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The two ships ran in partnership from 2 October 1913.Wahine was requisitioned for war service between 19, her place being taken by Mararoa.

Early in her service, Maori broke the record between Lyttelton and Wellington, making the passage from wharf to wharf in 8 hours, 23 minutes at an average speed of 20.8 knots on 27 December 1907.With a top speed of 22 knots, she made the fastest passage ever from Lyttelton to Wellington, 8 hours, 8 minutes with an average speed of 21.4 knots on 6 April 1939. Wright Collection In 1933, the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce suggested to the Union S. Company that the service be given the title "Steamer Express".The Company readily agreed and began to use the term immediately on its notice boards and publications.From 1920 until 1931, the service was maintained by Maori and Wahine with Mararoa acting as relief ship.Rangatira, a new turbo-electric vessel of 6,152grt built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-on-Furness, was launched on 16 April 1931 and sailed for New Zealand via Panama on 8 September 1931.

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