MV Hauraki built by Wm. Denny & Bros Dumbarton for Union Steamship Co of New Zealand. Launched on 28th November 1921 & completed 17th March 1922.
She was the first large diesel powered ship built by Dennys and was the first motorship in New Zealand waters.
7,113GRT, 4425NRT, length 450.3ft, beam 58.2ft &depth 31.4ft. Twin screw powered by 2x 8 cylinder Oil engines 4S.C.SA. built by North British Diesel Engine Works Ltd., Whiteinch giving Hauraki1085NHP & 12.5 knots.
She was manned by a crew of 56 an had cabin space for 9 passengers.
When ordered she was allocated one of the two berths that Dennys held for British India use. After launching she was towed to Whiteinch for installation of her engines which Union had ordered in 1921.
In her trials she obtained 12.44kts at 96rpm. Delivered on 17th March 1922 she was designed as a multi purpose cargo liner with refrigeration and even had the ability to carry horses. She served mainly on the trans Pacific run mostly Melbourne, Sydney to Vancouver via the Pacific Islands during the 1930’s and in 1936 she had the distinction of carrying the first Douglas DC2 as deck cargo from the USA to Melbourne for Holman Airways.
In 1940 she was requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport under the command of Captain AW Creese and manned mostly by New Zealanders and Australians, for use on wartime ‘special services’.
Laden with war supplies for the Middle East, sailed from Wellington via Sydney, to Fremantle for re-fuelling, then left that port on 4th July 1942 bound for her destination Haifa via Colombo. 8 days out of Freemantle on 12th July she was stopped and seized in the Indian Ocean by two Japanese armed merchant cruisers, Aikoku Maru & Hokoku Maru.
She was their third victim, she was made to sail under armed guard first to Penang, where she was renamed Teifu Maru and then to Singapore where the passengers and deck crew were taken ashore to be imprisioned in Changi, where 5 were to die. The engineers(except the Chief Engineer) were retained aboard the ship to operate the engines which were unfamiliar to the Japanese. They sailed her to Japan to the Mitsubishi Shipyard at Yokohama leaving Singapore on 18th November and arriving at Moji, Japan on Christmas day.. The engineers carrying out minor avts of sabotage enroute(many of the engineroom spares falling overboard) their sabotage was aided by the fact that at Singapore they were bunkered with boiler oil instead of diesel fuel. It worked alright in the hot weather but from Taiwan to Japan it just would not flow and fuel heaters had to be made up just to get the almost tar like boiler oil to flow. The overhaul of her by Mitsubishi took a long time with replacements for worn out parts having to be reverse engineered.
In November 1943 she was ready, she was renamed Hoki and after one trial coastal voyage the Union engineers were removed.
21st January 1944 se loaded coal at Yokohama and after loading other military stores departed for Truk in early February. On 17th Bebruary just SE of Truk she was attacked and sunk by American carrier based aircraft.
Source: Richard Clack, Cargo ships of the P&O Group