In the background of the photo above there is a vessel anchored in the stream waiting for a berth. During the 1951 waterfront strike I can recall counting 14 vessels anchored in the stream with some of them stuck there for almost as long as the strike lasted. R/Os, with their ladies, almost took over the house bar of a well known Wellington Hotel; ZLW staff were honoured guests. I learned a lot.
– Clyde Williams
In the latter decades of their operation, New Zealand Post Office radio stations communicated primarily with ships, since point to point communications had been replaced by cable and satellite, and aviation radio had been taken over by Civil Aviation.
Even after the last two coast stations (Wellington Radio and Auckland Radio) closed on 30 September 1993, the Cook Strait ferries continued to communicate with each other on 500 kHz radiotelegraphy for more than two years, until 3 December 1995. [Read a transcript of their final transmissions]
In this section of maritimeradio.org, it is hoped to add details of ships that communicated with New Zealand coast stations including ZLB, ZLC, ZLD and ZLW. Each ship has its own page, accessible via the Ships link in the main menu. If you have photos (especially of radio rooms and radio operators), audio/video recordings or anecdotes please contact us.
1980 tourist information film about New Zealand’s inter-island ferries: