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  1. The first of two news items about this disaster.

  2. The second of two news items about this disaster.


On April 10th 1968 the Lyttelton–Wellington ferry Wahine ran aground and sank at the entrance to Wellington Harbour. 53 people died as a result of the accident; 51 on the day. This news piece features aerial footage of the ship after the storm, and NZBC reporters conduct dramatic interviews with survivors, police and the head of the Union Steam Ship Company. Coverage was only seen by Mainlanders after a cameraman rushed up to Kaikoura and filmed a TV set that could receive a signal from Wellington — then returned to Christchurch so the footage could be broadcast.

Credits (14)

 Keith Aberdein
 Peter Bryan
 Brian Shennan

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Comments (8)

 Derek Peck

Derek Peck

In April 1968 I was a 16year old deck boy on board the ss corinthic (shaw savill line) we were docked in Wellington I can remember one of our officers coming into the mess and telling the crew to put out extra mooring lines as the storm was getting worse a short time later I remember the same officer coming into the mess and telling us that a passenger ship (the Wahine) had been caught in the storm and was stuck on a reef just outside the harbour with a lot of passengers on board he asked for volunteers to man the lifeboat in order that we could go and give assistance I was one of the volunteers there was five of us in total we proceeded to put blanket ect into the lifeboat one thing that really sticks out in my mind was that we had a padre on board and as we were being lowered down the ships side he was saying a prayer I knew then that we were going into something very dangerous well we set off and the seas were horrendous it got that bad that after about half an hour we had to turn about and make for our own ship we were so close we could see the Wahine sitting on the reef but we could not get in close we all felt really bad not being able to help what a sad day for New Zealand .



I was 8 when the Wahine went down. I remember the remains in Wellington harbour for many years. If that happened today there would be court cases and inquiries to find a scape goat or a cause. things have changed

 Liz Lipski

Liz Lipski

I was in Form 2. We'd been sent home from school mid-morning. I remember the wind that day. I'd never experienced wind like that. A sheet of corrugated iron flying up the street just missed decapitating me. I made it home in time.

 Vicki Mortensen

Vicki Mortensen

I am a Kiwi living in Las Vegas where the Titanic exhibit is currently showing, but I remember the Wahine disaster - I was 7 years old and my family was from Wellington. Many watched this disaster unfold.

 Harold Mclean

Harold Mclean

My Uncle Graham Webb and my Father Harry Mclean helped recover the unfortunate souls on seatoun beach , just Awful

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 NZ Broadcasting Corporation


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[The NZBC team] worked under extreme conditions to shoot the film, in torrential rain and gale force winds, losing 1000 feet of film through water entering their cameras. Water marks here and there on the film show the sort of situation in which it was shot.... 


1968 World Newsfilm Awards
Winner Disaster Report Category: NZ Broadcasting Corporation