The Columbus New Zealand

The <em>Columbus New Zealand</em>

Columbus New Zealand, the first all-container ship to visit New Zealand, at Beach Street Wharf, Port Chalmers, on 26 June 1971, before the container terminal was built.

Note the clear decks optimised for container stowage. Most boxes were stowed below, secured by steel cell guides that went deep down into the ship. The ship’s red mobile gantry crane was removed once New Zealand ports had completed their container facilities.

Community contributions

13 comments have been posted about The Columbus New Zealand

What do you know?

Heinz-Rüdiger Schneider

Posted: 09 Sep 2019

Dear Danny,

I`ve been in contact with Michael again and he has double checked his old Columbus Line documents.

In fact he found one indicating that Horst Rassow was captain on Columbus New Zealand
on its first and second voyage to NZ.

Anyhow, Horst Rassow died January 2015 in the age of 90 and acc. to the death notice the
name of his son is Dietrich, obviously living in France today.

Best regards


Heinz-Rüdiger Schneider

Posted: 04 Sep 2019

Remark for site administrator

In order to enable direct communication, please feel free to forward my email-address to Danny.

Thanks and regards.


Dear Danny,

I`ve been in contact with Michael since I know that he has a lot of old documents also regarding the crews of a certain ship at a certain time. Unfortunately the oldest ones are from 1973 and
thus it´s impossible to answer your question.

On the other hand, captains and other crew members - from my experience - didn´t change this often in those days and thus following some captain names picked from 1973 documents:

Rassow, Schlegel (?!), Kuever, Schaade, Diercks …..

May be, this will help You to remember ....

Best regards


Heinz-Ruediger Schneider

Posted: 30 Aug 2019

Dear Danny,

may be, some visitor will remember if You enter Your issue into Michael´s guestbook on
the Columbus Line Homepage under “Ins Gästebuch eintragen”

Best regards

Heinz-Ruediger Schneider

Danny Jones

Posted: 30 Oct 2018

Hi would anyone know the Captains Name ? when this ship came to NZ in 71 the captain had his son travelling with him, I was very fortunate to go on board and stay the night with them on board and Detrick came and stayed the night at our dairy farm in Helensville. We were about 12-13 years old I still have a few pictures of that visit also still live here on the farm and often wonder where he is now but have no surname to try and track him down. If anyone can help it would be great thanks.


Posted: 07 May 2017

I have a small brass replica bell that my father got from The Columbus Line. It has Columbus New Zealand 1971 on it.

John Macassey

Posted: 11 Aug 2016

I also worked my passage from Charleston, South Carolina to Port Chalmers, New Zealand in 1982. Was the only 'workaway' with a lovely two birth cabin all to myself. Great crew - both men and women - lots of flying fish, dolphins and a large loan shark. Hit a strong westerly a couple of days west of Panama. Seas coming right over the bow. Almost hit a container floating with only a meter of one end showing out of the water, great food, steady work - tightening turn-buckles, sand blasting and painting decks, hitting rust in air intakes and red leading them, dolphins and thousands of sea birds a from a day or so out of Port Chalmers. Wild night in Colon. Phew!!! what a bar!!! Only one bad job. Clearing a blocked bilge pump. You wouldn't believe the stink. The seaman I was working with and I were only allowed to eat down wind out side on the deck and throw our cotton overalls, which was all we were wearing, overboard at the end of the day. All such a great experience!!!

Eugene Harris

Posted: 12 Dec 2014

I worked on the Columbus Virginia in 87, worked my passage to the states. Fantastic voyage, absolutely loved it and I found the work easy (rust busting on decks). Great stories, massive eruptions of flying fish, massive schools or porpoise and dolphin, sharks, Orca chasing salmon as we hit the coast.


Posted: 15 Aug 2014

For sure, those old ships are no longer in service but Columbus Line is still existing and ( with ships ) bigger than ever. So simply enter 'Columbus Line' or 'Hamburg Sued Shipping Group' into your browser and I´m convinced that you´ll find a lot of interesting information !


Posted: 30 Jul 2014

In 1973, after several months in Australia, I got a job on the Columbus Australia working my passage back to the U.S. A few ports in Australia, 3 in NZ, Panama, Nova Scotia. I got off in NY. A beautiful ship when I was on it, and a great German crew.

Fred rickes

Posted: 21 Jun 2014

I migrated From Germany to Australia in 1981. At that time the Columbus line (when in town) anchored at the Sydney Glebe container terminal. I meet many German sailors and was invited on various occasions on to the ships. One of them was the Columbus Virginia. Does anyone know what happened to the Columbus line? I guess after 30 years none of those ships are longer in service. Thank you