Latest News

April 2021

Our sailing season has come to an end! Many thanks to every single volunteer who works so hard to keep our beautiful piece of history alive.

We have had an incredible season and so grateful for the many people we got to take out into the harbour. Your support means the world to us.

We will now be spending the winter doing our maintence, heading into dry dock and continuing to keep the tug in ‘ship shape’ condition.

See you next season!

-January 2021 –

Our first public harbour cruise (PHC) will take place on Sunday January 24th, this will depart at 2.30pm and return to berth at 4pm.

PHC’s will continue every Sunday afternoon until & including Easter weekend. (Weather permitting)

Tickets MUST be booked online and there will be NO wharf sales this year,this ensures we have all contact details prior for contract tracing purposes, in line with the governments COVID-19 response. Thank you for your understanding in this.

Look forward to having you on board!

May 2020 – Due to COVID-19 our sailing season was cut short by a few weeks, apologies to those who missed out on booked cruises! We look forward to having you on board next season.

As we head into winter we are kept busy maintaining our old girl. Our amazing volunteers continue through the cold months once a week on board ensuring everything is kept ship shape for when we cruise again the summer. This year we will also spend some time in the dry dock. Look out of our social media pages for some photos, it is always impressive seeing her in there!

Thanks so much for all your support, we couldn’t do it without you!



In response to the current situation around COVID-19 we will NO LONGER be running our public harbour cruises and charters until it is safe again to do so.

We wish to thank you for your amazing support as we headed back out on the harbour this season!

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Till then, wash your hands and keep safe!


Our Sunday Public Harbour Cruises finish for the 2019/2020 season on SUNDAY 19th APRIL.

Head to tickets to secure your spot today!



Head to ‘tickets’ to secure your spot today!

Please note that there is NO EFTPOS on board so bring cash for the souvenir & snack shop!

Online bookings close at 9pm on the Wednesday prior to the sailing. After that, a limited amount of tickets will be available the day of sailing. These will be on sale 45mins prior to departure down at the tug. Please note, CASH ONLY at wharf.

Book online early to avoid disappointment!

October 2019

A massive THANK YOU to the ‘Canterbury/Westland Founders Inc Society’ who have, this week, have donated a very generous sum to the society.

One of our incredible volunteers, Mike Bruce received the cheque on behalf of our society.

We are very thankful for groups like these who see the value in keeping our piece of unique history alive ⚓️ Thanks again!

Take a look at their website to see what they are all about.

September 2019

Historic Lyttelton tug gains funds to stay shipshape

New Zealand’s oldest operational steamship, based in Lyttelton since 1907, has been thrown a funding lifeline by a Christchurch City Council committee.

At a meeting today, the Social, Community Development and Housing Committee agreed to give the Tug Lyttelton Preservation Society a grant of $41,620 towards conservation and maintenance work on the 112-year-old tug, including dry docking fees.

Committee Chairman Phil Clearwater says the Lyttelton has historical and social significance and its retention and repair is worthy of support.

“This is a much-loved piece of local history and a wonderful piece of craftsmanship that’s very accessible to the public as a passenger boat and tourist attraction.

“The society’s volunteers have done a wonderful job of keeping it shipshape and we’re happy to offer some support to help keep the tug in action.”

It is the first Heritage Incentive Grant made under new guidelines that provide funding for ‘significant moveable heritage’.

The society has also recently received a $10,000 grant from the Council’s Metropolitan Discretionary Response Grant fund.

For several decades the Lyttelton helped ships get safely in and out of the harbour. On 1 January 1908 she escorted Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod to Lyttelton Heads with locals crowding the surrounding hills to watch.

The tug was retired from service in 1971 but since then has forged a new career as a passenger steamer taking people on cruises around Lyttelton Harbour and on charter trips.

The ship’s boilers recently needed repairs which have taken it out of service for the last two summer sailing seasons. It now has to go into dry dock before it can return to operation as a passenger vessel and the Tug Lyttelton Preservation Society, whose members voluntarily keep the tug in full working order, has asked for funding.

Society Board Member Roger Ellery welcomed the grant which he says will help keep the tug operational. “We’ve put in hundreds of voluntary hours to preserve the tug which really is a piece of living history. But it’s also an interesting, unique tourist attraction that’s of great benefit to Christchurch.

“We really want to become financially sustainable in the long term and, along with our other fundraising, this grant is a step in that direction.”

July 2019

Great news for the harbour! Click on the link below and see what’s planned. This is going to bring so many people to Lyttelton ⚓️

This month we have also had an article publish in the local ‘Business South’ magazine. The link is below and you will find us on page 4 & 5 🙂

June 2019

A few months ago we put a call out for a graphic designer on our Facebook page and wow we were blown away with the responses! Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to us. What a generous bunch of people you are.

We would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Margot from Spruce Design + Marketing who has been so generous with her time, skills and resources and has blown away with what she has created for us!

Margot, thank you for taking the time with us, guiding us through different processes, offering advice and helping us with some new branding, you have exceeded all of our expectations!

We can’t wait to show you all what we have been working on!

If you are after any design and branding work Margot is who you need! Check out her Facebook page or website here

April 2019


We have regained our passenger licence!!

Over the last few years, legislation to operate a passenger vessel has changed, so it has meant an overhaul of our safe ship management systems. This is no small job on a ‘normal ship’ let alone a 112 steam ship! Thanks to our team of dedicated volunteers, this has now all been signed off by Maritime NZ.

So where to from here?

Easter is normally the end of our sailing season, so we will head into winter to finish tidying up the tug ready for sailing. In the next few months we will return to dry dock for a clean down of the hull and fresh coat of paint, so we can hit the ground running for the 2019-2020 year. (Sailing season for Oct-April)

We would like to thank all our supporters for their help over the years, especially to our volunteers who had put in thousands of hours of work in so we would see the old girl back on the water again. This honestly would not of happened without you.

Keep an eye on our page for further updates, fundraisers, ways you can help and special giveaways!

We look forward to having you on all board THIS year!



March 2018 // Its been a busy week on the tug! The safety valves have been overhauled by Lyttelton Engineering, and were refitted to the boiler. Stark Brothers have modified our gangway to make access much easier and the funnel cap has been removed. On Sunday for the first time in almost 3 years a fire was set in the boiler and the process of heating the boiler was started! This week we will get steam pressure up and turn the engines over and run the deck equipment. We are not there yet, but it is a massive step forward towards sailing again!

Jan 2018 // Unfortunately there has been a hold up with the last of the repairs and therefore we can not sail this season. Our tug is available for venue hire, tied up at the wharf if you are looking for somewhere unique to hold your function. Please get in touch and chat. 

Thank you for your patience and on going support! 

The Tug Lyttelton is undergoing extended maintenance and will not be operating until Summer 2017/2018

October 2017 // Awesome article on Newshub as we head into dry dock!

September 2017 //We have set up a give a little page to help us keep this piece of history afloat. Here’s the link if you would like to suppport us!

August 2017 // Great article published in the ‘Canterbury Mail’ have a read!–the-group-saving-lyttelton-the-110yearold-steam-tug