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The Tui

Lying broken on her side at 32 metres, the Tui is renown for large schools of golden snapper, and beautiful Jason’s nudibranchs on hydroid trees.

The former HMNZS Tui is resting at 34-58.8 South and 174-32.29 East at a depth of 32m of water. She began life as the Charles H Davis working on Hydrographic research for an American university.

For the last 17 years of her working life she was leased out by the United States Navy to become the HMNZS Tui, deployed on naval hydrographic work. She was also sent to Mururoa to observe the last series of French Nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific, and became the unofficial mothership to a large international protest fleet.

Her displacement was 1,200 tons standard, and her length was 64 metres. A beam of 11.4 metres and a draught of 4.7 metres, she was powered by a 1-shaft diesel electric, 10,000 bhp (7400 kW) but interestingly enough her one 620 hp (420kW = 6.5 kts) gas engine was housed in the funnel for quiet running during sound experiments.She had a 175 hp bow thruster and a top speed of 13.5 knots, and a complement of 36 plus up to 10 scientists. The Tui was unarmed.

The Tui was gifted to Tutukaka Coast Promotions after long negotiations, prepared for her new role as a dive attraction and sunk off Tutukaka on the 20th of February 1999.

In February 2009, to mark the Tenth Anniversary of the sinking, her anchor was raised (at 3 and a half tons) with the help of the New Zealand Navy boat, Manawanui, and the local community have erected a monument in the Tutukaka Marina.