R.M.S.S. Rimutaka 1884 to 1899 - Sold to become the S.S. Zamania 1899 to 1911

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Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned, thus ssmaritime is NOT associated with any shipping company or any other organisation! Although the author has worked and been involved in the passenger shipping industry for well over 60 years, but due to his old age and poor health, he was forced to retire. Yet, he has completed well over 1,365 Classic Liners, Passenger-Cargo Liners as well as humble converted C3 converted Migrant Liners, which has transported countless thousands folk to the new world, as well on vacations’. I trust the features online will continue to provide Classic Liner and Ship enthusiasts both the information they are seeking, but more so provide a great deal of pleasure and relive many happy memories!



Please Note: Postcards, photographs & other images are either from the author’s private collection, unless stated otherwise.

A special thank you to ssmaritime supporters Ben Worthy (Palmerston North - NZ), David Hooker (London - UK)

for their kind assistance and photographs.



A Brief Intro:

“New Zealand Shipping Company” (NZSCo) operated passenger and cargo services between Great Britain and New Zealand between from 1873 to 1973.

The company was founded in 1873, by a group of Christchurch businessmen, and these were; Hugh Murray-Aynsley and John Coster. There were seven initial directors, including George Gould Snr, Coster, John Thomas Peacock, William Reeves, and John Anderson. The company gradually established a fleet of vessels, with each ship having been given a Maori name. As of 1875 the NZSCo ships new livery had black hulls, a white superstructure and slender tall yellow funnels.

Then in 1882, the company’s ships were equipped with refrigeration and a frozen meat service commenced from New Zealand to England, which was a huge financial success.

R.M.S.S. Rimutaka (1)

The Royal Mail Steam Ship, the R.M.S.S. Rimutaka was a 4,473 GRT (Gross Registered Ton) ship and she was built by “John Elder & Co”, on the Clyde at Glasgow, Scotland, for the “New Zealand Shipping Company” in 1883. The “Rimutaka” was named after the “Rimutaka” Mountain Range in New Zealand.

She was ordered in 1883, but was laid down “John Elder’s” in 1884, and when almost completed she was officially named and launched on November 19, 1884, and she was delivered to NZSCo in January 1984. She departed London for her maiden voyage on January 15, 1884, bound for New Zealand.

The “Rimutaka” was powered by compound steam engines, but she also had a full Barque Rig, with three masts and she had a good spread of sail, by power or wind she would usually sail at an excellent 14 knots. This made well suited for her long voyages, as a passenger-cargo ship to New Zealand, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope, then a long voyage across the southern Indian Ocean, Australia to Auckland and Wellington. She would also sail on to the South Island of New Zealand and visit Lyttleton (for the city of Christchurch) and Port Chalmers (for the city of Dunedin).

R.M.S.S. Rimutaka is seen at a New Zealand port

She had a fine clipper stern and a traditional cruiser stern, and she was topped by one slender tall funnel, with her three tall masts giving her good lines for the times.

R.M.S.S. Rimutaka is seen leaving England for her long voyage to New Zealand

The 430 ft long “Rimutaka” offered accommodations for 134 passengers in two classes; 76 First Class and 58 Second Class passengers. However during her outward voyage to New Zealand, she would also have a further 280 passengers who would be located in Steerage, which was more of a temporary, rather humble accommodations in holds that would be converted. On the southbound voyage, her total number of passengers and migrants carried was 414 persons.

Passengers out on deck onboard the “Rimutaka”

Her holds would be full during her return voyages to England transporting dry cargo, but there was also an excellent capacity of 101,700 cu-ft *(C.F.R.) of refrigerated cargo space, which was mostly used for 34,000 New Zealand frozen lamb carcasses, as well as butter. It was well published in the UK as seen below for the frozen lamb came directly “From a New Zealand sheep Station to the Central Meat Market, London”.

*C.F.R. means “Cost and Freight” and the seller deliver’s when the goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment. The seller must pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination. BUT the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time of delivery, are transferred from the seller to the buyer.

An NZSCo poster, with a 1887 calendar

Captain Herbert Edward Greenstreet commanded the R.M.S.S. Rimutaka (1), from 1888 and sailed on her on a regular basis.

R.M.S.S. Rimutaka proved to be a most successful ship and she continued on this service for the next five years. However, the NZSCo realised that they needed a larger ship, and thus they ordered a new 7,765 GRT “Rimutaka” (2) which was completed in 1900. Thus the “Rimutaka” (1) was placed on the market.

The new 7,765 GRT, S.S. Rimutaka (2) of 1900 is seen departing Auckland

Finally R.M.S.S. Rimutaka” departed London on March 30, 1899, for her last voyage for the NZSCo, bound for New Zealand.

A NZSCo officers hat badge

Upon her return to London, she was quickly sold in several months, and new her owners were the “British India Steam Navigation Company” who renamed her “Zamania”. She operated as a passenger and cargo ship, sailing from London and she operated on what was known as “Madras - Straits Settlements” service for eleven years.

But finally, she was sold to a Japanese breaker and she headed for Japan and in July 1911 she had been broken up.


Below are some of “Rimutaka’s” arrivals in various New Zealand ports:

UK departure dates are sadly unknown:

Rimutaka departed London, England and arrived in Port Chalmers, New Zealand, on December 30, 1886.

Rimutaka departed London, England and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on May 22, 1887.

Rimutaka departed London, England stopped in Cape Town, South Africa, and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 28, 1896.

Rimutaka departed London, England, and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on November 3, 1897.

Rimutaka departed London and Plymouth, England, and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on August 17, 1898.

Rimutaka departed London, England, and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 22, 1901.

Rimutaka departed London, England, and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on March 12, 1908.

Rimutaka departed London, England, and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on December 17, 1908.

Rimutaka departed England, and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on December 29, 1891.

Rimutaka departed Plymouth, England, and arrived in Port Chalmers, New Zealand, on August 12, 1886.


Specifications and Details:

Names: 1. Rimutaka. 1884-1899.

. 2. Zamania 1899-1911.

Type of ship: Passenger cargo ship.

Vessel description: Steel, 3 Mast Barque Rig - Steamer.

Vessel ID: 1089652.

Official No: 89652.

Owners: 1884-1899; Zealand Shipping Company, London.

. 1899-1911; British India Steam Nav. Co., London.

Port of Registry: London, United Kingdom.

Builder: John Brown & Co Ltd., Clydebank, Scotland.

Launched: October 19, 1884.

Delivered: January 1885.

Maiden Voyage: January 15, 1885.

Service: London via Cape Town to Auckland and Wellington.

. London to India service 1899–1911.

Tonnage: 4,514 GRT & 2,859 NRT.

Length: 430 ft

Breadth: 46 ft.

Draft: 24 ft.

Engine details: Compound Steam.

Engine built by: John Brown & Co Ltd., Clydebank.

Propeller: One.

Speed: 14 knots

Funnels: One.

Masts: Three.

Passengers: 414 - UK to New Zealand.

. 132 - New Zealand to UK.

Accommodations: 76 First Class & 58 Second Class passengers.

. 280 passengers in basic Steerage - UK to New Zealand only.

Crew: 89.

Sold: 1911 Japanese breaker.

Fate: Broken up in Japan - July 1911.


Remembering the R.M.S.S. Rimutaka (1)


The “Rimutaka” seen in New Zealand

N.Z.S.C. Index

Below is a list of NZSCo ships I have online


SS Rimutaka (3) - RMS Ruapehu (2)


MS Rangitane (1) - MS Rangitane (2)


MS Rangitata (2) - MS Rangitiki -


MS Rangitoto - SS Remuera (2)


MS Ruahine (3)



“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.

I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.


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For interest: Sadly an email service to ssMaritime is no longer available, due to the author’s old age and chronic illness as well as being disabled, etc. In the past ssMaritime received well over 120 emails per day, but Mr. Goossens can no longer handle same. He sincerely regrets this!


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Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built M.S. Doulos Story.

The Author has been in Passenger Shipping & the Cruise Industry for well over 60 years

In addition he was the founder of “Save the Classic Liners Campaign” in 1990.

Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author seeks no funding or favours of any shape or form, never have and never will!

Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by; the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned.

This notice covers all pages; although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!


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