The 7th of April 1943 was a big day at Tulagi. A major air assault by the Japanese occurred on this day with 67 bombers and 110 Zero fighters. Three ships were lost that day, RNZN Moa, USS Kanawa & USS Aaron Ward. The first to sink was the RNZN Moa which received a direct hit by a single 500lb bomb which penetrated her deck down through the Commanding Officer’s cabin before exploding and breaking her keel. She sank quickly and settled on the bottom less than 5 minutes after being hit.
The Moa’s primary role was as a minesweeper and submarine chaser. She and her sister ship RNZN Kiwi played a pivotal role in the sinking of the Japanese submarine the I-1 which now lies in shallow water off Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal.
The RNZN Moa lies in 36 to 42 metres of water. Vis can be poor (Due to her proximity to the harbour estuaries), but well worth the visit. Depth Charge racks at the stern and the 4” gun at the bow are key features of this wreck.