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Shaw Savill Society Reunion

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

By Jamie Shedden

The Shaw Savill Society

was formed in 1975 after Shaw Savill sold the remaining units of our passenger fleet, with first reunion of passenger ship crew and passengers invited to attend a Reunion in Bristol. In the early eighties when our final cargo ship was sold, the containership Dunedin, which ironically was the name of the sailing ship which carried the first shipment of refridgerated meat from Port Chalmers, NZ to England in 1882.

The Society expanded across the globe to Australia and New Zealand, where we enjoyed annual gatherings in UK and biennial in the Antipodes. Our final gathering was in 2018 at Auckland, and in the UK, this year in Southampton, delayed from 2020 which was the planned date for closing our group.

The Shaw Savill Society gathered in Wanganui last week

A few stalwarts at the NZ gathering decided to carry on for a few more years whilst we were still able, and we have had 4 mini gatherings in Cromwell, Wairakei, and Picton which was disrupted by Covid restrictions and only 9 could attend. Our recent gathering was in Wanganui last week where 29 of us gathered for an enjoyable few days together.

Jamie Shedden

Former Shaw Savill Purser

takes to the helm to steer the

New Zealand Members

to their latest gathering

at Wanganui.

My careful plans for our two days of 'shore excursions' were thrown into disarray, when I received a phone call at breakfast at the hotel on Monday, the day our guests were due to arrive. I had charted the coal-fired paddle steamer P.S. Waimarie for a sail on Wanganui River on Wednesday, but due to forecasted 20-40 knot winds, the Manager of the Riverboat Centre advised we cannot sail in these winds, can we sail tomorrow, Tuesday? I had full-day coach tour booked for Tuesday with various scheduled stops The Riverboat trip was the top attraction, so the Purser, made the executive decision to sail tomorrow (Tues) which in itself was a challenge, can we get sufficient crew, and supply of coal and catering at short notice.

P.S. Waimarie

Then to rearrange the scheduled coach tour to Wednesday, pre-booked lunch stop, and was our guide available?

Despite the horrendous weather forecast, and severe thunderstorms overnight on Monday, we woke to sunshine on Tuesday morning. Our coach picked us up and we headed for the port, where a representative of the Ports, gave an interesting talk on the redevelopment underway. The tour continued to estuary of the Wanganui River and to the beach resorts of Castlecliff. Arrived at Riverboat Centre which allowed an hour to view the Museum and to learn all about Hatricks & Co riverboats which plied the river for over 100 years from 1875.

We joined the paddle steamer early afternoon and were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly and the boatswain's call, for our sail upriver to Upokongaro where we turned at the widest point in the upper river to head back, in warm sunshine.

The paddler has an interesting history having been sunk and abandoned on the river for over 40 years.

Next day, we had all day tour visiting Moutoa Gardens which was the location of the 1995 occupation of the local Iwi (Maori tribes) which lasted 79 days in protest to Maori land settlements!! Our expert guide gave us a great commentary on the history of memorials and statues, and of the Standard Chain Measure, which no one was aware of, but of course, it was a historical measurement dating from 1880.

We continued to Botanical gardens with magnificent blooms which were shared with Father Christmas.

Our next stop was Bushy Park Sanctuary Tarapuruhi, where we enjoyed the magnificent homestead built for Frank Moore, a cattle and racehorse breeder in 1906.

Devonshire Cream Teas were served in the grand dining room, with silver wear and fine china, quite exquisite. we had two hours to explore the Forest Sanctuary amongst giant trees and experience rare native wildlife and hear birdsong.

Our Farewell dinner was held at St John's Club, a short walk from our hotel, where we enjoyed many beverages, a grand Christmas buffet dinner, and music from Andrew & Kirsten London, a popular singing duo in New Zealand.

What a magnificent farewell for our Shaw Savill gathering in Wanganui. The feast we had at St John's Club was exceptional and the entertainment provided by Andrew and Kirsten London, was wonderful with appropriate old classic songs of our era. Dancing was not part of the plan but was lovely to see a few of us enjoy a whirl on the dance floor. I never dance (NEVER) but thanks to Susan for dragging me to the dance floor - just wished it could go on all night!

Thanks to Brenda and her Team at the Bar for ensuring our glasses were always full, even though at one point, thought I may have to cut off the flow as you guys exceeded the budget!

St Johns Club did us proud, thanks again to Denis and his Team

Other Shaw Savill Stories

A Big Thanks to Jamie for helping me with details about

Shaw Savill for this blog.

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