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The Ships of
New Zealand Shipping Company
The last of the Line!
RMS Ruahine of the New Zealand Shipping Company
the success of the RMS Rangitoto & Rangitane New Shipping Co
ordered a third ship to operate on the lucrative service, yet it
was decided that she would be somewhat smaller at 17,851
Ruahines outward design was very similar to her larger sisters and upon first sight she would easily be recognisable as a member of the fleet. Although there were distinctive differences, such as, Ruahine only had three lifeboats slung along on either side. Her after decks were very much shorter. Also, she had a different internal layout and accommodated fewer passengers than her two larger sisters. Thus although she looked part very similar to her bigger sisters, you knew at first sight that this was the Ruahine.
was completed and ran her sea trials in May 1951 and was duly
delivered to her owners. She departed for her maiden voyage
& below: MS Ruahine is seen here whilst on a line voyage
& seen in the Panama Canal and the
Down the page, the same postcard can be seen, but with a Federal funnel, which was coloured in as she had been transferred
is the back of the postcard that Tony Millatt purchased in
Postcard was kindly sent in by Tony Millatt (UK)
Public Rooms, accommodations and other facilities
Sports Deck - General sports facilities.
Promenade Deck Far forward there were six deluxe cabins, these had twin beds with a bathroom. These were followed by a Lounge, a Library, the Writing and Reading Room, the Smoke Room with its ever popular Bar, followed by the main entertainment venue the Verandah Lounge with dance floor, located aft overlooking the pool. In addition Promenade Deck also had a wide and spacious walk around deck for sun baking and strolling.
Upper Deck Was the location for the Pursers office, hair dresser and medical centre. Although this deck was mostly occupied with cabins, located far aft was the childrens playroom and nursery. This deck also featured the traditional covered walk around deck, so popular with all who undertook long voyages and liked to go and walk a mile early in the morning!
Main Deck A popular deck mostly because it was the location for the Dining Room. There were also cabins as well as the Galley and crew quarters than continued down to the deck below.
Cargo - Ruahine had six holds. She had a capacity of 155,857cu ft for traditional dry cargo, However, she also had had a massive 444 250 cu ft available for perishable goods in her refrigerated holds, as she and her sisters transported butter and meat (mostly Lamb) and other food items from New Zealand to the UK.
photographs below have been sourced from a mid 1950s
brochure, which I only recently purchased (January 2009) from an
American maritime memorabilia dealer. When it arrived, I was
overjoyed, for it was far superior to anything I had seen before
on the Ruahine and thus I am able to present it to you hereunder.
The images have all been enlarged and improved as much as it was
possible, but considering the age and the colours used at the
time, I think it came up quite well!
The photographs below have been sourced from a mid 1950s brochure, which I only recently purchased (January 2009) from an American maritime memorabilia dealer. When it arrived, I was overjoyed, for it was far superior to anything I had seen before on the Ruahine and thus I am able to present it to you hereunder. The images have all been enlarged and improved as much as it was possible, but considering the age and the colours used at the time, I think it came up quite well!
This 1950s brochure is the origin of all the photographs below
*From the authors private collection
The Main Lounge
Writing and Reading Room
The Smoking Room and Bar
The Swimming Pool and sun deck
The Dining Room on Main Deck
One of the six deluxe twin cabins with private facilities forward on Promenade Deck
An outside single cabin with private facilities Note that NZSC had waitresses on board
An inside twin bedded cabin with private, but some with shared facilities
Inside four berth cabin with shared facilities
An outside six berth cabin with shared facilities there were also several eight berth cabins
*Please Note: I obtained the above brochure from www.nautiques.net a source from whom I have obtained many rare and valuable maritime items at the most amazing low prices. I highly recommend that you visit their site if you are looking for that something special! You can use this LINK and reach a page that has hundreds of shipping lines listed from all around the world.
Note: I have NO connection with this company whatsoever and I am not on any kind of commission, or get paid! This is just a recommendation!
Built: John Brown and Co, Glasgow
Launched: July 27, 1950
Length: 584ft 178m
Width: 75ft 22.9m
Draft: 30ft 9.1m
Engines: Doxford type diesels
Service speed: 17 knots
Passengers: 267 One Class
Crew 200 - including waitresses
Passenger Decks: 4
Livery: Black hull, white superstructure, red boot-topping & yellow funnel. In 1966 she adopted the red and black funnel with the Federal flag logo
Brief Career History
With the addition of this the third Ruahine,
the New Zealand Shipping company was able to once again operate
the pre-war schedule of four-weekly departures from all ports of
call by its fleet of liners. Departure from
In 1965 NZSC and the Federal Steam Navigation Co merged and Ruahines funnel was painted in her new livery, a red funnel with a black top and the companys flag, but the ships continued to be managed by the New Zealand Shipping Co. However, later that year Ruahine underwent a refit, which saw her accommodations remodelled and upgraded, but also her (aft) Main mast removed, which gave her quite a different profile as can be seen from the three photographs below.
This is an early photograph of the RMS Ruahine, but later the new Federal Steam Navigation funnel was added.
It is interesting to note that her Mainmast (aft mast) remains, thus the photo is originally from the 1950s or early 1960s
Here we see a postcard with her Mainmast removed
Another fine postcard of the RMS Ruahine
With the changing times, passenger numbers decreasing rapidly as they were everywhere at the time, and with new container ships being introduced, which had much faster turn-around times, decisions had to be made. NZSC decided to sell the Rangitoto and Rangitane in 1967 to the C.Y. Tung Co operator of the Orient Overseas Line.
like her two sisters the Ruahine was also made redundant, and the
company decided to place her on the market as well. She departed
After the voyage concluded RMS Ruahine, became the SS Ruahine and was laid up and placed on the market.
enough C.Y. Tung purchased Ruahine to join her sisters which were
obtained first. She was renamed Oriental Rio and became a cruise
ship sailing the world. After a refit and comprehensive upgrade,
she looked quite attractive in her new livery, a grey hull, with
blood red boot topping, a bright yellow funnel with the
companys floral emblem. In addition you will note that her
foremast had been removed. She departed on her maiden cruise from
Rio, ex Ruahine, seen in
RMS Oriental Rio, ex Ruahine operated for
another three years, until she was finally sold to be broken up
Reactions from a past traveller
What a pleasure to read about the New Zealand
Shipping Co RMS Ruahine, a ship I and my family sailed on. We
I will always remember this amazingly cool way
to travel to another country. Your website brought back great
memories and the Ruahine brochure was especially enjoyable.
Thanks again for taking the time to post this information. We
took the P&O liners SS Oriana back to
I forwarded the links to Mother and so did my
My Mothers comments re the sites:
Ruahine: Well what a trip! That was a great
ship. I really loved it. I remember it took 12 days to cross (the
My brother's comments:
Fascinating! Ruahine broken up in
Page One Rangitiki - Rangitata (2) Rangitani (1)
Page TwoRangitoto, Rangitane (2), Remuera (2)
Page Two-B Ruahine (3) The last new built liner for NZ Shipping Co
Ruahine (3) -
Her final voyage
Page Three Photo Album 1
Rangitiki - Rangitata (2) Rangitani (1)
Page Four Photo Album 2
Rangitoto, Rangitane (2), Ruahine (3) and Remuera (2)
Page Five Photo Album 3
Rangitoto -1947 - in Colour
Page Six Photo Album 4
Rangitane (2) - 1947 in Colour
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the authors private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.
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