New Zealand Disasters
On April 10 1968, The New Zealand inter-island ferry Wahine sank in Wellington Harbour with 734 passengers and crew on board. Despite their proximity to the rescue services, 51 people lost their lives and Wahine Day has remained firmly etched in the nations consciousness. This documentary revisits the tragedy 25 years later. It is a gripping story of a freak storm and human error, of tragedy and heroism. It is also a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the disaster.
The story unfolds through the eyes of the survivors and rescuers some of whom are still traumatized by the events of that day. The programme brilliantly blends archival news footage and evocative photographs to chillingly recreate the drama that unfolded, bringing alive a unique chapter of NZ nautical history. Even though there was a government enquiry, nobody was ever held responsible for the worst maritime tragedy in New Zealand history.
The investigative reporting style of presenter Brian Edwards and the recollections of those personally affected by the Wahine disaster are extremely compelling. TANGIWAI RAIL DISASTER In New Zealand the main trunk railway line and two state highways cross the foothills of three active volcanoes.
On Christmas Eve 1953 the crater lake on the largest of these volcanoes burst its banks, sending lahars down the mountain and into the path of a passenger express train carrying 285 people home to their families for Christmas. A government board of inquiry concluded the accident was an Act of God.
This documentary demonstrates that it was both predictable and preventable - an accident which should never have happened.