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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.



The Union Steam Ship Co.

The Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand, founded at Dunedin in 1875, began in a small way in the coastal trade but quickly extended its services overseas. It entered the cargo and passenger trade between New Zealand and Australia in 1876 and in 1881 began trading to the South Pacific Islands. Seven years later it started a direct service to Calcutta and eastern ports. It re-entered the mail and passenger service to San Francisco in 1910 and maintained it until 1936. In 1901 the company bought a share in the Canadian Australasian Line, of which it subsequently became the sole proprietor. This service – Australia and New Zealand to Vancouver – wound up soon after the Second World War. The Union Co. ended its passenger service to Sydney at the close of 1960, leaving the Huddart Parker Co. to carry on, the latter having been in the intercolonial passenger service since 1892. The nightly service between Wellington and Lyttelton is maintained by the express steamers Maori and Hinemoa, but the aged Tamahine has been replaced in the Wellington-Picton service by the New Zealand Railways' new train-ferry ship Aramoana which in early 1966 will be joined by the Aranui. The Union Co. is still expanding its large fleet of cargo vessels, and is adding another steamer for the Wellington – Lyttelton express service. This is the Wahine, a roll-on, roll-off vehicular ferry which revives the name of a former passenger vessel in the service.