Cook Strait's dangerous waters - Roadside Stories

A Manatū Taonga audio guide to the wild Cook Strait, a channel of water that separates the North and South Islands.

Check out the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's audio guide to Cook Strait in the Video tab.

The wild waters and intense weather of Cook Strait led Māori to perform special rituals when crossing the strait. The inter-island ferry Penguin was wrecked south of Wellington in 1909, causing 75 deaths, and 51 people died when the Wahine foundered at the entrance to Wellington Harbour in 1968.

The Wahine disaster
Cook and Foveaux Strait ferries
Open water swimming
Wellington region: climate

Archival audio sourced from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives. Sound files may not be reused without permission from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives (Reference number sa-t-0605-su03-pm).

Roadside Stories are a series of audio guides to places of interest on major road trips in New Zealand. Each guide tells the story of an attraction along the way – its people, its history, its cultural and natural significance. For more information about Roadside Stories visit

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