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After luncheon the party rode to Te One, two or three miles from Waitangi, and about a quarter of a mile from its destination was met by a guard of honour composed of 100 school children on horseback — everyone seems to own a horse at Chatham Islands. An address was also presented to Lord Jellicoe by the natives, who delivered a typical haka upon the arrival of the party.
Wiltshire Captain’s misjudgement
The verdict of the Marine Court which inquired into the circumstances attending the wreck of the Wiltshire on the Great Barrier has been promptly delivered. The comments made by Mr Cutten SM during the hearing of the evidence of the captain of the vessel gave a fairly clear preliminary indication as to the points upon which it might be difficult to satisfy the court. The evidence in respect to the set of the current and in respect generally to causes that might have tended to put the vessel out of her course was not considered in any way vital to the finding. The question to which the court required answer amounted simply to this, whether the captain, finding that he was out of his reckoning, took all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the ship. The court has come to the conclusion that he did not do so. It holds that he committed an error of judgement in driving the vessel full speed ahead for an hour after the Cuvier light should have been picked up, but was not, and that he made another and a grave error of judgement in failing to act with promptitude in altering the vessel’s course after a sounding had been taken that might have been regarded as indicating the presence of danger. We do not imagine that many who have read the evidence carefully will be surprised at this verdict, however much, in all the circumstances, they may regret it. That it expresses a conclusion which is the logical outcome of premises that are sound seems to be undeniable. That being so, the verdict of the court must be considered a fair one. Translated into the fewest possible words it implies that the master of the Wiltshire navigated his vessel incautiously when her position in relation to the coast was doubtful. It may have been observed that in his evidence the first officer on the ship said that "among themselves they were satisfied where they were and what they were going to do." In the light of such a statement it seems fair to suggest that overconfidence contributed not a little to the disaster. Doubtless the court was relieved to be able to round off an unfavourable verdict with a high and merited tribute to the entirely praiseworthy manner in which the captain and officers of the Wiltshire handled the situation after the ship struck. — ODT, 24.6.1922