cook strait

Events In History


Euan Dickson was one of the most successful Allied bomber pilots of the First World War, flying 175 raids, and shooting down 14 enemy aircraft with the help of his observer.

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Cook Strait rail ferries

  • Cook Strait rail ferries

    On a fine, calm day ‘Cruising on the Interislander’ can be like a luxury Mediterranean cruise. But on a bad day Cook Strait can be one of the world's roughest stretches of water: seasickness, dodgy food and wildcat strikes have all been part of the colourful Cook Strait ferry story.

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  • Page 2 – 'The floating bridge'

    Before 1962 rail struggled to compete with ships for inter-island business, but the road/rail ferries changed that.

  • Page 3 – 'An array of awful pies'

    In the 1960s, the ferries' food and services fell short of the glossy ads, but now they are more upmarket.

  • Page 4 – Rough crossings

    Crossing Cook Strait is often idyllic, but it can be one of the world’s roughest stretches of water as it's part of the westerly wind belt known as the Roaring Forties

  • Page 5 – Branding the Cook Strait ferries

    From 'puke' green to funnells sprouting ferns, the ferries' branding and appearance have had many changes.

  • Page 6 – Strikes and strandings

    Cook Strait ferries were vital to the flow of freight and passengers between the North and South islands, and  interruptions because of bad weather, mechanical problems

  • Page 7 – Fast ferries on Cook Strait

    The old fable about the tortoise and the hare was replayed on Cook Strait as fast ferries offered travellers a quick dash across the ditch.

  • Page 8 – Sailing into the 21st century

    The new century brought mixed fortunes for Cook Strait’s ‘iron bridge’.

Wahine disaster

  • Wahine disaster

    This April marks the 45th anniversary of the sinking of the ferry Wahine. With more than 50 lives lost, this was New Zealand's worst modern maritime disaster. The Wahine’s demise on 10 April 1968 also heralded a new era in local television, as pictures of the disaster were beamed into living rooms around the country.

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  • Page 2 - Timeline to tragedyThe events that led to the drowning of 51 people in the Wahine disaster of 10 April

Cook Strait is the strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea on the northwest with the South Pacific Ocean on the southeast, and runs next to the capital city, Wellington. It is 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its narrowest point, and is considered one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world.

Meaning of place name
The strait is named after James Cook, the first European commander to sail through it, in 1770. In Māori it has the name Raukawa or Raukawa Moana. Raukawa may mean "bitter leaves".