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MV Kanna (II) Ship No 353

As we continue the story of some of the many ships built at Leith for New Zealand, we feature MV Kanna (II)

She was actually the second ship built for the Union Steam Ship Co of New Zealand, with the first Kanna built in 1911 at the Ramage & Ferguson Shipyard.

This famous old yard was taken over during the mid 1930’s by Henry Robb who used to work for them. You can read much more in the series of books on the ships built at Leith.

A little bit of history on the USSCo from the Ships List website as follows-

“The Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand (Union NZ) should not be confused with the Union Steam Ship Company (UK) which became part of Union-Castle Line. Union NZ was formed in 1875 to originally run coastal services and in 1876 they commenced sailings to Sydney. Over the next years, the company took over several other shipping companies and sailings to San Francisco started in 1885. This route was discontinued in 1900 due to US restrictive laws, and the following year, Union NZ acquired a half share in the Canadian Australian Royal Mail Steam Ship Company to run services to Vancouver, and which they took over completely in 1910.

In 1912 the Australia-UK service of Houlder Bros was taken over from New Zealand Shipping Company. Control of the Union NZ was acquired by P&O Line in 1917 but the company retained it's own identity.”

MV Kanna was originally an order from the Admiralty for a supply ship for the South East Asia theatre of operations but with the end of the war in the Pacific she was taken over by the Union Steamship Co of New Zealand, she was from a wartime design known as "B" type China Coasters, and she was to work the coast of New Zealand for many years, primarily used on the east coast from Wellington down to Dunedin.

She was sold to Panama in 1967 being sold on a few more times, going through some more name changes before grounding in heavy weather in Borneo in 1984; she was badly damaged and went for scrap that year, an end to another fine ship built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

MV Kanna was designed and built by the Henry Robb Shipyard, based on the same lines as the Motor Coasters that had been a huge success pre-War.

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Graham Haxell
Graham Haxell
Apr 23, 2021

Sister ship to the Katui?

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