Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 6. April 9, 1968
Sludge — Inter-Island Ferry Pregnant!
Inter-Island Ferry Pregnant!
Well the ship's doctor has checked and now it is official. The "Maori" is definitely pregnant.
The first inkling that the Union Steamship Company had that something strange had happened was when the "Wahine" suddenly and inexplicably disappeared from its moorings. Then Gus Plankton (who trained the two ships) noticed that the "Maori" was no longer discharging the small quantities of oil as had been her wont. Remembering that the two ships had been inadvertently moored together during a recent spell of rough weather Gus put two and two together and ordered the ferry into dry dock for a medical examination which confirmed his worst fears.
There were tears in his eyes as he spoke to me last night. "I told them" he sobbed, "but they wouldn't listen. They should never have entertained the idea of a roll-on roll-off ferry in the first place. Now that other flamin' smart alec has rolled on and rolled off and I doubt that we'll be seeing him again. But My 'Maori' I still can't believe it. She was a real nice kid until they decided to send her to Hong Kong. Giving her big ideas an' all. They were supposed to fit one of them things into her to protect her but they mustn't have. If that's their idea of a practical joke. . . . I'd like to get my hand on the little yellow swines".
From these statements it is easy to see why Gus was dragged screaming from the dry-dock at two o'clock this morning after having (in the terms used by the police sergeant) "tried to have a go with an oxyacetylene torch". He will appear in the Magistrate's Court next week on the epoch-making charge of "attempting to abort a ship".
As I stand here now in the shipyard watching the painters changing the "Maoris" plimsoll line to a Plunket line I can only see in my mind's eye a cute new ferry taking its first uncertain lurch towards Somes Island and hear the whirring of tiny propellers.
However, lest any South Island commuters should fear for the other two ferries, here is the last word from a Railways' spokesman. "The Aras can do what they bloody well like, they're sister-ships anyway".