ferries

Events In History

Articles

Lyttelton-Wellington ferries

  • Page 1 – Lyttelton-Wellington ferries

    For more than 80 years the overnight Lyttelton ferry, or Steamer Express Service as the Union Steam Ship Company called it, was a vital link in the country’s transport network.

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  • Page 2 – Key dates

    See a list of the key events in the life of the Lyttelton–Wellington ferry service.

  • Page 3 – The early years

    Although many ships sailed between Lyttelton and Wellington during the course of their longer voyages, a regular passenger service between those ports took time to develop.

  • Page 4 – Politicians and ferries

    Politicians used the ferries to travel between their electorates and Wellington, so they scrutinised the Union Steam Ship Company's management of the ships.

  • Page 5 – Cabins de luxe and glory holes

    The purpose-built Maori of 1907 was a big leap forward, but description of the cabins was limited to ‘well endowed with spring mattresses and superior bed coverings'

  • Page 6 – Just like clockwork

    Every night, weather and sea conditions permitting, two ships crossed in the night at about 1.25 a.m. off the Kaikoura coast as perhaps 1500 New Zealanders passed quite

  • Page 7 – Officers and gentlemen?

    Some of the ferry masters – each known as ‘the Old Man' to the crew – were almost as well known as the ships themselves.

  • Page 8 – In strife and war

    The Lyttelton–Wellington ferries were such a vital link for travellers that they were given priority whenever strikes or lockouts paralysed the wharves, but wars

  • Page 9 – End of the line

    In the face of competition from other forms of transport the Union Steam Ship Company abandoned its glamour ferry service, sending the Maori to the scrappers in 1974.

  • Page 10 – Ferry tales

    Some people tell their stories of travelling on the Lyttelton–Wellington ferries.

Cook Strait rail ferries

Merchant marine

  • Page 5 – Wahine's wanderings

    Most requisitioned ships continued to carry people or cargo. One Union Company ship, however, entered the Royal Navy and bore the prefix HMS. The Wahine was no ordinary ship

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  • Page 5 - Wahine's wanderingsMost requisitioned ships continued to carry people or cargo. One Union Company ship, however, entered the Royal Navy and bore the prefix HMS. The Wahine was no ordinary
  • Main image: The Straitsman ferry

    The 13,906-ton Straitsman (ex-Dueodde), seen here at Picton in 2013, is the newest Cook Strait ferry. Its tall forward accommodation block and clear stern top deck gives it a different appearance to the other ships.