Photos before & after refit ex Alan H, details & older sedan top photo ex current owner.

Awatere 32′ & surprisingly given her classic looks was built in 1980 by Claude Greenwood a boat builder at Whangateau (Leigh) for Mr Arcus who was at that time the ARA (Auckland Regional Authority) Chief Ranger for the Gulf Harbour region. He wanted a reasonably beamy comfortable launch for family cruising. He wanted practical and pretty and Awatere is both.
Her hull was made from a single kauri tree which was, according to anecdotal evidence, one of the last milled by the Whangarei Timber Company and people have mentioned that her lines are similar to some launches built by a Whangarei boat building company. After Arcus, she was for a while in Whangamata (hence the game poles) and shifted to Auckland around 1998.
The cabin sides are teak and she was originally built as a sedan top (refer photo above). The fly bridge was put on, probably in the early 90’s  by Geoff Bagnell, boat-builder of Milford.
She was re-engined by current owner in the late 1990’s and is currently powered by a 135 HP Ford Dover diesel (Moon Engines). Double berth up forward with two single amidships in the main cabin.
In 2013 Awatere underwent an extensive re-fit & included a back to bare wood paint / Uroxsys treatment, she was also re-propped & now cruises at around 10 Knots.

Note: there is comment on ww that Peter Arcus actually built Awatere himself , any info / photos on her past would be great & maybe we can clarify the builder / location issue. Correction – from Nathan Herbert – My wires are crossed. It was his yacht Egret which he built at farm. The wharf photo is at the farm though. Ive seen a photo of the launch new on farm which is what mucked me up

Builders Plate (ex the owner Geoff Steven)


05-01-2015 Pam at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard sent me the 1/2 model photo below – could this be of Awatere ??

15-11-2017 UPDATE

Updated details on Awatere below. Written by Peter Arcus via Judy Turnbull.

“AWATERE was completely designed by myself.

I wanted a boat that would tow a barge (for transporting cattle) between Tiri Island and Whangaparaoa and that was also a good cruising launch and I wanted the construction to be strip plank concave/convex.

I consulted an expert, Howard Greenwood, (a boatbuilder whose yard was on the Whangateau estuary) and the hull was subsequently built by Greenwoods.  There was a curve built into the bilge shape that was an experiment put forward by Howard Greenwood.   By looking at the hull you can actually see the curvature that acted in the manner of a trim tab but was actually built into the hull.  The water flow under the boat gave it the desired effect.

Kauri was hard to get.  Bob Herman (Whangarei Timber Company) was a comrade from my Airforce days and we went down to the Mill in Whangarei to ask if he had any spare Kauri and I was lucky to get some beautiful timber.

When the hull was built Howard Greenwood commented that she may need a bit of ballast forward and I queried what to use. Howard said you’ve got it right there on Tiri, small flat rocks sealed between two floors – It will stay clean, you will never have to wash it.  It was placed up in the shoulders of the hull, the powerful part of the boat and she was beautifully balanced.  After completion the hull was towed by the “Pacific” to Hobbs’ Flat (now the site of Gulf Harbour Marina) and then towed overland by tractor up to the farm homestead where she was finished off by myself under a covered area.

She was powered by a 100hp Fordson installed by Eric Glavish, an Engineer from Helensvile.  The engine was completely dismantled and rebalanced and she ran like clockwork with a cruising speed of 10 knots and did 14 knots opened up.

She was launched in 1980.  An entry on the website states that at the time the boat was built I was the ARA Chief Ranger for the Gulf Harbour region.  That statement is incorrect.  I was the Farm Manager of the Hobbs Estate at Whangaparaoa prior to its sale in 1972.

The 1st photo in the article was taken just prior to Awatere being sold to Ian Boocock.”

22 thoughts on “Awatere

  1. Pam, the owner of the Greenwood launch I crewed on was Colin Gordon who lived at 47 Riverside Drive, Point Wells.


  2. Martin that’s great to hear. Next time you are at his workshop slip a tape recorder in your pocket and ask him questions regarding the happenings and boats built at the boat yard. I have asked him to write up some of the history and he cringes at the thought of sitting long enough to have to do so. I think he had always thought it all irrelevant. I have an address for Howard and shall try to get Howard himself on board.
    Do you know the ford agent from Welsford or the bloke and his boat that took Harold fishing for Hapuka, as above?
    Thankyou Alan this is a big plus for the old Whangateau boat yard.


  3. Andrew Hamilton remembers Awatere from when he worked for Howard Greenwood, they built her to hull and deck stage. She was launched and towed away with a plug in the stern tube by either Olympic or Olympia to be completed by Arcus. Andrew has a wealth of information on this builder and the area.


  4. Family tell me hull built at Ti point, lining and cabin at farm Whangaparaoa. I see Kotanui in the background on her mooring, wonder if her coamings were of inspiration in the design?


  5. Yes Harold, I had made a note of it. Love the idea of catching a Hapuka but in ideal conditions.We are itching to get out to the Barrier again.
    I was thinking that Frank was running an engineering business in Welsford and may well know the gentle mans name. He follows the blog but they live very active life’s so may miss this entry, he’s an easy contact, Howard shall take a little time to find. Oh well back to work I’m about to reset the glass in to Wennas (Rangitira) butterfly hatch. It is probably not in period I’m sure but too nice to leave off her. Shall let you know… Pam


  6. Pam, Ask him about the boat I mentioned above. I have forgotten the boat’s name (if it had one) and the owner’s name and would be keen to know. He was a hard case who had obviously run a successful Ford agency in Wellsford. He had developed cancer and needed someone to help with the boat. He scared me silly with what he got up to off Little Barrier in the name of catching as many hapuka as he could before he ran out of steam. The boat handled the conditions well and the V8 never missed a beat, sitting in the middle of the boat without any cover. My father was running a Ford V8 coupe at the time so it was just like home.


  7. Story goes Howard made models of his launches and took them out to the creek behind the boat shed to test them. We have thankfully seen the return of a lot of his half models, given to the boat yard by Mrs Flay and some also from Nick O’ Connor.
    Howard has since visited the boat yard, on introducing himself he said I had looked at him like I was seeing a ghost. I shall hunt out his address, details, maybe he can resolve this. Pam


  8. Howard Greenwood like Owen Woolley was a skilful launch designer – who knew how to keep them economical as well, witness Cape Sounion . He was a loss when he disappeared suddenly to Australia. This Awatere certainly has the look of some of the Orams launches about her too.


  9. My knowledge is limited, bit naughty or lazy of me realy, but perhaps you went fishing on Tripper or Makura. Frank had his boat built here at the yard. The family had a caravan to the side of the boat shed that they stayed in for short periods and helped with the build. I have asked Frank to write the story up which I’m sure given time he shall do.


  10. There are yards and yards of AWATEREs. AWATERE = fast-flowing stream or “flying water” and it rolls off the tongue well.
    Claude Greenwood was building at Whangateau in the early 50s eg EMELDA for T C Dawson of Warkworth in 1952.
    He seems to have shifted to Sandspit by 1966 when he built eg the H28 KOTIRO for Frank Emtage or maybe he built in both places?
    There’s not much written about the Greenwoods. From the look of this AWATERE there should be.
    I used to go out hapuka fishing off Little Barrier from Point Wells as a youngster in a roughish strip-planked V8-powered Greenwood-built launch (which I don’t think had a name) from Point Wells c1955 with its owner, then the Wellsford Ford agent. Hairy stuff in the middle of the night in a blow.


  11. She does look very nice. I like the look of the mast and timber cap on her rail in the previous photo.
    We have no reference to her here, at the boat yard, in our meager records. Perhaps Andrew Hamilton could share some light, not sure if he has discovered the blog as yet, he served his time here under Cluade and Howard Greenwood. I think steel boats were being built here at the time of the building of Awatere. Or Mr Flay was operating from here.
    What do you think Russell?
    George’s family’s (Emtage) 26ft mullety was another Awatere. Pam.


  12. My wires are crossed. It was his yacht Egret which he built at farm. The wharf photo is at the farm though. Ive seen a photo of the launch new on farm which is what mucked me up


  13. Ken
    Time to climb down off your hobby horse – you have raised your personal view on this issue here numerous times. The reality is people can call a boat, a child, a pet – any name they like.
    Time to accept that the majority of people do not share your view on this & your other hobby horse that people should not change a vessels name.

    ps and checking your spelling before posting would be good – AWTWERE ?????, people reading your reply would wonder what you are on about & most likely not make it to bottom where you spelt it correctly 😦

    pps if you really want to get upset – google search how many boats in the world are called ‘Island Time’ or ‘Serenity’


  14. Lovely boat, very classic lines, — however it’s a shame that people can’t decide on original names this has to be at least AWTWERE (III???) that I know of, & there are sure to be more. Arthur (Bluey) Inness had Mc Geady build him a bridgedecker in the later 40s or early 50s, (I have a pic) & there is also a sedan top 34-36 footer originally built by the late Major, (Christian name), Bailey, in the mid 1950s for himself, he called FLOLAINE later renamed AWATERE, & now this one. — Perhaps others will add to the list — KEN RICKETTS


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