Story: Ferries

The Lyttelton ferry, Rangatira

The Lyttelton ferry, Rangatira

Despite occasional grumbles about the ‘U Shan’t Sleep Co’, the Union Steam Ship Company’s Lyttelton–Wellington ferries were the main link across Cook Strait for over 60 years. No mere ferries – the company pompously called them ‘steamer expresses’ – the Maori, Wahine, Rangatira and Hinemoa carried everyone from students to the governor-general. But the 9,387-ton Rangatira entered service too late; by 1972 customers were defecting to the airlines or the rail ferries. After just four years she was withdrawn.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Eph-A-Ship-1972-01-front

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Gavin McLean, 'Ferries - Cook and Foveaux strait ferries', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 August 2022)

Story by Gavin McLean, published 11 Mar 2010