17th May 2004, 21:39
Two shots of New Zealand ferries on the Clyde;the first shows the launch in July 1965 of WAHINE which sadly foundered in a storm in 1968 in Wellington Harbour.
Ironically,her Tyne built replacement,RANGATIRA was laid up in Glasgow in 1977/78 and the second shot shows her as such.She became an accommodation ship after that,also served if I remember rightly in the Falklands in 1982 and last I heard of her was a Mediterranean ferry as QUEEN M

Bob S
24th August 2004, 18:49
For those with access to the latest copy of "Sea Breezes" (Sept '04), there is a letter in "Slop Chest" giving a personal account of the WAHINE disaster.

Sea Breezes is also on line at www.seabreezes.co.im althought not for the latest edition.

Doug Rogers
25th August 2004, 04:15
On a personal note I can well remember the shock of her sinking in Wellington harbour.
I had just returned to Sydney on the "Himalaya" following a cruise in Pacific waters and everyone on board was horrified at what had happened. We were aware very quickly of the incident but the tale of the various rescues and survivors experiences became quite harrowing as time went on. Part of our shock was simply not understanding how such a modern and well cared for vessel could have got itself into such difficulties so quickly and also in not understanding just how bad the weather conditions actually were at the time. A sad ending for such a ship in addition to the lives that were lost in the incident.

25th August 2004, 10:35
Likewise.I was returning home from work and saw the photo of her on her side on the front page of our local evening papers.Couldn/t believe it at all.

6th March 2005, 18:58
A total of 51 persons lost her life in those tragedy.Subsequently the ship,
broke in three piece in mountainous seas whipped up by hurricane force winds
during wreck removal activity in may 1969.the last part of the wreck was removed from the site in 1973!!!!!!.

Doug Rogers
7th March 2005, 00:34
Would be interesting to know what ultimately happened to the Rangatira, she certainly disappeared into the shadows after the Falklands War, no doubt been scrapped many years ago now!!.

7th March 2005, 04:02
Check my Website, Doug - under Steamer Express. She only went to the scrapyard a matter of about 6 weeks or so ago.

7th March 2005, 04:11
I think everybody remembers where they were that day. Due to the weather, (the storm affected most of the country) my school was closed so I was at home.
To this day, the storm that hit that day is still known as the "Wahine Storm".
She was so unlucky - ten minutes either side and she would have safely berthed........

Doug Rogers
7th March 2005, 05:44
Thanks for that Flyer, yeh she was unlucky...but arent they all, you can invariably put up an arguement like that...the sad fact remains that the odds were against them and what happened happened. Also in hindsight looking at some of the engine controls and equipment that she had if she had been built probably a year or so later she might well have survived as there were a raft of things just coming in that might have made a difference...but there you go..another one of those arguements!!

15th March 2005, 10:46
I worked for the Union Co in Head Office at the time. I was 21 and my best friend was Chris Morrah the assistant purser who was lost. Some years later I married his sister. My father in law as Electrical Supt of the Union Co and Bill Waters the naval architect who designed "wahine" was a close personal friend of the family so the disaster had big ramifications within our family. I ended up looking after a ward at WLG Hospital and it was my first experience of death close at hand and the related grief and anger. I never cease to be amazed whenever I look out at to sea at Seatoun to the location where she went down. Part of our maritme history now......

julian anstis
15th March 2005, 12:30
If memory serves me correctly, I think that the complete bow section of the Wahine was stood upright on the quay in Wellington, not far from where we berthed. It would have been mid 1970 or possibly 71 when I saw it.....would I be correct in thinking this....?.

15th March 2005, 19:15
Yes, you are correct. Somewhere I have a copy of a photo of that, I'll see if I can find it.

julian anstis
15th March 2005, 19:20
Thank's yet again David......rather macarbe but interesting to see it again. Did they scrap the bow section or use it as a memorial in some way..? I remember that it had the name section across it. look forward to seeing that

15th March 2005, 19:39
I can recall several large chunks of her coming ashore. The bridge was impressive and a large slice of the E Deck accomodation was landed at Taranaki St Wharf and I had the bizarre experience of standing in the same cabin as I had been in when travelling on the ship. The cabin numbers were made of Formica and still easily visble. The smell of rotting shellfish was really strong. Her aftermast is a memorial down in Frank Kitts Park on the foreshore in the city. I believe her foremast is still around too. They have a memorial around at Seatoun near where she sank which is quite impressive. It features a ships cowled ventilator and some anchor chain stretched seaward towards an anchor. I went to the 30th? anniversary commemorations and met some of the survivors that i had not seen since that day. One lady even recognised me when I spoke to her! I have some photos that were taken just after the wreck but they are out on loan at the moment. Will post them when I get them back.

16th March 2005, 09:31
Attached a photo of the bow sections on Taranaki Street Wharf, Wellington.
After being cut up, they were transported to Auckland and melted into reinforcing rods.
Apologies for photo quality - it is a photocopy of an original image by Vic Young and produced in a "Wahine Resource Kit" by the Wellington Maritime Museum.

julian anstis
20th March 2005, 17:17
"Wow" !............that's just transported me back 35 years in an instant.
Thats exactly as I remember it......I was stood in the bow section where the crane is...just looking in absoulute awe as Mo (Maurice Peachman) and Ray the steward's told me the story of what happened that day. It was 1970 and I was sixteen at the time on my first trip to sea, so it was quite an experience for me to see something like this.

Many thanks for posting that picture for me David.....brings back many memories.

21st March 2005, 09:08
That's what this site is all about isn't it?

Edith Kern
4th April 2005, 21:58
Wahine Day as it is known will never be forgotten, I had recently returned from the U.K. and remember hearing the news that she was in trouble very early on the radio, the weather had to be lived through to be believed! Walked to work as the buses were not running only to find we had no power and listening to the news on transister was our only occupation and gathering on the ground floor of my workplace as we had lost our roof. The rescue operation was indeed full of unsung heroes, a friend of mine was a steward who was washed ashore at pencarrow [his first ship] in front of him was a rather large woman who was exhausted and was struggling to make the shore so he pushed her by her backside up the beach saving her life. Many months later a parcel arrived for him at the union office it container a jersey that she had knitted for her hero, upon trying on the said garment he found it was down to his knees and the sleeves were about a foot too long, she must of thought he was a very big strong man to have pushed her to safety!
During the summer of 73' I was stewardess on the Aramoana and we used to pass the Holmpark anchored over the salvage site on every crossing, whenever this happened the passengers used to go very quiet, nobody forgot "Wahine Day"

5th April 2005, 10:50
There were a lot of heroes that day, many of them unsung..........

Ngaio 62
18th July 2005, 02:19

I have posted in "Ferries" a photo of the Seatoun Wahine memorial.
I would be interested to read your thoughts about the encroaching vegetation near the anchor as I am considering an approache to Parks and Reserves about this.

many thanks


18th July 2005, 02:41
Qiute simply Martin, it needs to be cleared away.

Bruce Carson
18th July 2005, 04:05
There's a book on the disaster, which might be found at second hand booksellers.
The Wahine Disaster
Max Lambert & Jim Hartley
A. H. & A. W. Reid
The Scots equivalent had to be the Princess Victoria sinking.
As a boy I remember the family clustered around the radio listening for hours, trying to find out more information on the unfolding disaster.

Tom Haywood
18th July 2005, 04:20
I was in Gisborne on the Otaki and we experenced the weather up there, the wind forcing the ship away from the berth by several mtrs and extral lines had to be put ashore (around light poles I recall) We left Gisborne several days later for Wellington and I can still remember this huge ship lying on its side, I think it was then when I first acknowledged the power of the sea and that big ships do sink. When coming into Wellington I remember that you passed quite to the wreck.

Tom Haywood

Ngaio 62
18th July 2005, 14:46
The Princess Victoria was a terrible loss. Bruce i can still recall doing what you did, in my case it was the Air new Zealand Dc10 flight to Antarctica. i was swatting for my UE and listening to the reports coming in. Great concern about the flight especially after the fuel reserves would have run out.

I think The Princess Victoria disaster set a new standard for stern doors.
I have Stephen Cameron's book Death in the North Channel. definitely worth getting.

I have Emmanuel Makarios' book on the Wahine and it is well illustrated and written. Well worth the effort if you can get it.

The Wahine sinking was a shock to me as when I was on the ship I felt very safe as it felt as steady as being on land. After seeing her sink on TV news that day I would never believe in the invincability of any ship beneath my feet no matter how solid it felt.


Ngaio 62
11th September 2005, 09:30
WAHINE Research Project

For some time I have been engaged in ongoing research and writing with a view to producing a history of this vessel from conception to Slavge completion. I would very much like to correspond with anyone who travelled on her as crew or passenger or has an association with her career. Much work has gone into this project already.

many thanks in advance hoping that this site remains

11th September 2005, 15:54
Would be interesting to know what ultimately happened to the Rangatira, she certainly disappeared into the shadows after the Falklands War, no doubt been scrapped many years ago now!!.

Fairly sure I saw 'Rangatira' at Sullom Voe in the Shetlands in 1979. She was being used for accommodation for the construction workers (I think). There was certainly a Union Co. ferry there - I remember doing a double take when I saw her.

John T.

11th September 2005, 22:12
That was indeed her.She was laid up in Glasgow prior to that (pic on the head of this Forum).Had quite an interesting career what with the Falklands as well.

11th September 2005, 22:30
Fairly sure I saw 'Rangatira' at Sullom Voe in the Shetlands in 1979. She was being used for accommodation for the construction workers (I think). There was certainly a Union Co. ferry there - I remember doing a double take when I saw her.

John T.
See post #7 on page 1 John, the link will give you an overview of her career.

Ngaio 62
11th September 2005, 22:48
Sad to relate she was rcenly scrapped somewhere in the Adriatic.
I hve seen the pics . Like the Canberra it's really sad.


12th September 2005, 09:58

That was certainly a morbid night on the evening of 28th November 1979. It was between 20-2100 hrs when all hope of the Air New Zealand DC10 and the 257 people onboard making it back had diminished.

7th February 2006, 16:12
Hello to all.

As a interesting note, there is still one survivor of the former Union Steamship, the WANAKA, perhaps one of the last (if not the last) still sailing.
Her last registered name was DUCHESS M, and she sails on as a Med ferry.

According to the Marlines website, she is still being used to connect Bari to Duress.

The link:

On the WAHINE there is this very informative webpage:

Also on the RANGATIRA:

It seems that the name WAHINE has some ill-luck attached to it, the 1913-built previous bearer of that name also ended her days in a reef:

1951 August 15 At 05:40 a.m. the Wahine ran hard aground on the Masela Island Reef off Cape Palsu in the Arafura Sea, being held as far aft as the engine room. In response to a distress call, all aboard were rescued by the Standard Vacuum Oil's tanker Stanvac Karachi and returned to Darwin. From there the men were flown in relays to their destination but it was a sad end for a vessel that had given thirty-eight years of magnificent service. Salvage attempts were unsuccessful and the vessel was abandoned as a total loss.

Information taken from: http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/wahine1.htm

Best regards from Lisbon,
Paulo Mestre

7th February 2006, 21:59
Posted a photo today of Wahine on side in Wellington Harbour. I was on Holmdale at the time and like everyone else in NZ was fairly shocked that such a thing could happen to such a modern ship etc etc. I think it helped lead to the demise of the InterIsland Ferry Service. I was also in Lyttelton on the night the Rangitira sailed for the last time...It was a totally surreal night...I think a collective realisation that the world had indeed moved on and the end of life as we knew it........oh well

J Boyde
8th February 2006, 08:10
I was on the Komata in Auckland. We expected a rough night in Auckland but did not happen. Spent the day getting up and down of the engineroom keeping up with the news. A long and sad day. I know a number of crew, as did many other Union Co people.
Jim B

14th October 2006, 00:03
For those wanting to know the history of the Rangatira, check this site, http://www.faktaomfartyg.se/rangatira_1972.htm
For some reason, I can't find the Wahine on this site.

14th October 2006, 01:03
Rangatira broken up as Alexander the Great at Aliaga,Turkey, not much left of her in the photo i saw

Ngaio 62
10th March 2008, 10:30
Last night I came across a website setup by the Godson of the Wahine's Captain. It kept my attention for the better part of the evening. I definitely recommend it


John Crossland
11th March 2008, 05:38
Thanks Martin, I hadn't seen that one.

22nd April 2008, 18:33
Interesting that the later Rangatira had partly open bridge and the earlier Wahine had a closed one. Maybe a recommendation from the inquiry?

14th January 2009, 14:53
When I saw a picture of the Wahine on its side in one of the books my uncle owned, I was instantly interested. It was a picture with a ferry passing the wreck (I've experienced the same after the disaster with the "Herald of Free Enterprise" - we passed the wreck when we went to England a few weeks later and it was quite awful to see).
I wanted to find more information on the disaster and the Wahine. The posts on this forum has been a great help. Thank you for all the stories and the links (especially for the link to the New Zealand maritime record http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/wahine.htm)
Regards, Ies

26th January 2009, 09:57
Thanks to the stories I found on this forum I could write the post about the Wahine on my blog: http://www.the-7-seas.blogspot.com/
I hope you like it.
Regards, Ies

Ahmed N
21st April 2019, 17:18
Did Bill waters also design the "Australian trader" and the "Empress Of Australia" ?