Story: Shipping

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 After just four years she was withdrawn.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, Union Steam Ship Company Collection
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, 'Shipping - The Union Company expands', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/ephemera/5762/the-lyttelton-ferry-rangatira (accessed 17 November 2019)

Story by Gavin McLean, published 12 Jun 2006, updated 1 Jan 2016