On 31st March 2021 Peter and Jennie Johnson sold the business to a partnership formed between O'Donnell Parkes Barging & Nautilus Pacific.  New company directors Beau Simonsen, James Galloway & Kim O'Donnell bring a wealth of knowledge & passion for the industry and everything it entails. 

With help from their managers Johnny Everett and Kim Weatherhead, the team will run the business at the southeast corner of the Havelock Marina and continue to provide the great service that the Johnson Family has provided for the last century.   We wish Peter & Jennie a long and happy retirement.  Watch this space for our updates. 

Johnson’s Barge Service Ltd operates four main vessels, a motorised barge named ‘Pukatea’ as well as ‘Hinau’, a dumb barge which is towed by tug boat, the large salmon harvest vessel ‘Mahoe’ and a small but powerful towing and freight vessel named ‘Titoki’. The business operates mainly in the Pelorus Sound and D’Urville Island area, but also goes as far as Nelson and Golden Bay 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’ provides support services to salmon farms at Waitata, Waihinau, Forsyth and Kopaua Bays 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.

Our newest addition ‘Titoki’ is active around the place too. She is small but powerful which means that she can fill in for any of the other vessels when workloads are heavy, small enough to manoeuvre around bays servicing moorings and delivering goods, but capable of towing the ‘Hinau’ loaded with logs or anything else that needs towing

A 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. 

Peter and Jennie Johnson continue this proud tradition today with Johnson's Barge Service providing freighting, salvage and mooring installation services.