1945 - Commuter ferry era begins

Ferry sailings increased after WW2

“By 1945 Waiheke was fast outgrowing the model of settlement introduced by the private subdivisions of 1916-23, which had created six independent villages, each financially responsible for its own wharf and network of roads.” writes historian Paul Monin in Matiatia – Gateway to Waiheke.

Waiheke’s population had now reached 850, and tarred roads connected all the villages, except Rocky Bay.

“Adopting a positive approach, the two shipping companies acquired extra vessels to cope with the increased trade anticipated after the war. The Devonport Steam Ferry Company bought the Muritai, a large ferry boat that had formerly been based in Wellington, and the Waiheke Passage Service bought the old steamer Onewa to supplement the existing Baroona and Tangaroa.

“The Muritai delivered up to a thousand weekend trippers and residents on a Friday night, most requiring bus transport.”

The era of commuter ferry services had begun.

See the stories in the group ‘Ferries of Waiheke’, for portraits of all our boats.

Traffic congestion arrives too

In 1956 the beginnings of vehicle congestion on land at Matiatia prompted the road board to post these rules:

1. Only Trucks from the Carriers (one Waiheke Enterprise and one C. Lewis) are allowed to park on the wharf and then at the right-hand (northern) corner of the wharf during the time of arrival and departure of ships.

2. Taxis are allowed to set down passengers for Auckland at boat-side until half and hour before advertised sailing time. During the half hour preceding sailing must use the Taxi Parking Area – the area of the ‘island’ of trees between Alison’s paddock and the main road to the wharf.

3. Four or Five Buses must park with backs to the fence and shelter-shed – leaving space for pedestrians between buses and fence. The remaining buses must park along the road facing Oneroa.

4. The small road recess at the land end of Matiatia Wharf is reserved for the Constable’s car the Traffic Officer’s Car and on occasions Mr. Alison’s car.

5. Only the Cars of the Doctors and the District Nurse are allowed in the recess half way along the sea-front road to wharf.

6. All other cars must park in the Car Park (Mr. Alison’s paddock).

Bruce Croll, who lived at Matiatia all his life, recalls the start of the commuter ferries...

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Waiheke ferry arrival 1960s

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  • <p>Mataitai Bay, Oneroa, Waiheke Island, Auckland, 29th January 1954. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-34328-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23529655</p>
  • <p>Matiatia wharf and buses. Waiheke was for lovers even in the 1950s.<br><em>Waiheke Historical Society collection.</em></p>
  • <p>Muritai alongside Matiatia Wharf, January, 1957. W. Walker, Alexander Turnbull Library - F330991/2.</p>
  • <p>Baroona approaching Waiheke, c1970s. <em>Bruce Croll collection.</em></p>
  • <p>Baroona approaching Matiatia Wharf, date unknown. <em>Waiheke Historical Society collection.</em></p>
  • <p>Buses at Matiatia, c1960s. <em>Waiheke Historical Society collection</em></p>
  • <p>A full Baroona arrives at Matiatia. <em>Gulf News, October 1983.</em></p>
  • <p>Passengers waiting for buses at Matiatia, with the the iconic pie cart in the background. <em>Gulf News, October 1983.</em></p>