Waihape – Johnny Wray?

WAIHAPE

WAIHAPE

colour photos ex Dean Wright – info ex Ken Ricketts

b/w photo ex Harold Kidd ex Keith Munro

Ken thinks Waihape was the last boat Johnny Wray built in the later 1940s > early 1950s. He lived on her for many years, based at Surfdale, Waiheke, although he did sail around NZ & the Pacific in her fairly extensively. She had a fairly distinctive aft wheelhouse/doghouse which instantly “clicked” when he saw Dean’s photo.

Ken is certain he recalls seeing her in the mud at Surfdale on the L.H.S side of the bay coming in from the sea. There is even a mention of her in a write up “fun map” of Waiheke on a website Ken discovered.

Can anyone confirm this was in fact Johnny Wray’s last boat?

Harold Kidd Update

She certainly looks like the 44 footer WAIHAPE which Johnny Wray launched in December 1948, the last big boat he built. He put some unusual features into her. From his RNZAF experience she was fitted out with an aircraft-type control panel and had twin engines, small Kelvins I think. She took him to Tonga and back a couple of times and had a fair spread of sail.

14-05-2016 – A message from Helen Lee
My name is Helen Lee and as a teenager I had several cruises on Waihape with Johnny Wray, my parents Cynthia and Jerry Wilcox, my brother Michael Wilcox and once with my cousin Mike Lambert.
I have wonderful memories of these trips [early1960’s] and a few treasured photos. I realized when i saw the ww photos of Waihape that mine are all taken on the boat, not ‘of ‘ the boat. However you may like to see them.
Johnny was a long time friend of my Dad’s as they were both living in Lucerne Road as young men and Dad had worked with Johnny when he was building his first boat, Ngataki.
The photo below taken at Mansion House, Kawau Island, is Johnny trying to look like the coconut he is holding.

Johanny Wray @ Mansion House

16 thoughts on “Waihape – Johnny Wray?

  1. I can confirm both the picture and the engines being Lister’s in a one centre one wing configuration I went onboard the boat many times.

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  2. Johnny used to cut all his firewood on the barrier and then transport it back to Putiki bay. Waihape wasn’t his last boat early 70’s he was building a large launch in his shed at Putiki bay and my guess is that it was still in the shed when he got sick.

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  3. Saw her on the mud at Rawene on Thursday – now the hull is white – with a well weathered bamboo frame erected to take covers (presumably part of the intended restoration) but all of the land-side cabin windows are broken, the rudder and prop-shaft are missing, and there’s no sign of any recent work. Hopefully she won’t go the way of the rotting bilge-keeler (Variant?) sitting in the mud alongside.

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  4. WAIHAPE — A CORRECTION. — Have just spoken again to Artie Laven again,as after thinking about WAIHAPE’S engines, my recall had always been Listers, even though I had initially followed Harold’s line on this, in this post, (because he’s usually right), however thought I wold confirm for sure, & Artie tells me she had 1 x twin cyl Lister as a main engine & a single cyl Lister as a wing motor. Both were factory marine engines & both the same series & model — so there we have it — I’d always thought they were 2 the same with one each side — we live & learn — KEN RICKETTS

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  5. A NEW CHAPTER FOR THE WAIHAPE STORY;

    Was talking to the second owner of the WAIHAPE, Artie Laven, a long time Greet Barrier resident, a little while ago, who told me he knew Johnny W. very well, & was a close friend, for many years, & was asked by Johnny W., to be her second custodian, when Johnny became unwell & it became clear to him that his days of owning her were coming to an end in the mid 1980s., so Artie bought her off him, a couple of year before Johnny W died, & owned her for the next 20 years approximately, until about 2005, during which time, he replaced the original 2 Kelvin Diesels with one 3LW Gardiner diesel.
    He sold her in approximately 2005 to his son Johan, who retained her until approx. 2012. During his time, he took her by road, to Hokianga.
    She is apparently now undergoing a major refit in the Rawene area of the Far North, by 2 gentlemen who own her in a partnership. — KEN RICKETTS

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  6. Sorry, I must have got that wrong. Perhaps my informant, a part owner, said “half-sunk”, and Chinese whispers did the rest.
    Definite signs of progress on Waihape, last time I went past.

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  7. Waihape is a leaking boat, but never has sunk. All the best for her new life and new owners. She’s done lots of miles since her last major refit in 1986.

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  8. Just (5mins ago) seen her in Hokianga. Was sunk, but now got enthusiastic new owners. Been re-caulked, ready for major, major re-fit, watch this space.

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  9. I last saw her at port fitzroy about eight years ago up the southern most estuary on a mooring .
    maybe she is still there?
    Dave Giddens

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  10. That is Johnny old boat alright. Was painted light Blue for many years and lived in Putiki bay. I remember seeing Waihape up Wairahe in shallow water when Johnny was still alive. She only draws a meter or so.

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  11. Didn’t realise that he took her offshore, she certainly used to visit St Heliers on occasion where he had a friend, the last I saw of her –Arty from the Barrier had her after selling his Seabird, and she used to visit Pine/Herald island for a time.

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  12. She certainly looks like the 44 footer WAIHAPE which Johnny Wray launched in December 1948, the last big boat he built. He put some unusual features into her. From his RNZAF experience she was fitted out with an aircraft-type control panel and had twin engines, small Kelvins I think. She took him to Tonga and back a couple of times and had a fair spread of sail.

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