photos ex Allen family & Ken Ricketts (+ details) edited by Alan H

Wairuama was possibly built by A. Couldrey c.1936 -38.  During the 1940-50’s she was owned by Ted Ward (brother to Perc. Ward of Mataroa). Originally powered by a petrol engine (possibly a Kermath), now no-doubt long since replaced with a diesel.

Anyone able to fill in the gaps of her post 1950 history?

note: the earlier 1946 photo is from the Allen (Tiromoana) collection. The 1948 photo was taken by KR c1948 in Mansion House Bay

Update – addition photos below

30/11/2014 – A more recent (Jan 2010) photo

17/12/2014 – 4 photo ex Harold Kidd from Roland Lennox-King of WAIRUAMA. click to enlarge

05-06-2016 Update ex Ken Ricketts
Photos below of her hauled out at Gulf Harbour. KR spotted that she has had a wing motor at some time, in the photos below you can see a shaft log still in place blanked off, on the port side.
She is presently owned by a Jim ‘somebody’ ??.

11-06-2016 Update
photos below & details ex current owner(via Ken Ricketts) edited by Alan H

Presently owned by Dick & Val Richards of Red Beach, who have owned her since c.1975/76. They bought her off a Mt Roskill builder by the name of Huggins who was an  avid fisherman & kept her at Ti Point. The Richards believe Huggins owned her for a number of years, however there is evidence that she may have lived at Waikeke Island at one time, because of gas bottles with Waiheke addresses on them & other notes relating to Waiheke. These references would almost certainly have been before the Huggins era. These days she lives at Gulf Harbour.

When the Richards bought her, she had a 4 cyl Ford diesel with a side exhaust. They replaced this with a privately* marinised 6 cyl 150 Hp Isuzu diesel, mid 1991 — (* Lou Shilton, an engineer & friend, did the conversion) at this time they also moved the exhaust to the tuck. Lou Shilton’s son, Jim, currently helps the elderly Richards with the day to day care of Wairuama.

We now know most of her history, except for a period from the early 1960s, to perhaps around 1970ish, any woodys able to fill that gap & possibly comment on the Waiheke connection?

100_0188 (2)

13-10-2017 Update – 4sale terrible listing. photos below


23 thoughts on “Wairuama

  1. Are you able to correct the reference to Higgins (the Mt. Roskill builder) to Huggins….(I am his son and only just found out about this website yesterday and found the boat this morning – awesome)


  2. One image of WAIRUAMA Lennox-King contributions, appears to have a dry exhaust in front of the mast at the rear end of the bridgedeck which may have been installed by him, as she didn’t have up until I took the 1948 pic., & when I knew her during that period,
    It has disappeared in later photos , & she now has a stern exhaust on the port side of the tuck. — KEN R


  3. I was one of the 6 man crew on Wairuama during the war when she was in the NAPS number Z14 as a part time patrol boat ( a naval version of the Home Guard) She was owned by Ray Millar and I believe she was a Logan hull and finished off by Millar, which seems to be confirmed in the upper works which appear to be amateur built. Like all owners of NAPS boats, Millar had the rank of petty officer and ourselves as ordinary seamen. We would patrol the approaches to Auckland Harbour every 6th night from 6 pm to 6 am. She did indeed have a Kermath petrol engine. Our armament consisted of small depth charges, one Bren Gun an Aldis signalling lamp a Very pistol and semaphore flags. She had a top speed of 8 knots.
    Jim Young


  4. I am following this with great enthusiasm — very exciting & interesting — keep up the good work chaps — KEN R


  5. I have spoken to Roland Lennox-King, a son of Gilbert Lennox-King who owned WAIRUAMA long term from 1953. He doesn’t know who built her but confirms that she was built in 1938 as stated in “New Zealand Naval Vessels”. He’s very interested in helping find out and is sending me some images of her from the 1950s which I’ll post. The key to the puzzle is who built her for W.R. Miller?


  6. Looks a little like those Shipbuilders bridgedeckers in the later pic – but too low and sleek in the earlier ones?


  7. Hmm all I can think is perhaps Lidgard if nothing else? Doesn’t ‘look’ like a rebuild of an old boat like Stan Parkers old boat etc


  8. I agree with you on the “Dick Lang look” In this day & age, & with hat I know now, I would have queried what I was told as fact at that time, but have always taken it as gospel, as above.. — Perhaps we will never know who did actually create her — KEN R.


  9. Ken,
    The “non-Couldrey” bit came from Couldrey. I can’t fit her into any other boat he built. He kept tabs on every boat he built and amended his list of boats with new owners and name-changes up until his death. WAIRUAMA just ain’t there and I doubt if he forgot he built her.
    In 1938 he built WAIRIKI and TIROMOANA.
    So what’s more persuasive, anecdote of the sort you keep on trotting out, or hard primary evidence?
    Your choice Ken.


  10. Ken, you are so lucky that we live in the digital age, if you were typing the above using a typewriter, so would be poor, given the ribbons you would use. You could have said the same in a lot less words (see below) Now there is an idea, we could put a word limit on you 🙂

    “The “Couldrey” bit, came from frequent overheard discussions during the 1940’s between my father & Henry Allen who believed she was from the same stable as TIROMOANA, Henry’s boat. In their minds, rightly or wrongly she was a Couldrey”


  11. The “Couldrey” bit, came to me, as a part of fairly frequent discussions, between my father Ralph Ricketts, & Henry Allen, in the mid 1940s, who discussed her on the basis of her being, without doubt, & as a matter of established fact, that she from the same stable, & of the same era, as TIROMOANA, Henry’s boat, & they were trying to find, or agree, on similarities. There was no doubt in theirs minds, rightly or wrongly, that she was indeed from the Couldrey stable. In as much, as she was, at that time, fairly new, & Wards probably only the second owners, & Henry obviously knowing the Millers, by the number of early pics he took of her, probably pre WWII, or immediately after, I have always tended to believe they were right. — KEN R


  12. Sorry I got the Wards the wrong way around — have always got them mixed up all my life — it was obviously Ted who owned MATAROA & Miller rings a very loud bell for me as original owner — great to have it recalled. — KEN R


  13. I have problems with this provenance.
    1. She’s not on Bill Couldrey’s list of designed or built boats and I can’t fit her into a name-changed Couldrey. His list was constantly updated almost until his death. So I reckon she is yet another :”ghost” Couldrey.
    2. However, I can’t ascribe a builder/designer to her.
    3. She first appears as the 36ft x 9ft3in WAIRUAMA (sometimes WAIRUANA) in 1942 when she was in NAPS at Auckland as Z14, with an anonymous “84hp” engine, probably her Kermath, owned and skippered by W.R. Miller and with a build date of “1938”. I suspect that she was built for Miller but may have had a name-change early in life.
    4. From 1945 to 1953 she is owned by Percy Ward (not Ted Ward) with a 65 Kermath.
    5. From 1954 to 1960 (at least) she is owned by G.H. Lennox-King of Entrican Ave with the same engine.
    6. I saw her at Gulf Harbour a few years ago but can’t find my images of her due to a spring clean which has resulted in chaos.
    7. If I was backed into a corner, I would ascribe her to Dick Lang.

    So there are some issues to resolve here. Nathan, into the breach!


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