With ww I try to plan the posts a few days in advance, well yesterday Harold Kidd turned my schedule upside down when he sent in the above photo of Wenna. Earlier this week,
Harold was the recipient (on loan) of a photo album from Margaret Field of the O’Neill* family. One of the photos was the stunning one of Wenna above.

Wenna was recently purchased as  Rangitira & renovated by Pam  Gundy at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard (launch day photo below)

*Eric O’Neill arrived in NZ with his family just after WW1 and lived in Ring Terrace, just above St. Mary’s Bay & Wenna was built for him around 1925. Given his residence, most likely by a St. Mary’s Bay builder, the options being Collings & Bell, Leon Warne, Dick Lang (or Sam Ford who took over Lang’s yard in 1923 and used Ford’s moulds until 1924 when Lang returned).
Now two days ago I was sent a photo of Marua (below), by Dave Jackson via Adrienne, Dave’s father, (David Jackson Snr) was one of the owners of the Marua c.1955-56. Dave commented that Marua & Wenna were very similar in design, with Marua being built in 1915 for E. McKeown by Peter A. Smith who was an engine supplier and contracted out his hulls to St Mary’s Bay builders. Harold would pick Dick Lang as the builder of Marua’s hull, not Leon Warne who was still with Collings & Bell in 1915. It’s likely that Dick (or Sam Ford possibly) built Wenna too. Marua was a total loss as a result of the fire that destroyed the Baileys yard.

There’s always the possibility that Collings & Bell built both boats but Harold does not think they did much (if any) work for Peter A. Smith as they were more interested in selling their own brands of marine engines where the greater profit margin lay and weren’t short of their own orders.

All of the above aside – both Marua and Wenna are best described as typical St. Mary’s Bay – built launches of the period.

Note – when Pam’s partner George (Emtage) saw Margaret Field’s photo of Wenna, he starting looking for his chainsaw – he liked what Harold described as the slinky look – so do I.

Pam on the other hand is happy with Wennna’s tram-top, which according to Dave Jackson was built by Cyril Freeman of Ponsonby. He was working for Shipbuilders at the time, but this job was a ‘homer’. This was during the late 1940’s maybe even the early 1950’s.


 WENNA (Rangitira) 2014

07/11/14 – photo of Wenna ex Harld Kidd ex Bob Wiley


15 thoughts on “Wenna

  1. Pingback: WENNA (Rangitira) | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  2. Nathan, where did you find this?
    That’s her alright, looks to be leaving mansion house bay.
    Once you know her, you can pick that fine bow and the shadow that is often cast over her seemingly concave bow.
    She looks to be in great form.


  3. A rapid ring around Cobweb Corner has come up with the consensus that you may, Pam.
    No precedent however is established by this decision as it it is based entirely on the facts peculiar to this case….and because you are a rattling good sort.


  4. As a baby launch man I wonder if anyone knows what became of Marama the Kohi yacht club patrol boat from the sixties till early seventies ? Used to live on a swing mooring off Kohi about 20 something feet long from memory.


  5. Realy pleased for ‘Slinky’, as Alan said Harold has a new name for Wenna due to the new photo showing her old long low profile? I assume : )
    Many thanks to Harold the detective, and to all the folk involved in piecing her story together. The blog is realy doing these old girls a favor Alan. She was losing her identity as she moved from hand to hand.
    I felt I could do a little to help her that’s why I took her on.
    Focus next year shall be inside : Restoring some bulkheads and furniture to that of the period she was built and looking after her old timbers. And just keeping her operational in general.
    She has already proven she is charmed at delivering fish for dinner for us. Harold can perhaps expand on this one day for us… He has other photos.
    So that’s her sorted we have another two mystery boats in the yard here Alan. Maybe you might put up for us….


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