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The first Wahine ferry in 1951


The first Wahine (built in 1913) is seen here at the beginning of its last voyage in 1951. After service in both world wars, the Wahine was chartered by the New Zealand government to carry Kayforce troops to the Korean War. On 15 August the ship ran aground on Masela Island in the Arafura Sea. Everyone on board was safely evacuated, but the vessel was declared a total loss – a sad end to an illustrious 38-year career.

Seventeen years later, an even worse fate was to befall the second Wahine (launched in 1966).


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 114/333/04-G
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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The first Wahine ferry in 1951, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated