Lounge on the Captain Cook immigrant ship

Lounge on the Captain Cook immigrant ship

The corridor lounge on the port side of the Captain Cook. 

The Captain Cook brought assisted immigrants to New Zealand via the Panama Canal from 1952 to 1960.  See Wikipedia entry and community contributions below for more information.

Community contributions

166 comments have been posted about Lounge on the Captain Cook immigrant ship

What do you know?

Heather Street

Posted: 22 Nov 2013

Had to laugh at Alan Cook's picture of the corridor lounge. We have a post card of the exact same picture from my own father's trip over in 1953! I have pictures of Dad and other ship pal's taken before, during and after their trip. There is one of Dad and a group of those 'ship mates' taken at the Waipawa Cenotaph - poignant given I now live in Waipukurau. These were young people that got out and about and explored the new terrain. Sadly all in those picture have now passed too....but they were so young and adventurous. They were OE'rs before the term was fashionable!

Can I also note Jim Henderson's comments (14 Sep 2010) about his own TSS Captain Cook journey in 1957. Post docking, Jim recalls his (widowed) mother took him and the other kids by train through to Oruawharo Homestead at Takapau. Oruawharo is just down the road and is still a beautiful homestead full of history and open to the public.


Posted: 16 Nov 2013

I sailed from Glasgow in June 59.... the old girls second to last trip ..I was 18 at the time.. and on my own ..the best 6 weeks of my life ...I am 73 now ...so a lot of water under the bridge .....


Posted: 16 Nov 2013

My mother, Claire Richardson (later Ward), originally from Kent, England, came out to NZ on the Captain Cook in 1955, arriving in Wellington in March. Then she travelled up to Auckland to stay at the Mangere immigration hostel.


Posted: 26 Oct 2013

Hi I am looking for William Patterson who was on Captain Cook arriving in Wellington from London in 1954. He was 19 at the time and of any relatives or friends please contact me ASAP thanks very much email is [email protected]


Posted: 26 Sep 2013

For those who came out to NZ on the last trip of Captain Cook, it is 54 years today (26 Sept) since we left Glasgow. Hope you have all enjoyed those years as much as I have.

Bob Nixon

Posted: 18 Aug 2013

Just found these comments Iknew Tony Briggs I moved to Christchurch my friends were Kenn Bates, Bernie Foulkes maybe someone will recognise the names CHEERS

clive whitehead

Posted: 08 Aug 2013

I came across this website by accident when my NZ born wife looked up the TSS Captain Cook. I travelled on it with my parents in May 1952, arriving in Wellington sometime in June. My parents were married in June 1938 and I was six months old when the Second World War started. My father was in a reserved occupation (fitter and turner) until he was called up into the Fleet Air Arm in 1943. The war effectively took six years from their lives and in 1952, both aged 40, they decided to build a new life for themselves in NZ. We were fortunate that my mother had met a young NZder through her local church mothers' group who was touring the UK and Europe. My father lent him his motor cycle to tour around Europe and he in turn persuaded his parents to sponsor usas migrants. In those days accommodation was in very short supply in NZ because of the lack of house building during the war. They had a large home in Woolston, a suburb of Christchurch, and we stayed there for about three months before we got a small flat in North Beach. In the next three years my father and his brother-in-law built two houses at weekends.We finally moved into our still uncompleted home in 1955. Upon arriving in NZ my father virtually doubled his weekly wage and my mother also went out to work. A small inheritance from my mother's aunt allowed them to buy a block of land and they moved forward from then on. As for me, I spent many weekends helping my father build our house. There wasn't much I didn't know about concrete mixing, carpentry, and block laying by the time the house was finished. When my parents told me that we were emigrating to NZ I recall one comment that I made which has stayed with me all my life. By then I was a firm supporter of the Charlton Athletic Football Club and I said, 'But I won't be able to watch Charlton!' Since then my support for the club has been unwavering and no matter where I am I must know the latest result even if, over the years, it has been one long experience of mostly agony interspersed with the odd moment of ecstasy. For a young 13 year old boy it was a great wrench to leave London and my football team, especially as I was a much better than average player who secretly hoped to play for them one day as a professional.
I recall that we had to go for an interview at NZ House in London. I cannot remember what was said except that the man who interviewed us spoke to me about what I wanted to do in life. I cannot recall what I said but he replied 'who knows, one day you might be prime minister of NZ'. That was not to be but I was very friendly for several years when I taught at the University of Otago with a young man, also a British migrant, who subsequently became NZd's deputy PM.
I recall that we sold all our household possessions before leaving London but I was allowed to keep a rather nice blue sports bike. To emigrate opened up a whole new life for us but as applies to us all,one makes choices in life and pays the inevitable price. We had to say farewell to our family and friends, and in those days there was no turning back or jumping on a plane and returning to the UK. I recall our last Christmas (1951) in the UK. We stayed with my father's brother and family in Nottingham. They agreed to look after our much loved dog, a fox terrier called Bimmy. On the train back to London my mother cried her eyes out at the thought that she would probably never see Bimmy again. The night we travelled to Glasgow we said goodbye to my mother's sister before getting a bus to London to catch the overnight train. That must have been a gut wrenching experience for both sisters. I think we left from Euston on the overnight express. I recall being allowed to stand on the engine driver's footplate to view the fire in the engine's boiler. I also remember the pale dawn sky as we sped through Cumberland on our way to Scotland. In Glasgow we had breakfast at a resturant and I recall the young Scottish waitresses with their broad Glaswegian accents. They were also very attractive even to a young 13 year old!
As we left Glasgow the ship edged slowly down the Clyde river. It was a dull cloudy day but as we went downstream the ship builders(in those days there was still ship building in Scotland)all banged their hammers on the sides of the partially built ships as a way of saying goodbye and good luck. They all knew we were an emigrant ship en route to a new life.
The voyage took almost five weeks and I was personally glad when it was over. I was soon bored with shipboard life. There was much playing of cards by adults,(my father played solo for hours each day) the odd variety concert (I was one of a group of young people who sang a song called 'Mocking bird hill', swimming in a the ship's pool when the sea was calm, and endlessly watching the waves and the flying fish. There was a daily sweepstake on how many miles the ship had covered on the previous day, and regular news bulletins which included UK sports results. Much of the voyage was across vast oceans with little to see, but the stops at Curacao to refuel and Panama before entering the world famous canal are still clear memories. At Curacao a refueling pipeline came adrift and the quayside became covered in a carpet of oil which attracted a varied assortment of stray dogs. The chap overseeing the refueling had fallen asleep. Some surrounding wire fences were also where large lizards attached themselves and basked in the hot sun. Panama City was full of flashy American cars but we enjoyed bananas and tropical fruits during our several hours ashore. Passage through the canal was marked by the most violent downpours of rain I had ever seen but it was an experience never to be forgotten. Thereafter we entered the vastness of the Pacific ocean and our next sighting of land was as we approached the North Island of NZ. We berthed in Wellington at night and saw only the city lights before we were transferred to the Hinemoa, one of two overnight ferries which plied between Wellington and Christchurch in the South Island. We arrived in Lyttleton on one of those familiar winter days with a frost of about fifteen degrees followed by a warm sunny day. Our NZ friend who borrowed my father's motorbike met us and we travelled over the Summit road to Christchurch in an old prewar car with band brakes so we had to take the descent into Sumner very carefully with four of us on board.
The rest of my personl story is really history and not related to the TSS Captain Cook but I was very interested to learn of the ship's ultimate fate. I knew it had once been called the Empire Brent but little else. Perhaps I can finish on a point that many past migrants to NZ will find familiar. Within a day of arriving in Christchurch my mother had an appointment with the Regional Education Office.The Senior Inspector who interviewed me and my mother duly noted that I had attended a grammar school in Croydon for the past two years, and from my school reports noted that I had studied Latin, French, Maths, Chemistry, Physics, English,etc. He duly rang up the headmaster of Christchurch Boys' High School and that afternoon I was fitted out with a new school uniform and the day after I arrived at Straven Road in Riccarton to start my new school career.I was one of several migrant boys who were accepted at Boys' High School, still I firmly believe one of the best, if not THE best, secondary school in NZ, Auckland Grammar included. On my first day I was called 'a pommie bastard'. I had never heard the word pommie before and I knew that the word bastard was not a word normally used in everyday speech in my experience. I tolerated the insult for over a year before one of my 'English' colleagues solved the problem. We were waiting to go to a science class when a group of young boys called us 'pommie bastards'. At that point my friend drew himself up to his full four feet six inches and with the most upper class English accent that he could muster replied, 'Well at least I am not a beastly colonial peasant'. His audience looked spellbound and we were never again insulted. Unfortunately there was a lot of prejudice towards new migrants in the 1950s which was ironic given that most NZders were from Anglo- Irish backgrounds themselves. But that is also another story.

Irene Turnbull

Posted: 27 Jun 2013

I came to NZ in February 1954 with my mother Jennie, brother Peter and sister Judy Fifield and wonder if anyone can tell me the actual date we arrived in Wellington 4th or 14th February. Thanks Irene

Allen Mortimer

Posted: 20 Jun 2013

I was nine when my family and I left Glasgow on the Captain Cook 14 Oct 1957. We arrived in Wellington 21 Nov 1957 and then travelled to Dunedin via the Maori (Cook's Strait ferry) and the Southerner. A book has recently been published which relates to experiences of immigrants travelling by ship to NZ from 1947 to 1965 and most of these voyages were on the Cook. I believe its called 'From the other end of the World' by EK Dean. A real good read which brought back many memories like the fancy dress competition, outside movies at night and the friendliness of the ships' company.

Ken Mills

Posted: 21 May 2013

What a surprise, I came to NZ on the Cook left Glasgow in Dec 1952. A young lady jumped overboard as her boy friend in NZ cabled to say their relationship was finished. Was invited several times to the Capt Cabin and deck. Memories all good. Ken.