The Burmah was chartered by Willis, Gann & Co. The ship left London for New Zealand on 27 or 28 August 1859. Burmah was seen by the ship Regina on the 17th of November, about 14 days sailing distance west of New Zealand, at . The Regina passed icebergs the day after it passed Burmah. Burmah never arrived at New Zealand and was officially declared lost by Lloyds on May 6, 1860.
Burmah was carrying passengers and an assortment of breeding livestock.
The novelist Samuel Butler was booked to travel on the Burmah to New Zealand, but he changed to a different ship, the Roman Emperor at the last moment, and therefore avoided the wreck of the Burmah.