April 10 -50th Anniversary of the Wahine Disaster

Hello from 1066 -A Medieval Mosaic

On the 25th March 1968, my family arrived in New Zealand after our five-week cruise from the United Kingdom. On arriving in Wellington, we spent the night at Trentham Military Camp. The next day we crossed Cook Strait from Wellington to Lyttelton, near Christchurch on the Wahine ferry. Sixteen days later the Wahine sank. This made a permanent memory on my nine-year-old mind.

TEV Wahine was a twin-screw, turbo-electric, roll-on/roll-off passenger and vehicle ferry of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. She was launched at the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Govan, Scotland, in 1965 and worked the New Zealand inter-island route between Wellington and Lyttelton from 1966. On 10 April 1968, near the end of a typical northbound crossing to Wellington, she was caught in a fierce storm stirred by Tropical Cyclone Giselle. She foundered after running aground on Barrett Reef and capsized and sank in the shallow waters near Steeple Rock at the mouth of Wellington Harbour. Of the 734 people on board, 53 people died from drowning, exposure to the elements or from injuries sustained in the hurried evacuation and abandonment of the stricken vessel.

Wahine disaster 50th anniversary begins with dawn service at Eastbourne

Wahine disaster: Survivors of the storm