Some of you may remember the removal of the propeller from the old HMNZS HINAU
at Kaiaua, Firth of Thames in the early 1980s. This was quite an evolution and the propeller was eventually placed on a plinth in front of the flag pole at Ngapona’s HQ in St Mary’s Bay.
Hinau was once a proud naval patrol craft. These 134′ trawler-type vessels were originally built in great numbers for the Admiralty in the latter days of the first world was, as Castle-class ships. Hilariously outdated (steam powered) by the time WWII was in full swing, the NZ Marine Department curiously chose to commission a few more for minesweeping duties, and Hinau was launched in Auckland in 1942.
Following the war she was mothballed at Devonport due to a shortage of coal, and eventually sold for scrap in September 1954. She was spared the cutting torch, and instead was beached at Stevenson’s gravel quarry near Whakatiwai to serve as a breakwater. She is still there today, more or less intact and highly photogenic. She will be known to many Kiwi’s as the ship on the cover of Dave Dobbyn’s 1998 album, The Islander.
Does anyone recall what happened to the plaque which was attached to it or the time capsule which was buried beneath it? Withe the decommissioning of the St Mary’s Bay site, the propeller was moved to the grounds of the Navy Museum at Torpedo Bay, minus the plaque!