Wahine Disaster In New Zealand


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Apr 16, 2002
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Does anyone have any information on the ferry Wahine, which sank in a storm off New Zealand. I have only seen it once on the Discovery Channel. I have never seen or heard of it again.
Please help!!!!
 

Nigel Bryant

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Jan 14, 2001
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Wellington, New Zealand
With the Wahine Diaster,it would proably be best to contact Martin Cahill. He is a fellow New Zealander, like myself and is very knowleable at the subject. He travelled on the Wahine before she sank, so did my mother. He will proably be the best person to contact and I am sure he won't mind you dropping in a line. His email address is: [email protected]

Hope this is of help.

Regards,

Nigel
 
May 3, 2002
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Thanks Nigel for your post. You are all welcome to write to me directly if you like.

With regard to the life boats 4 of the 8 were able to be launched namely those on the low starboard side.
#1 was the motorised emergency boat. this got away and the engine was started. However water was found to be entering via the drainage hole and it swamped killing the motor. It capsized in heavy seas to be washed up on the eastern shore.
#s 23&4 were larger and hand propelled by lever action. These were fully loaded and drifted east of the ferry into rougher water. 2&4 were taken in tow by private launches and landed there cargo safe at Seatoun. #3 under the command of a Quartermaster was navigated up hrbour to land its passengers at Eastbourne.

The liferafts proved quite capable of supporting life even when the deployed upsidedown or incompletely and were successfull until they reached the east coast.

More lives would have been saved if the small boat skippers had been aware and able to mobolise quicker. Most ofthe 51 lost were on the east coast.

cheers

Martin
 
May 3, 2002
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Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Great photos, Martin.

I've always intended to look more closely into the NZ inter-island ferries - one of Harold Lowe's brothers reportedly captained one for a number of years.
 
May 3, 2002
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thanks Inger and Senan for your support. I plan to post more as I am able to. I feel a certain debt after the generosity of my friends in the UK and Erie who have post images for me.

you no doubt know about the Princess victoria disaster, esp you Senan. The Wahine was similar to that and the connection between the two is that the PV design flaws led to the design of stern door on the Wahine which was later found to be watertight after the ship sank.

Inger, if you have any more detail about that Titanic connection I'd love to know more. Any questions about the NZ ferries do post them and I'll have ago.


cheers

Martin
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 12, 1999
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Hello Martin
Thanks very much for sharing those interesting photos. They are excellent. Have you ever met a Wahine survivor?
Thanks
Mike
 

Inger Sheil

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Harold Lowe himself was a big fan of NZ, Martin. It was no wonder one of his brothers settled there. There are a few other family connections as well. I'll see if I can send you some information on the inter-island ferry link.
 
May 3, 2002
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Hi Michael,

Yes I have met survivors both crew and passengers. I am involved in ongoing research for a writing project/Book and have interviewed a number of them. the transcripts of the Inquiry and its papers are also readily available.
There are more photos where they came from.

Martin
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 12, 1999
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HI Martin
This is excellent news! I definitely can't wait to read your book. I have a tv special on tape and I felt so bad for the mother who hit her little girl for not wanting to go in the lifeboat and the little girl ended up drowning. Then there was the newlywed who jumped overboard and she recalled looking up and seeing her husband just standing there. Perhaps you could do a preview article for ET as well?
Good luck and best wishes!
Mike
 
May 3, 2002
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Thanks Jim and Mike,
I have met the Mother you mention. She comes to Wellington every year. She lost two of her children. Alma, on the day and Gordon who died 21 years later as a result of the brain damage caused by his near drowning. Shirley Hick looked after him for as long as it took and that required a lot of strength. She is an amazing person and my first impression when I met her was of great strength.

Personally the most sobering fact is the fate of Colin Johnson, 6 y.o.. He is listed as drowned. he was the same age as I was on the day and when I saw his death certificate in the Archives it really stopped me in my tracks as I had recently travelled on WAHINE as well.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Martin
 
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