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Wellington harbourmaster Grant Nalder said the hole above the waterline in the Kaiarahi ferry "looks quite dramatic".
"You can actually see through to the other side of the ship."
Nalder said the Kaiarahi was damaged during its 10pm berthing on Sunday night.
It comes after a Bluebridge ferry had to turn back last week after it hit a wharf as it was leaving Wellington, causing a dent and a small hole to form in the hull.