5 Sep 2015

Memory of deadly shipping disaster lives on in Northland

10:35 am on 5 September 2015

Residents of Whangarei who remember one of Northland's worst shipping disasters will gather on a coastal headland today to remember those who died.

It is 40 years this week since the freighter Capitaine Bougainville caught fire and sank off Whananaki, causing the loss of 16 lives, including the wife and children of the captain.

Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai said those who helped the survivors would never forget that night in 1975, nor would the wider community.

"We've got so many pieces of memorabilia around about it. We've got our Capitaine Bougainville theatre and the bell from the ship... And, of course, for a lot of people it's in their living memory as well."

Ms Mai said it was incredible the ship's captain, Jean Thomas, had travelled from France for the 40th anniversary of the sinking; as he did for the first memorial service 10 years ago.