Seldom if ever before has the moment been captured on photograph when a ship's captain steps ashore just after his ship has been wrecked or sunk. This photo, taken by a newspaper camera-man, shows 57 year old Captain Gordon Robertson, Master of TEV Wahine, on Seatoun Wharf after having been pulled from the sea by a rescue vessel. Shock and hypothermia are plain on his face. Captain Robertson is in his master's uniform; below the left shoulder of his jacket are the rows of campaign ribbons from his Merchant Navy service during World War Two. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wahine Disaster, the sinking of the ship Wahine in Wellington harbour, New Zealand on the 10th April 1968 with the deaths of 51 people. My name is Murray Robinson and I am the godson of Captain Gordon Robertson, the man who was in command of the Wahine on 10th of April 1968. This website is dedicated to the Wahine and Captain Robertson. It provides detailed information about both, and answers the many questions that still surround the Wahine's tragic loss and the role Captain Robertson played.
Sublimely beautiful; the Wahine as we remember her during her short life, before the tragedy of 10th April 1968. The offshore rocks and light tower of Pencarrow Head, where she fought her battle with the seas that morning, lie off to starboard just ahead of the ship. In this photo she is steaming into Wellington harbour late on a summer-time afternoon, near the end of a daylight crossing from Lyttelton. Captain Robertson is on the bridge. The Wahine was the finest ship he ever commanded, both the summit and very bottom of his lifelong career at sea.
The Wahine lying on her side and partially submerged in Wellington harbour, a few days after the disaster of 10th April 1968. This photo has been kindly restored by Royce Flynn September 2012