The first immigrants to arrive in any number by steamship reached New Zealand in the 1870s, although by then steamships had been crossing the Atlantic for 50 years. In the 1880s, when Shaw Savill was one of the shipping lines given a mail contract, steamships finally replaced sailing ships for most voyages to New Zealand. Though the circumstances for steerage passengers initially remained much the same, steam power soon made the voyage shorter and more comfortable.
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