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Update: Major Problems for NZ Wellington-Picton ferries

New Update: Kaiarahi is sailing again from Wednesday onwards and the ferries from Bluebridge seem to be repaired fast as well.

Usually, the fleet of ferries from Wellington to Picton consists of 6 ferries. Due to different problems, however, the fleet is down from 6 ferries to only one two ferries operating the line between Wellington and Picton.

  • The Interislander’s MV Kaiarahi has an engineering fault and stopped sailing on Monday.
  • Interislander’s MV Kaiarahi is sailing again.

Kaiarahi is sailing Wednesday afternoon (22nd February)

Kaiarahi will sail from Wellington to Picton today but departure time is now 4:30 pm, final check in is 3:30 pm. It will return from Picton at 9:45 pm tonight, final check in time 8:45 pm.

We apologise for the late notice but we had to wait until repairs were confirmed.

If you cannot use this booking can you please login to the website and cancel your booking. We have a backlog of people on both sides of Cook Strait who need to travel

Kaiarahi out of service for the next few days 21 February.Kaiarahi out of service for the next few days 21 February.

Kaiarahi has developed an engineering issue and we have made the call for safety reasons to take it out of service for the next few days while we complete repairs.

We have no space to move your booking and unfortunately we will have to cancel and refund your fare.
  • The Interislander's MV Kaitaki lost power on January 28th.[1]Tug boats escorting Interislander – RNZ Due to this event passenger travel on this vessel is on hold.

Update on Kaitaki sailings from 21 February.

We wish to advise that unfortunately, the Kaitaki is to remain a freight-only service until at least Friday this week.
  • Blue bridge's Connemara has Engine Problems but seems to be repaired rather fast.

Connemara Update

Last Friday, Connemara experienced an issue with an engine. The repairs are progressing well, and once sea trials are completed this morning, Connemara services will resume, but they will be delayed for the rest of the week.

All customers affected by the delays will be advised by email and text.

Straitsman sailing cancellations: Tuesday 21 February and Wednesday 22 February.

The disruption caused by the Connemara cancellations and the bad weather from Cyclone Gabrielle last week has impacted the Straitsman’s schedule significantly. Due to the requirement to carry critical goods across Cook Strait, we have had to cancel the Straitsman's passenger daytime sailings today (Tuesday) and the ship also has to reset to its normal schedule on Wednesday morning.

Refunds and such seem to be swift and taken care of, however, it's extremely difficult for passengers to get alternative sailings. People are now saying many people are stuck in Wellington and all accommodations are basically fully booked.

Map of the route:

It seems the Aratare (from InterIslander) and the Kaiarahi are the only ships operating right now. Let's hope for all the passengers waiting that Interislander ramps up this vessel's sailings immediately if possible.

There haven't been this many cancellations from the North to the South Island before. A line that apparently needs better, more modern ships. This however is a much-discussed topic.



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  1. Such important national infrastructure as the link between north and south island, should not be in private ownership. It should be a non-profit making national service.

    • If you look at other countries this is not entirely true as we’ve seen ‘nationalized’ projects like this gone wrong around the world in many countries, also, especially as national services. The best-known example is the ‘Ferry Fiasco’ in Scotland on which simply everything went wrong.

      You are right about one thing though: This connection simply needs better ships, of the 6 ships about 4 of them are like 30 years old. (also with loads of problems appearing unlike other older ships) This connection needs ships like the Fjords FSTR or the Spirit of Tasmania IV.

  2. It seems amazing to ne that a ferry with 2 engines should have both engines fail and drift until anchors were deployed…it was lucky the ship was close to Wellington and tugs could rescue it..the inter island shipping is a disgrace!

  3. Ferrygogo leaves a reply on an article about a ferry crises, and suggests privatization is working perfectly fine. What a joke.
    Someone clearly makes some money within the ferry industry ..

    • Good points, normally ferry-lines with competing operators on them work quite ok. We are not pro or against anything within the industry really. Doesn’t matter at all for us: we just provide guidance where possible.

      It’s just that there are so many (huge) cases around the world with lines that are not running well ‘while’ nationalized. And also many cases of lines that run really well due to healthy competition (All ferries on the Canary Islands for example with Fred Olsen and Navie Armas (inc. the fastest ships in the world))

      This one is an interesting read:

  4. Time for new ships on this connection, hopefully, they push things through this time and they make the right decisions.

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