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The Wreck of The "Zuleika", Palliser Bay.

On the lonely windswwept coast of Palliser Bay, east of Wellington, flowers grow on a large grave. It holds the bodies of 12 men, but few people know anything about its occupants and the tragedy that happened long ago.
In 1897 the Zuleika a 23 year old iron ship had discharged half its American cargo at Duneedin and was to complete unloading at Wellington. At 11pm on April 16 it ran aground in a gael 6km from Cape Palliser.
There wer 21 men aboard. All the deck fittings were swept overboard and the crew took to the riggings. Tremendous seas were running and the ship suddenly went unde. Those who could swim made for the shore. The rest clung to the wreckage. All that was left in the morning was a piece of the forecastle. Wreckage was strewn over 3km of beach.
12 bodies, bruised and battered almost beyond recognition, were buried near the beach. They were the mate, cook, steward, seven seamen and 2 apprentices of the Zuleika.

Source....NZ Truth, 16 March 1976.


The steamer 'Tutanekai' took coffins to the scene of the wreck of the 'Zuleika' today (22 April) and 8 of the victims were buried in one grave. The 9th body, that of Alexander McKay will be forwarded to Port Chalmers.

Mr Erai, the Maori, owns the land in the vicinity of the wreck, has given sufficient ground for the burial of the dead and has undertaken to erect a tombstone if one is sent down.

The wreck of the Zuleika in Palliser Bay was sold at auction to Mr Flockton for 65 pounds (stg). In addition to the tins of kerosene and American hardware lying on the beach there is a quantity of fencing wire in the water which it is believed can easily be recovered by a diver. The spars are estimated to be worth about 100 pounds (stg).

Wanganui Chronicle April 1897


An iron ship, built in Glasgow in 1875 she was under the command of Captain John Reiach Bremmer. On this, her final voyage, she was transporting cargo from America to New Zealand.

The Drowned were;
Herbert GRAHAM, first mate, 28 years
George PETITE, steward 28years
George WILSON, ab seaman 56 years
W SWANSON ab seaman, 33 years
Charles DAWSON ab seaman 26 years
Blake, ab seaman 30 years
JONES, ab seaman, 52 years
Walter SUMMERS, apprentice 17 years
McKAY ab seaman 20 years
GILLON ab seaman 54 years
WILLIAMS, cook, 27 years
David STRUOCK, apprentice, 18 years

McKAY shipped at Port Chalmers where his parents reside. All bodies with the exception of the last three named were washed ashore. WILSON & GILLON were the only married men.

The Survivors were;
William HANE, 2nd mate
KAVERKE, carpenter
William LIESSON ab seaman
Eugene MALVERN ab seaman
Peter ANKERSON ab seaman
William KEEN ab seaman
Archibald BURNETT, apprentice
Thomas CARSON, apprentice