Greymouth area.

But the ship sank off the Hokianga Heads after striking a reef near Taranaki and trying to head north for repairs in Auckland. Most of the crew made it ashore, but 13, including the captain, drowned.

The wreck of the Ventnor was initially located in 2012 by a documentary crew who this week say they now have enough footage to make a documentary. 

Wellington writer and editor Kirsten Wong has been following the mission to find the Ventnor for over a decade.

The SS Ventnor sank in the Hokianga Heads in 1902.

The SS Ventnor sank in the Hokianga Heads in 1902. Photo: Auckland Library