photo & details from John Baird

Kokoru was designed & built by Jack Morgan in Picton in 1960. Her first owner being Russell McKay who was a local Wellington car dealer in the 1960’s. John Baird has owned her since 2000 & understands there were 6 vessels in the fleet with Kokoru being the last. Two others in existence that John is aware of are Hawaiki in Picton and Corrina in Havelock.

One of Kokoru’s claims to fame is that she was a Wahine boat – Russell McKay had sold her to a George Mulligan but not before she had been put to the test on ‘Wahine day’. Although she made one or more effective rescues she was rolled on her beam ends when hit by a monster wave and miraculously self-righted. The force ripped one of the motors from its bed and she limped back to port while taking water through the now open seacock. The complete story is reported in Radiator Magazine of the time and hopefully John will supply a copy to ww for inclusion.
As a result of the Wahine disaster a local rescue service was established and Kokoru was one of the original vessels. She was also warranted and used by the local Police in the 1960’s as an official patrol boat when various US vessels were in port during the Vietnam war.

Any more details on her would be appreciated

30/03/2015 Update & photos from owner John Baird.

If any ww followers are passing by Wellington I’d be very happy to show them over her. The first picture I sent you (above) was taken in Ngaruru Bay and indeed one of the readers almost got it right as Ngaruru is off Tory Channel. The pictures below are a bit dated as now she has new grey carpet and I’m in the process of replacing port & starboard lockers and the floors to facilitate the installation of Acoustop sound insulation as alas the old solution is now ineffective and slowly disintegrating.

20-03-2016 Update
Kokoru’s owner John Baird sent in these photos of Kokoru following a complete strip and repaint of her hull and topsides. It took from early January to March to complete the job. In the 16 years John has owned her it’s the first time this has been done to this extent. The job was done in Waikawa Bay by Sounds Marine.


24 thoughts on “Kokoru

  1. John Baird – we’re looking for boats which participated in the Wahine rescue for a sail past as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the disaster next month. Please contact me gavin.pascoe@gmail.com or 027 3098936


  2. The first ‘Fast Morgan’ as they were called, I think was ‘Foam’ (apart form the chasers). I saw her recently in Mana marina looking very well looked after. She is quite distinctive with the chines starting almost at the top of the stem. She was also very quick for her size and vintage.


  3. johntwodogs is quite correct. I over-simplified. It’s not Thames measurement, but a sort of outgrowth from it, used by the Board of Trade in the UK, scarcely relevant in a Kiwi context in relation to pleasure craft where it appears only in earlier versions of the Register of British Ships and derived publications like Lloyd’s Yacht Register.


  4. SAN AL PA was built by John Gladden at Milford, but Gus probably had a big hand in her build. Great family, the Viskovics. I was in the army with one, and very fortunate to have him, al;l 2 metres of him, as a mate. His cousin(?), fisherman Vic Viskovic, was right into classic cars as well. He was using a Mk VII cut into a ute to carry his fish. I helped liberate an Alvis Speed 25 from him for a mate once, just before it got the same treatment.
    LADY JESS was built by John Gladden too. Mitch Pascoe described her as “a big TAMURE”


  5. That 33.75′ isn’t Thames Measurement, but the (old) measurement for registered tonnage, and is actually Length Between Perpendiculars – LBP – and doesn’t take into account the part of the boat aft of the rudder shaft(s). Her actual LOA is 11 1/2 metres/ 38′. When one of these comes on the market, brokers call it a “Morgan 38”. In the same vein, that 5.3′ measurement will be depth, not draught; it’s an internal measurement. Most of that design actually drew about 4′.
    Yes, “Safari Queen” was a lengthened version, as was “Kiwa” which also had a raised a raised fo’c’sle.
    “Siren II” is the same hull, but with more deadwood and some outside ballast and a single engine. She was built for Capt. Gray, a very tall man and ex-yachty, hence the impressive headroom and the layout.
    Those BMC Commodore diesels were quite common in the Sounds/Wellington area at the time. My father had one in “Palomino”.
    Onapua Bay? Maybe. I’d have gone for Hitaua Bay next door, but it’s an awful long time since I’ve seen either.
    Jack Morgan had a pretty long list of boats built. There were yachts, e.g.the Sam Crocker designed “Wakarere” for ‘Doc’ Elliott and the Alden “Koamaru” for ‘Baldy’ Miller. He sort of took over where Ernie Lane left off, developing the whalechasers, which in turned into his fast cray boats and some pleasure boats on the same lines. I can remember a series of mounted half models of ‘chasers round the walls of his office – you could see how they changed subtly as you followed them round the walls.


  6. Ok, I’ll embarrass myself by having a stab at the location. I think she is in Onapua Bay, off Tory Channel. Likely anchored out of the ferry wash (which one tends to do in the sounds)


  7. She had a 5lw Gardner but I “think” she has a 6 cylinder now,Im 90% sure Gus built San-al-Pa himself and also another Lady Jess…Maybe using someone else’s moulds/Frames…
    He was quite friendly with my grandfather and often around at his place.


  8. Photo at top presumably has to be the Sounds, but looks remarkably like South Harbour at Kawau Island, & I agree, she looks much bigger that 33ft & the hull looks very like a sister ship to a pleasure craft which was used as a long line fishing boat, with a sedan top, painted white, that was kept at the Western Viaduct for years form the 1970s to 90s at least. — Always very well kept owned by a gentleman who had an accent that may have been Dalmatian. Frustratingly I can’t recall her name, & I believe she was powered by a Gardner Diesel. I feel she is very probably another Morgan boat.– KEN R


  9. From memory, Jack Morgan’s “Hawaiiki” design, from which most of these lovely launches were based, was 38ft. “Martini” was another one.

    An exception was “Safari Queen”, built c.1964 (featured in Sea Spray magazine at the time), was based on the same design but stretched slightly to 40ft.


  10. LYR then used Thames measurement, so it’s a complex calculation based on the distance between perpendiculars etc etc.


  11. All I can add is the usual boring vital statistics taken, in this case, from Lloyd’s Yacht Register.
    She was built by Morgan’s Boatyard in 1960 for R.A. Mackay of Cambridge Tce, Wellington.
    Her dimensions are 33.75ft loa x 11.2ft beam x 5.3ft draught. She was launched with twin BMC 4 cylinder 21/46hp diesels. George Mulligan of Wellington owned her by 1983.
    Morgan built HAWAIIKI in 1951. She’s on the cover of Sea Spray of April1951.
    Amongst other biggish launches Morgan built are GLEAM (1946), KIWA (1966), MYSTIC (1960), NGATOA/NGATOA NUI (1946), SIREN II (1962), the Athol Burns-designed ASTROLINDA (1966) and some whalechasers of course.


  12. Could anyone supply her length, engine details, either original, or present, (or in between). KEN RICKETTS


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