During stormy conditions at Raoul Island on the 20th July 1978, the Picton was dashed on to rocks near Sunshine Valley in Boat Cove, where is was quickly broken up. A 6 metre dive boat lashed on deck was also lost. The six crew on board struggled through heavy seas only to face a two hour walk to reach the meteorological station on the other side of the island. The Picton had been chartered by the Ministry of Transport to take new generators to Raoul and had arrived there after a four day voyage from Napier on the 16th July. The four electricians were ashore installing the new plant, with the Picton offshore awaiting their return when she was lost.
HMNZS Tui was sent to Raoul to bring the stranded men back, and during the transfer from shore to ship some of them again were thrown into the water when Tui's cutter capsized. The Tui returned to Auckland on the 1st August.
The Picton was 29m long overall, built in 1917 at Te Kopuru as the Koau for Richardson and Co. Ltd, Napier. Renamed Picton in 1952, she ended a long career as a coaster in 1964, when she started fishing. Owned at the time of her loss by Direct Fish Supply (Napier) Ltd., the Picton was 150 tons gross. Length 87.7ft, beam 22ft. She had not fished for some months.