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Anniversary of the Wahine disaster

The 10th of April 1968 is a day etched in many New Zealanders’ memory.

Cyclone Giselle smashed into Wellington and grew in stature as it directly hit an approaching southerly storm.  The cyclone ended in tragedy for dozens of passengers on the ferry Wahine as it ran aground on Barrett Reef while attempting to enter the harbour.

Winds were gusting in excess of 200 kph about the Wellington hilltops as the boat entered the harbour amidst monstrous swells, the sea was awash with foam and spray.

One of the biggest weather events in New Zealand’s history saw 51 people die in this maritime disaster.

Cyclone Giselle was not confined to Wellington with a trail of destruction experienced in many parts of the country.



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