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This website is developed from the site originally conceived developed & maintained by Marcus Castell and associates. Opinions are those of the various authors of the articles, and are not those of the NZ National Maritime Museum unless specifically noted. Information in this site has been updated to 2002 and will be progressively updated as resources allow. More information on historic ships (etc) is contained in the MARITIME INDEX website


in service 1974 - 1999


Yard number 138 came from the Chantiers Dubegion at Nantes in France's Normandie province for NZ$8.8 million.  With an overall length of 127.7 metres, a beam of 18.7 metres and a maximum draft of 5.09 metres, she displaced 4,089 tons net and 9,035 gross.  Her twin diesels developed 12,000 bhp, giving her a cruising speed of 20.5 knots.


In 1976 she was sent to Hong Kong for a NZ$7 million rebuild, her passenger accommodation being increased from 10 to 840 and car space from 4 to 70.  During her 25 years of service, she provided a reliable and uneventful service, completing 27,265 crossings and steaming 1.44 million miles.

The above photograph was taken in 1975, prior to her refit and indicates the type of seas that she regularly encountered.  On the 6th of January, 1995 two cars were lost overboard as she made her way through five-metre seas on a voyage from Wellington to Picton, battling wind gusts of up to 110 kmh.  Five other vehicles parked on the deck of the ferry were damaged during the 2.20pm sailing.


The passenger accommodation was all aft, as this was where the extensions were fitted in 1976 in Hong Kong, and was spread over three decks, Boat Deck, A Deck and B Deck.  The passenger facilities on Boat Deck included the Tuatara Tavern and the Takahe Takeaways, whilst A Deck has the Tui Lounge, Ngaruhoe Lounge and Silver Fern Lounge, which were the three main passenger travel areas.  The second bar, Pohutukawa Lounge, was there too.  The purser's office and the video games room led to the Kea shop and the other two restaurants, the Kowhai Cafeteria and the Paua Room carvery.  B Deck had the Dolphin Playroom and nursery, the Kiwi Theatre and luggage lockers.  The Endeavour Room, suitable for business meetings, but could only seat ten.

Sold in June, 1999 to the MBRS Line of the Philippines, she made the 16 day voyage to Manila via Australia under the command of Captain Clyde Mason, who was accompanied by his wife.  She remained in the South Harbour anchorage for a few days before moving to North Harbour's ferry terminals. There she was converted for Filipino use. External walkways for passengers to board vessel were added, the rear doorway and the rail deck were altered. Still in the same livery, but renamed the Virgin Mary, she now sails in the company of MV Mary The Queen, a former British Isle of Man ferry, on the fourteen hour service between Manilla and Caticlan on the Northwest coast of Panay Island.



Thanks to Marcus Castell

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