Premier lays a solid foundation

Steamer ship Tutanekai laid some of the Foveaux Strait cable. Photos: Awarua Communications Museum

ACTING Premier, Sir Joseph Ward, took the opportunity in his capacity as Post Master-General, to help his home province of Southland when he ordered the Foveaux Strait cable be laid.

In Wellington on June 5, 1902, a cable was loaded on the Government cable-laying steamer Tutanekai and by June 11, 20 knots (37km) of new cable had been laid.

Landing sheds had also been built at Ocean Beach, near Bluff, and Lee Bay, on Stewart Island, land lines had been erected to Bluff and Halfmoon Bay and the first telegram was sent.

The 6.35cm diameter cable contained one pair of wires and cost 4000.

In June, 1945, a three-pair, second-hand cable was laid by Government ship Mataifrom Oreti Beach to Lee Bay. The cable had been previously used across Cook Strait.

  • See more at the Awarua Communications Museum, open Sundays, 1pm to 4pm.