This slideshow requires JavaScript.


words & photos from Dennis Christopher

‘Sierra’ is a general purpose workboat, designed and built by Joseph Fell of Kohukohu (Hokianga Harbour) & launched 3 May 1917. She is planked with two skins of Kauri over steam bent frames. Powered by a 120hp Ford Lees with a 2:1 twin disc gearbox. L – 42’6”, B – 11’2”, D – 3’6”.

Like most workboats, she has a very interesting history. She was built for Hokianga traders A. S. Andrews & Sons who had six stores dotted around the harbor. She carried passengers, general freight and was the official mail boat. Later on in her life she worked on the Auckland Harbour doing light towing duties and transporting men to and from the Bridge construction project. She also did general work and towing duties on the Manukau at the Glenbrook Steel Mill gas pilings.

“Sierra’s” days of hard work are over and she is now owned and cared for by Dennis Christopher of Panmure. “Sierra” is a regular competitor in the annual Tug boat race and parade on Auckland Anniversary Day and she won the Parry Trophy for the best presented retired vessel in 2009. A fitting tribute of how a piece of maritime history can be preserved and enjoyed.


4 thoughts on “Sierra

  1. Pingback: Sierra – A Peek Down Below | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. I came across this article while working on my family history. Just a reminder that it wasn’t all smooth sailing on the Hokianga Harbour. May 17 1924
    WASHED OVERBOARD. LAUNCH HAND DROWNED. FATALITY IN THE NORTH. [by TELEGRAPH. —OWN CORRESPONDENT] KAIKOHE. Monday.An assistant on the launch Sierra, Henry Williams, was washed overboard and drowned in the Hokianga River on Saturday at 6.30 p.m. The launch was carrying mails and passengers from Kohukohu to Rawene. There was a heavy sea running and when passing through the Narrows the launch was caught by a wave and William’s was washed overboard. As he was being carried away he grasped one of the rope cleats, but it came away in his hands. He then disappeared. The body has not been recovered. Mr. Williams was well, known in the district and came from Motuharore, where he leaves a wife and family – New Zealand Herald, 20 May 1924


  3. My grandfather worked for A S Andrewes (note the “e”) and was on it a lot, my father remembered. Also the wife of a friend of mine was born on the Sierra, beteen Rawene and Kohukohu.
    Lastly, it was my father’s connections that decided him to name his kauri 50 foot yacht “Northerner”

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s