CCTL Transnational Legal History Group Seminar - 'SS Ventnor – A Tragic New Zealand Shipwreck, Hungry Ghosts and Bitter Controversy' by Mr. Keith Gordon (Online)

The 2013 discovery of the 1902 shipwreck SS Ventnor off the New Zealand North Island coast created major international media interest and controversy. The ship had been transporting the disinterred remains of 499 Chinese miners from New Zealand to China for reburial. In 2021 the bones of the lost miners were found entombed in the deep shipwreck. What is to become of these hungry ghosts of the deep is a question involving conflicting cultural beliefs and sensitivities. Artefacts recovered from the shipwreck created bureaucratic indecisions and are cause for unprecedented New Zealand Government legislation of a vessel lost in New Zealand seas.

In his recently published book, SS Ventnor – Ghost Ship of the Hokianga, author Keith Gordon tells the full story of his personal involvement with the search, discovery and exploration of a shipwreck, which has been declared of New Zealand national importance.

Keith’s presentation covers the history and discovery of the lost ship, together with the story of the early New Zealand Chinese gold miners. The controversy and arguments that have erupted with the Ventnor’s discovery and her cargo of lost souls still continue. It is a story involving cultural and maritime heritage, daring deep shipwreck exploration and controversy involving Chinese, Maori and European cultures.