Ships and the sea have long been important factors in New Zealand life. The long coast, the break between the two islands, and the rugged bush-covered interior made the sea the cheapest, easiest, and principal highway. Indeed, until 1928 a sea voyage was the only way in or out of the country and even today cargo is carried almost entirely by sea. New Zealanders with this tradition and, in the main ports, with ships almost in their streets, are very conscious of the sea and of the ships that sail on it. Over the years certain vessels have for one reason or other caught the public fancy and their names have become part of the substance of New Zealand history.