Story: Shipping

Ferry wars in Cook Strait

Ferry wars in Cook Strait

In the 1990s lightly built, high-powered fast ferries made a splash in Cook Strait. Compared to the 17–19-knot conventional ferries such as the Arahanga (left), the Incat 050, trading as the Top Cat (right) and looking like an apparition from a sci-fi movie, hit 49.3 knots on trials. The ferry wars saw several ships come and go, but the tortoises beat the hares when wake damage to the coastline led to the imposition of speed restrictions in the Marlborough Sounds. The last fast ferry departed in 2005 and was replaced by a 22,000-ton conventional ferry.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP/1999/1514/14a; F
Photograph by Phil Reid

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 - Recent developments, 1980s onwards', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 November 2023)

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