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175th commemoration for the wreck of the HMS Buffalo

175th commemoration for the wreck of the HMS Buffalo

Events are coming together for the 175th commemoration for the wreck of the HMS Buffalo in Mercury Bay. The week-long programme runs from 27 July though to 2 August and marks 175 years, since the Buffalo was driven ashore in Whitianga, following a easterly storm on 28 July 1840.

Two crew members died and further deaths were prevented by the quick actions of Captain James Wood, crew and local Maori. Some crew members stayed on and settled in New Zealand.

"The week-long programme of activities will recognise the history of the Buffalo; the loss of two of the crew; the historical importance of the ship’s activities to Whitianga; and the many stories linked to the Buffalo’s journeys," says Ron Morgan, one of the event coordinators.

"The Buffalo was a store ship for the British navy and during her time was used to transport both goods and, on occasion, convicts from Canada to Australia, which is why there's the connection with the British and Canadians," says Mr Morgan.

In 1986 a team of maritime archaeologists and volunteer divers led by the South Australian Government’s State Heritage Branch located the wreck site, which is visible today and can be seen from the air at low tide and in clear water conditions.

In 2009 the Deployable Hydrographic Survey Unit of the Royal NZ Navy located the wreck using side-scan sonar and dived on the wreck using snorkels. Much of the wreck has been broken up by storms with the remaining timbers of the hull still in solid condition despite over 150 years in the ocean.

Over the Homecoming Week, the local Glass Bottom Boat will be operating a Buffalo Cruise which is a shortened trip tracing the route the Buffalo travelled in the storm and stopping at the commemorative buoy that will be laid on the day of the beaching. The trip will also include a harbour, marina and waterways trip .

Find out more information and details of the weeks line up of activities.


ENDS

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