MATAROA. Owned by Ted Ward in the 1940s & 50s, photo taken in Matiatia in 1948 by Ken Ricketts. Possibly a Baileys boat, had a 6 Cyl Graymarine petrol engine. Not been seen for many a year – anyone able to advise her current status, location?
She appeals to me, looks as if she was fast.

Harold Kidd Update

MATAROA was built by Joe Slattery as KENYA for Len Heard of Parnell in 1928 with a 40/60 Ailsa Craig. So this pic is probably taken during Heard’s ownership ie 1938 or earlier. He sold her to  Seagar and replaced her with KENYA II built for him by Lidgard Bros and delivered in early 1940.

The RNZAF took her to Fiji in1943 for towing at Lauthala Bay and put a 6 cylinder Chrysler Crown in her as the Ailsa Craig was thought to be on its last legs and for spares rationalisation.

08-01-2015 Updated Info from Kevin and Jan Price.

We owned her for a few years after purchasing her from Maurice Reynolds (of Auckland Coast Guard). I believe she is now in Wellington.
She was originally names Kenya. She was nearly named Kenya Mist after a book title that was popular during her build, but the name was considered too long so shortened.
She was designed to fit into Len’s boat shed and had a droopy sheer line forward to fit under the door lintel, but it looked horrible and false works were built to improve her forward end appearance.
When Len Heard (Heard’s Barley Sugar) sold her to the Seagers, Len kept the name for his new bigger launch and the Seagers named her Mataroa after a much enjoyed cruise on the liner Mataroa.

She saw war service in Fiji as RNZAF No W71 and was employed in the construction of the Lauthala Bay breakwater to shelter the flying boats and also the metalling of airfield hard standing for warbirds. To achieve this she towed three barges totaling 90 tons. I was told that some of her trips down the Suva river fully loaded was sometimes a finally tuned effort to keep her lined up and thru the bridge. I was told her engine was only a 30hp Ailsa Craig at that time. Her Cox was a young 18 year old with a Fijian boat boy. Somewhere at home I have a tape recording of his wartime exploits.
Under her paint forward are scribed roundel circles.
Under that paint on the transom is the imprint of a brass bowsprit star received when towing a string of yachts home following the Suva annual Pacific yacht race.
She was offered back to the Seagers after the war. When they went to look at her at Herald Is she was not in good order and considered not taking her back, but did.

I think the engine was replaced by a Crown then later by a 90hp Ford wet sleeve by the Reynolds. 8knots at 1900rpm. (One day in a fit of exuberance I pushed the throttle to the wall and the GPS recorded 14knts)

After a mishap when an accompanying launch lost her steering and rammed Mataroa broadside amidships and split her open from deck to waterline she was run up on a nearby beach. The hull was propped out with an array of timber posts and she was motored back for repairs by matching the waterline wave curve with the bottom of the broken planking
She underwent repairs and refit. During this refit her rear house top was raised 4” and her vertical shaft steering column and flat “ bus drivers” wheel was replaced with the current more conventional setup. The round ports in the saloon where changed to oval for improved interior lighting. The saloon was relined with oak paneling. The overhead was lined in white Seratone as trying to maintain any sort of finish on the underside of the cedar deck was not possible due to it’s continuous movement. This refit was during the Renold’s time.

Under the forward cabin sole is/was a large admiralty anchor, possibly an original. Under the cockpit sole is/was a spare five blade prop.

1” Carvel Kauri.
Spotted gum ribs.
Possibly Pohutakawa stem.
Cedar deck / cabin tops for light weight.
Cedar sole floor boards screwed one Kauri floors.
No frames.
Mid and aft bulkheads removable, to allow engine to be taken out aft.
Log is kauri boxed and pitch filled.
Her capstan motor was an aircraft starter motor and reduction box that finally gave up the ghost when we owned her.
300trl copper diesel tank at the transom. Copper water tanks under cockpit seating.
No ballast.

That’s all for now. When I eventually get home ( we haven’t been home for seven years) I will look for some old photos I have tucked away.

Kevin and Jan Price.

14 thoughts on “Mataroa

  1. Hi Elaine,
    Very pleased to hear your version of events and to have the record put straight. The pictures of the
    reconstruction after she was stoved in are very useful for interior restoration.


  2. Thanks Elaine for the correction. Dad is selling Robyn Gae. She’s at Westhaven on a marina. I have logs of Robyn Gae adventures. If you want I will PDF them to you.


  3. Please note that the details regarding the accident when Mataroa was hit amidship are not quite correct. The boat that hit Mataroa did not lose its steering. Mataroa was not at anchor when hit. The waterline wave curve lowering at the site of the accident was noticed by my father when he opened up full throttle to get Mataroa out of the 90 feet of water which we were in when we were hit. I was on board at the time and saw everything happen – the other boat was about to come alongside and I watched it hit us at full throttle instead. We had the other boat owner’s daughter on board at the time and were about to transfer her back on board her father’s boat.

    The temp repairs with the posts, ply, tar cloth (I think) and lanolin were carried out on the beach at Smokehouse Bay. Mataroa was then motored back to Auckland during the night, with myself, my mother and my younger brother on board the boat that had hit us, with my older brother on Mataroa with Dad and the insurance assessor. It was a very long worry-filled night for all.

    Great to see such interest in a truly wonderful classic boat and in telling her story. Dad met all previous owners to him except for Len Heard, but met Len’s son.

    Elaine Reynolds
    Daughter of Maurice Reynolds, owner 1968-1994


  4. Hi Juliana, Elaine here…great that Mataroa and our fun times are so lovingly remembered. It’s also wonderful that Mataroa has been restored now.
    btw, Kevin married Topsy Wells, not Topsy Augustin.
    All the best,
    Elaine Reynolds


  5. Hi Alan,
    Just an update on Mataroa. She is now owned by myself and will receive a spruce up. Very pleased to get hold of a flushdecker.
    Regards Rob Uivel


  6. We, Robyn Gae crew (Turnwalds), and Mataroa crew (Reynolds) used to be Coast Guard launches and launch wardens. We attended the Atlantic 500 in 1973-ish and towed some boats back to Westhaven after they damaged themselves.
    We also used to meet up at Coromandel – Te Kouma Harbour, and had a race to write our vessels’ names in shells on the hill on the Southern side of Te Kouma.
    Kevin Reynolds married Topsy Augustin, Ron and Nancy Augustin’s daughter.
    I only remember Elaine Reynolds, not the other two siblings.
    Fun times with Reynolds and Mataroa.


  7. Further to Harold’s update at the top hereof the pic was not taken circa 1938 I took it myself in 1948 — have also just sent Alan another of her under way just leaving Matiatia — KEN RICKETTS


  8. MATAROA was built as KENYA for Len Heard by Joe Slattery at Judges Bay in 1928 with a 4 cylinder 40/60 Ailsa Craig. When Len was having KENYA II built by Lidgard Bros in 1938 he sold KENYA to Seagar who renamed her MATAROA. During WW2 she was taken over by the RNZAF for towing work at Lauthala Bay Fiji as W71 and fitted with a Chrysler Crown for spares rationalisation. On return to NZ she was purchased by Percy Ward who owned her until 1968 when Maurice Reynolds bought her. Kevin Price of Tauranga bought her in 1994 by when she had a 6cyl Ford diesel of course. Sold from Tauranga to Wellington, where I saw her recently.


  9. I saw her at Chaffers Marina in Wellington quite recently. I think she is in one of the old pix of assorted gatherings of boats if you look closely. Wards sold her and then bought “Little Tasman” in the ’60s.


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