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About Us

MV "Pukatea"

Johnson’s Barge Service Ltd owners, Peter and Jennie Johnson, are the third generation to continue on the Johnson family business.

brief history

The business was first started in 1919 by Peters grandfather Eric Johnson and was later named Eric Johnson and Sons Ltd to include his sons Allan, Sonny and Kerry and daughter Dorothy.

In the beginning, Eric built several boats and began transporting passengers within the Sounds.  He later took on the mail contract and ran the Pelorus Sounds Mail Service for 50 years.   He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his service to the Sounds community.  Eric’s children all joined the business in one way or another and the business grew to five boats and one barge, all providing different services in the Sounds and D’Urville Island area.

In the early 1970’s some of the boats were sold along with the mail contract, other parts of the business were retained by family members with Allan taking over the barging side of the operation.  Allan, his wife Val and son Peter then formed Johnson’s Barge Service Ltd in the mid 1970’s.

present day

Today Peter and Jennie still run the business at the southeast corner of the Havelock Marina, which also houses the workshop of Mark Evans Electrical.

Johnson’s Barge Service Ltd operates two main vessels, a motorised barge named ‘Pukatea’ as well as ‘Hinau’, a dumb barge which is towed by tug boat.  The business operates mainly in the Pelorus Sound and D’Urville Island area, but also goes as far as Nelson, Golden Bay and Queen Charlotte Sounds as required.

Keeping family traditions alive the business still operates ‘Tawhai’, a tow vessel which was originally designed by Eric Johnson and was built in 1966.  ‘Tawhai’ can still be seen plying the sounds on most days of the week.

’Pukatea’ providing support services to salmon farms at Waitata Bay and Kopaua Bay in the Pelorus Sound. Our vessel ‘Mahoe’ harvests all fish from NZ King Salmon farms in both the Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds, being berthed in Picton for most of the year. The Hinau carts logs from forests in the Pelorus Sounds.