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Wahine was the largest ship so far built for the Steamer Express service and at the time of her entry into service was the largest roll-on/roll-off ship in the world.Of 8,944grt on a length of 488 feet, she provided accommodation for 931 passengers and space for approximately 200 cars. Company and it was a great relief when Wahine made her first voyage in the service on 1 August 1966.The two ships ran in partnership from 2 October 1913.Wahine was requisitioned for war service between 19, her place being taken by Mararoa.New Zealand's pre-eminent shipping company, the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand Ltd., was formed in Dunedin in 1875 by James Mills and a group of Dunedin merchants.Operations commenced in July of that year and the company quickly expanded with services on the New Zealand coast, to Australia, the Pacific Islands and across the Pacific to North America.Of 8,303grt with a capacity for 966 passengers and 70 to 80 cars, she was another product of Vickers Armstrong and was launched on 27 November 1952 at their Newcastle-on-Tyne shipyard by Princess Margaret, the first New Zealand registered ship to be launched by a member of the Royal Family.
Also leaving Wellington on the 25 October was the Rangatira under tow of the tug Fuji Maru and bound for the scrapyard at Hong Kong. Maori and Wahine quickly settled into service together and operated on the following timetable: tev MAORIDepart Lyttelton: Monday, Wednesday, Friday Depart Wellington: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday tev WAHINEDepart Wellington: Monday, Wednesday, Friday Depart Lyttelton: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Departures were at 8.00pm with arrival alongside the Terminal scheduled for 7.00am the next morning. During holiday periods, a special timetable was introduced featuring daylight sailings between the two ports. As she was navigating the narrow channel into Wellington on the morning of the 10th, she was hit by the first blast of a hurricane of unprecedented ferocity.October 1905 saw the commencment of a daily service year round utilising Rotomahana (1,727grt/1879) and Pateena (1,212grt/1883).The latter ship was replaced later the same month by the Mararoa (2,466grt/1885).From 1920 until 1931, the service was maintained by Maori and Wahine with Mararoa acting as relief ship.Rangatira, a new turbo-electric vessel of 6,152grt built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-on-Furness, was launched on 16 April 1931 and sailed for New Zealand via Panama on 8 September 1931.