Chronometer, T.S.T 'Awarua II' ; Whyte Thomson & Co.; 1931-1932


Chronometer, T.S.T 'Awarua II'

About this object

This is the chronometer from the 'Awarua II'.

What is a chronometer?

Sailors once used a chronometer to help them navigate the ocean. A chronometer precisely kept time to such a level of accuracy that it could be used as a portable time standard. Sailors could then use the exact time to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation. While most ships now use Global Navigation Satellite Systems, certain international mariner certificates still require the knowledge of how to navigate using a chronometer.

The 'Awarua II':

The 'Awarua II' replaced the 'Southland II' which had a habit of breaking down. Prior to the arrival of the 'Awarua II', the Harbour Board had to bring the 'Theresa Ward' out of retirement.

The Board commissioned Hobnite & Co Ltd of Glasgow to build the Tug Boat 'Awarua II' and she was delivered by Captain F Donovan in November 1932. Builder’s specifications noted that the 'Awarua II' was one of the most power ships in the world and with her two steam reciprocating engine and a 1,200 horse power, she was the most power ship in New Zealand.

In 1973, the 'Monowai' replaced the 'Awarua II'. But she continued to operate as a fishing and deer recovery base at Fiordland until 1989 when she was scuttled in Foveaux Strait as a diving attraction.

During the scuttling process, one of the 'Awarua II's' engines was saved and is now an operational interactive display at the Bluff Maritime Museum.

What happened to the 'Southland II'?

With all its fault, the 'Southland II' kept going until 1943. The Harbour Board sold the 'Southland II' in 1934 and it ended up being a H.M. Auxiliary Patrol Vessel in World War Two where it was capture by the Japanese and turned into a minesweeper. On 26 November 1943, the 'Southland II', known as the 'Genchi Maru', was sunk by a U.S. aircraft in Chianghai Bay, South China Sea.


Whyte Thomson & Co.

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made

Europe, United Kingdom, Scotland, Glasgow

Medium and Materials

organic, vegetal, processed materials, wood
processed materials, gold metal
processed materials, glass


h 190 mm x w 180 mm x d 185 mm

Subject and Association Keywords


Object Type


Copyright Licence  

Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

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