The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1946 to 1984 PURIRI - Yard No 363 - Diesel Cargo - Anchor S.Co, New Zealand - Built - 1948

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PURIRI - Yard No 363 - Diesel Cargo - Anchor S.Co, New Zealand - Built - 1948



 M.V.PURIRI Ship No 363 (from a photo sent in by J.Hoyle)


Owners    Anchor Steamship Co of New Zealand 
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Diesel Cargo Ship Launched    22/07/1948
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.   200' 0" Weather    
Beam    39' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     13' 0"      
G.R.T.    1248 tons      
Props    2      
Other known names   1974-Maldive Pilot, 1975-Yellow River    
Current Status   Broken up Dec 1979    
Content on PURIRI II will be added as it becomes available. 

The M.V.PURIRI named after a Tree indiginous to New Zealand




Departing Greymouth with a cargo of timber 1965

(photo from G.Ferguson collection) 

Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her
on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.

The motor vessel PURIRI was a similar (but smaller) cargo ship to the colliers that had been built for the Union Steamship Company, she was a replacement ordered by the Anchor St & Foundry Co Ltd, Nelson, New Zealand. With the  previous PURIRI having been sunk during World War II.

She was used to transport coal and timber along with general cargo, and she was a familiar sight in the port of Greymouth N.Z.


 The M.V.PURIRI seen here unloading coal at Wanganui (phot credit City of Wellington Mueseum)

  She was to serve the Anchor Company for 26 years before being sold to the Maldive Shipping Company and re-named Maldive Pilot.

Sold on again to Singapore interests she was finally broken up, just before the New Year of 1980, after a working life of around 32 years.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.



M.V.PURIRI seen here swinging at the wharf to get around and head back down the river at Greymouth.

(photo from G.Ferguson collection)


Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.


 The PURIRI seen here entering the Wanganui River (photo credit R.Darlow)





The PURIRI II (Photo by Barry Noel and re-produced by permission)




We see here a photograph of some of her super structure and complete with wood Bridge House.

(Photo by Barry Noel and re-produced here by kind permission)







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0 #7 Barry Noel 2016-08-13 08:02
Quoting John Hoyle:
I would be pleased to make contact with others who have supplied photos of 'Puriri'

Hello John.
You can contact me at

Barry Noel
0 #6 John Hoyle 2014-08-08 23:05
To C. Peter Ostenfeld,
One date I cannot find is the day the ship sailed from Hull for NZ.
Can you help me? Thanks
+1 #5 John Hoyle 2014-08-08 23:01
Very pleased to have some comments from people who have crewed Puriri. I am also assembling a short history of the ship so the contributions are most welcome.
The 1/48th scale model has been built directly from the Robb drawings of 1947. making it 1346mm LOA. and will be launched next month. Photo's to follow.
0 #4 C Peter Ostenfeld 2014-08-08 05:01
I had been sailing out of the UK for about five years when I heard that the Puriri was being built. My father was an Anchor Company Captain and I contacted Captain Norman Collins to apply for a job on the delivery voyage. I got the job as an AB and was in Leith for her launching. After fit-out we sailed for Hull to load coal for New Zealand. Through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal we bunkered at Port Sudan and then again at Colombo and Singapore. Then to Townsville just before Xmas, 1949 after which we anchored in the Whitsunday Islands fora couple of days over Xmas and then headed out across the Tasman to Wellington. We were cleared there and sailed for Nelson where we were greeted with a celebratory function and I paid off. She then joined the coastal trade.
+1 #3 Dave Dawber 2012-12-27 04:06
My Dad was on the Puriri as First Officer during it's delivery trip to N.Z.
I am 70 now,but I can remember being taken to the Leith Yards as a boy by my Mother to see the ship under construction.
Dad transferred to sister ship Mamaku here in Nelson.
+1 #2 John Hoyle 2012-12-18 23:14
I would be pleased to make contact with others who have supplied photos of 'Puriri'
0 #1 John Hoyle 2012-05-29 08:49
Hello from New Zealand. Just a comment on this vessel. Correct me if I am mistaken but I think you have the wrong 'Puriri' as the introduction to this article. I believe you are showing the earlier 1938 ship which was lost off the northern coast in 1941 to enemy mines. Yard No 363 refers to the replacement 'Puriri' which is correctly shown in the following pictures.
John Hoyle
New Zealand

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