This long-established shipping line, a subsidiary of the P&O group, operated extensive voyages between the U.K. and New Zealand via Panama, using some of the largest passenger and cargo combination ocean liners ever built.
Outbound sailings from London mostly carried migrants settling in New Zealand, whereas on eastbound sailings there were tourists and reverse migrants along with the cargo holds filled with refrigerated lamb and related products. There were long layovers for cargo handling at the terminal ports.
The New Zealand Shipping Company's vessels were comfortable, homey one-class ocean liners operating on a leisurely schedule. Passengers aboard Rangitoto and Rangitane enjoyed a cocktail bar forward on A-Deck, adjoined by two lounges, a cinema, ballroom and a veranda cafe looking out on the swimming pool area. The layout on the smaller Ruahine was similar, but with some rooms serving dual purposes. The dining saloon on all ships was below on D-Deck.
Cabins ranged from singles or twin-bedded with private facilities to three, four and six berth with bathrooms down the hall. All passenger accommodations on Rangitoto, Rangitane and Ruahine were outside, sometimes with just a sliver of a view down a narrow hall space in the "bibby" cabins.
"Passengers will find that on board they will get service that is only available ashore at the most exclusive hotels. Good food, inexpensive drinks, hot sunshine, the swimming pool, deck games and entertainments will combine to make your trip on 'Rangitoto' and 'Rangitane' something to remember."
Built: 1949 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Newcastle, England
Built: 1950 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland
Built: 1951 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland