Thursday, 22 August 2019


Replacement Buffalo buoy placed by harbourmaster and new deputy-harbourmaster

Whitianga harbourmaster, Peter Head, and Barry King, deputy-harbourmaster for the Coromandel, placed a marker buoy next to the wreck of HMS Buffalo on Wednesday last week. The buoy replaces a much larger buoy that was initially placed at the 120ft long wreck, but broke loose about 18 months ago.

The Buffalo ran aground on 28 July 1840 approximately 200m from where Whitianga Continuing is situated today. The wreck finally disappeared from view in the 1920s.

The purpose of the buoy, the placement of which was arranged by The Informer, is to indicate to boaties, divers and snorkelers where the wreck is located. It’s not difficult to snorkel the wreck at low tide, but snorkelers and divers need to be aware that visibility is not often good enough to make the most of the experience and big parts of the wreck is often covered in sand.

The marker buoy is clearly marked “Buffalo Wreck” and is not to be used as a mooring by boaties.

Barry has only recently assumed his role as deputy-harbourmaster for the Coromandel. The purpose of his role is to assist all three harbourmasters on the Coromandel Peninsula with their day-to-day duties. In addition to Peter, he’s working with the harbourmasters in Whangamata (who’s also covering Tairua and Pauanui) and Coromandel Town. It’s a part-time position that’s significantly busier over the summer months than during winter.

Barry is a retired naval officer. He and his wife, Sharon, moved to Whangamata from Wellington three years ago. “My brother in law built a bach in Whangamata nine years ago,” says Barry. “We visited them often and fell in love with the Coromandel.”

In addition to his experience in the Royal New Zealand Navy, Barry has also more than 30 years’ experience as a Coastguard tutor and volunteer. He’s at the moment vice-president of the Whangamata Coastguard unit.

Pictured: Harbourmasters Barry (left) and Peter about to place the Buffalo buoy in the water on Wednesday last week. 



Should Waikato DHB fund the provision of some public healthcare services in a new multi-service medical facility in Whitianga?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.