Ferry crews often lived on board. A vessel like the Rarawa, shown here having her deck hosed down, required a set number of able seamen, greasers, firemen and trimmers, and apprentices, ordinary seamen or boys. Officers had their own cabins in the mid-ship section. Close to the boiler and engines, the tiny rooms were hot and noisy. The rest of the crew was housed in the forecastle, with a bunk, a small locker or few drawers underneath it for personal possessions, and a small table at which to eat. Part of the Northern Steam Ship Company fleet from 1903, the Rarawa carried passengers and cargo on the Onehunga–New Plymouth run. During the First World War, when many passenger vessels were used for other purposes, the Rarawa worked as a fishing vessel.
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