Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Cook Strait Rail Ferries on nzhistory.net.nz

"A pretty rough stretch of water" – Cook Strait Rail Ferries on nzhistory.net.nz

Passengers returning from summer holidays have been enjoying the best of inter-island crossings this year – a calm cruise through Wellington Harbour, Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds.

But a new feature on the NZHistory.net.nz website highlights the strait's reputation as a rough stretch of water that has earned the ferries some less-than-salubrious nicknames since the Picton-Wellington road/rail service began in 1962.

Much of that is due to the Roaring Forties ripping through the huge wind tunnel created by New Zealand’s mountainous landscape. There's also a "… patch of unnatural water called the Karori Rip, where the wind and seas meet the tide head-on."

Names from a long line of ferries – Aramoana, Aranui, Arahanga, Arahura, Aratere – conjure up as many yarns as an old battle or fishing trip. Yarns, facts and figures are on the website and some of the myths are dispelled.

"Those ferries have become something of a national institution," says Senior Historian Gavin McLean, a marine history specialist who researched and wrote the feature. "There would be few New Zealanders who haven't been on an inter-island crossing – and don’t have a story to tell."

Dodgy food, wildcat strikes, breakdowns and speedy 'vomit comets' are part of the Cook Strait ferry story.

But industrial action caused the cancellation of only 378 out of 21,654 sailings between 1986 and 1991. A larger number of cancellations were due to either bad weather or mechanical failures.

The "snack bar" offering only savoury mince, pies and 'smiling' sandwiches has undergone a dramatic image change though some kiwi traditions endure. Every year about 96,578 pies and 63,210 litres of beer are consumed on board the ferries.

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/cook-strait-ferries reveals more about 'the floating bridge', its strikes and strandings, travellers' memories, and the rise and demise of the fast ferries.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Not Easy: Gordon Campbell On The Greens’ Ongoing Problems

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival...

A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame. More>>


Closing The Gap: Ardern Rules Out Income Tax Rise

After earlier commitments by Jacinda Ardern to do something about inequality and poverty, this new position on income tax seems an about face. To do something significant about inequality requires increases in income for those at the bottom and decreases for those at the top... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need... More>>

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election