1964 - Manu Wai (hydrofoil)

Is it a boat, is it a spaceship?

Built in Italy, the futuristic hydrofoil Manu Wai was delivered to New Zealand on 22 June1964. She began the Waiheke run for the Waiheke Shipping Company (chartered from Kerridge Odean Tourist Services) in the same year. At a speed of between 30 and 35 knots, Manu Wai could do Auckland-Matiatia in 22 minutes.

It was a short flight however: Manu Wai’s run ended in December 1973, when operating challenges caused the Seamen's Union to declare the boat "black."

Manu Wai's small passenger capacity - only 75 seats - and the fact she was not allowed to operate on the harbour after dark, further curtailed her usefulness (especially on winter commuter runs).

She was sold in 1981 to O James, who restored her in Hamilton.

Manu Wai worked again briefly in 1989 with Kiwi Lager livery on the Waitematā Harbour.

Vital stats

Length: 20.75m

Beam (hull): 4.99m

Width (of foils): 8.7m

Draft (hull): 2.8m

Draft (foilborne): 1.4m

Displacement (fully loaded): 31.6t

Displacement (lightship): 26.0t

Engine: MTU 12V 493 / 1,350hp

Speed: 36knots

Range: Approx 210 nautical miles

Passengers: 52

  • <p>Built in Italy, the hydrofoil Manu Wai was delivered to New Zealand on 22 June 1964. <em>Cover of Waiheke Island: Boat and Bus Times, 1963- 1964, Waiheke Historical Society collection.</em></p>
  • <p>Postcard promoting the hydrofoil Manu Wai on it's Waiheke run, c1960s.<br><em>Waiheke Historical Society collection.</em></p>