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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




Regular passenger services across Cook Strait are maintained by a rail-road ferry (Aramoana, 4,160 tons) shortly to be duplicated, running between Wellington and Picton in Queen Charlotte Sound. The inter-Island Steamer Express between Wellington and Lyttelton is maintained by Maori, 8,300 tons, and Hinemoa, 6,911 tons, with Rangatira, 6,152 tons, in reserve. A new vessel, Wahine, will enter the service in early 1966. Until 1953 a passenger ferry service ran between Wellington and Nelson, using Arahura, 1,596 tons, and Matangi, 1,366 tons. Regular passenger flights by DC3 and Fokker Friendship are maintained both to Nelson and to Blenheim. Freight shipping services are extended across the strait on a routine basis; rail-air freight between Wellington, and Nelson and Blenheim, using Bristol Freighter Aircraft, operates continuously.

Telegraphic and telephone communications across the strait have been maintained by cables. The first across the mouth of the Narrows from Oteranga Bay to Port Underwood was continuously disrupted by breaks, usually during storms, and was supplemented by two other cables. These cables had a mean service between breakages of three months. Later, two other cables were laid from Titahi Bay to Queen Charlotte Sound and, although several breaks occurred, they gave better service. The latest pair of modern coaxial cables were laid between Island Bay and Blind Bay off the coast of the Awatere Valley. A break in one of these cables appears to have been caused by a turbulent mass of mud and water which washed the cable into the head of Cook Strait Canyon. Planning for a Cook Strait power cable has been completed and the work was finished by May 1965. The route taken was that followed by the early telegraph cables. It is anticipated that the much greater weight of the power cable will prevent movement along the bottom that was the cause of most of the failures of the other cables.

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