Anita Bay / Te Repo Repo / Maharatia


photo & details ex Paul Drake

The above photo of a woody on a truck is the launch Te Repo Repo that was at Taupo in the 1960’s, run by the Tourist Hotel Corporation. Paul is pretty confident that her skipper was the Internal Affairs Harbour Master. Whilst at Taupo she was called Te Repo Repo but previously she came from the South Island, where she was called Anita Bay. Paul thinks that this was probably her “as built” name.

Copy of flyer below, promoting her services ex Harold Kidd

Photo below ex Ken Ricketts  & B Worthington


I have to say given how beautiful she was, the more recent photo of her below is a little sad, sure someone now as a boat that they probably enjoy, but we have lost a classic along the way 😦

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 6.30.41 AM

MAJOR UPDATE 07-08-2015

details ex Paul Drake, Ken Ricketts, Harold Kidd, Russell Ward, Jimmy Thomson, Caitlyn Beazley, Troy Searle. Extensively edited by Alan H

This story grew from a single photo sent in by Paul Drake & with the help of the above people has morphed into a comprehensive record of the the vessells past. In the interests of the recorded facts & woodys reading pleasure I have attempted to pull it all together as one. If I get something wrong – let me know 🙂 Alan H

Maharatia was launched in 1947 from the Auckland yard of Roy Lidgard, her hull was entirely built to deck level on a concrete slab at their property in Smeltering House Bay, Kawau Island. They bought,  dismantled & shipped a shed from the mainland, to put over her, this shed is still there today (photos below). This became the shed where the Lidgard’s built & maintained many boats after Maharatia.
The hull was towed to Auckland where she was put in their Auckland shed, to be completed (photos below of shed, Maharatia is top left in the 1st photo).

She was built for the Birch family of the Tauranga region in the Bay of Plenty who were farmers & the boat was named after their farm, named Maharatia, which means “memories” in Maori.

According to Jimmy Thomson (close family friend of the Lidgards) she only remained in Tauranga for a fairly short time & actually spent most of her life during the Birches stewardship in Smelter House Bay at Kawau. They were however keen fisher people & she was used in Tauranga fairly extensively for game & other fishing in her early days apparently, note the number on her bow in some of the older photos.

In the 1960’s she was sold to the Government & went to Taupo. It would almost certainly have been the Govt., as owners who first changed her name from Maharatia to Te Repo Repo. Her skipper whilst at Taupo was the Internal Affairs Harbour Master, Lt.Cmdr. Pete Petersen, RNZNVR, who was Harbour Master from 1955 until 1978. Back in those days, he was it – just him and his Imperial typewriter.

After her time at Taupo, the Govt. then trucked her to Tauranga & sailed her to Milford Sound, to the Milford Tourist Hotel Corporation hotel & while there her name changed again, to Anita Bay.
She was damaged whilst there & taken to Bluff for repairs & sold to a Keith Wright, who took her to Whangarei, where he had a tow boat business & he used her in association with this & also for local tourist trips. She was quite badly damaged on a trip to an exploratory oil platform he was associated with, during his ownership.

Wright later sold her to Bruce Davies, also of Whangarei, who replaced the original Buda diesels with the 2 LX Gardners which she still has today. He later sold her Lawrence McCleod, who owned her for approx. 25 years. It was McCleod who changed her name to Anita Bay IV, for reasons of liquor licensing for tourism use. He took her the Kaipara initially, where he used her for that purpose, as this is where he was living. When he later moved to Snells Beach he took her to the Sandspit, which was in the mid 1980s. He sold her to Dave Searle of Warkworth in 2013. She had not been used for a number of years when bought by Dave Searle.

She is presently in Steve Grice’s shed at Omaha & being given an extensive restoration by the classic artisan boatbuilder, Colin Brown. The restoration will be to her original concept more or less & she is going to go back to her original name of Maharatia. She will have completely refurbished engines (photos below). Ken reports that the ‘upstairs wheelhouse’ put on by the Government when they owned her has gone along with her funnel – we like that 🙂 Restoration photos below ex Ken Ricketts

Her present owners have promised to keep ww updated on the work so fingers crossed we will be able to follow the project.


Update -8-08-2015 Seeing Double ?
OK folks heres a curly one – I received an email last night from David Balderston & he puts forward a very good case that there were/are two Anita Bay’s – read on

Fascinating post of Anita Bay. I note the para where it is stated that she went to Milford. However, I think that Anita Bay at Milford is a different ship and your Anita Bay went to the Kaipara.

In the 1980s, I became aware of an Anita Bay running for the old THC at Milford. She was used to bring the survivors who had made it over the Milford Track across to the hotel at Milford. I actually adjusted her compass in the early 1990s. Here are two photos of her at Milford, March 1992 and 7/7/92. Note she has no port holes and I reckon her bow is straighter, in any case she looks far different to the one in your post.

I visited the Kaipara in February 1998 and took these two snaps of Anita Bay at Helensville , could not get closer, rather a large dog. Note in the second snap the signpost advertising her tours, how faint it has become, which would perhaps indicate she had been operating there a while.

The final item is from my scrap book, with two adverts of the Kaipara Anita Bay, dated 1988 and 31/1/90.

Therefore I submit that there were (are) two Anita Bays.

08-08-2015 Input from Denis O’Callahan, owner of the Colin Wild launch Tasman. Ian reports he walked the track in April 2014 and Anita Bay was still on the run to Sandfly Point picking up trampers.
You can recognize her comparing Denis’s photo with David Balderston’s.

04-12-2015 Input from Ray Morey

‘Anita Bay’ was hauled out at Tauranga at Ray’s father in law’s , Sulpher Point yard on the ‘Eva’s’ cradle. This was right next to the roadway. She was lifted onto the house removers rig by a mobile crane from the Ministry of Works which was working on the Mt Maunganui Port extensions. She was not at Taupo for very long, maybe 2 years at the most and came back the same way. Ray’s recollections are that Keith Wright delivered her to Steve Petty who had taken over the “Kingfish Point” lodge at Whangaroa,(there may have been a T.H.C. connection there.)
She was the general service launch there for quite a few years. There was no road access in those days. Keith Wright did have her later after he had sold out of the coastal tug and barge business. Ray is not too sure but thinks the aft wheelhouse was built and fitted in Auckland prior to going to Taupo but removed for the road trips.

07-03-2016 Update ex Ken R from Colin Brown’s shed
The 2 x 6LX Gardners are back in place, looking just like new. Her T & G cabin top has been removed & new T & G roofing will be used to correct the ‘holes’ left after the removal of her dry stack exhaust & the block of flats.

30-06-2016 Update from Ken R ex Colin Brown’s yard on her restoration + some old photos the late 1940’s – early 1950’s showing the hull leaving Smelting House Bay, Kawau Island & another of her being towed to Auckland for finishing off.


60 thoughts on “Anita Bay / Te Repo Repo / Maharatia

  1. Further on the above, I see that the content of the brochure stating the boat as Anita Bay at Milford Sound prior to going to Taupo was also highlighted previously in the comments. However, it is not yet reflected in the summary at the beginning. Sorry for the repitition, but I got lost when the comments started talking about other boats entirely.


  2. Reading the brochure apparently printed for Te Repo Repo working at Taupo in the early 1960s (provided by Harold Kidd), it seems to say that she had previously been at Milford Sound under the name Anita Bay. The resolution of the brochure is not very clear, but that would explain why there were two boats with the name Anita Bay, both of which appear to have worked in Milford Sound.

    I was at Milford Sound just yesterday and the skipper of the tourist boat I was on told me that the ‘other’ Anita Bay was out of service, stored on permanent hardstand at Anita Bay. I did not have a chance to talk with him further or even go to see the boat as the weather was closing in and the tourist bus driver wanted to get away ASAP.

    Looking at the photo of the Anita Bay (ex. Maharatia) in 1998, the name appears to be Anita Bay II rather than Anita Bay IV mentioned in the text. The addition of the II would make sense if that boat had applied for registration and the other (current Milford Sound) boat was previously registered under the same name.


  3. The late Colin was brother of John Stewart I think -yes a lovely man. Their father was “Steam Stewart” a real steam enthusiast. Colin very kindly gave me a set of castings for a steam engine for a model boat I built when I was 13. I machined them up and still have the engine. I knew Aurora well.


  4. AURORA did live under the bridge at Whakatakataka Bay, but was owned by Colin Stewart of Fisher & Paykel with a family association & input with his in laws Mr & Mrs Taylor.–Lovely close knit family. — KEN R


  5. I think the bridgedecker referred to by “vintage steamer” on a swing mooring at Whakatakataka Bay in the 50’s and 60’s was the Aurora which I think was owned by Mr Porter of Mason and Porter


  6. Rongomau was built at Kawau, another similar design Lady Leila was partially built at Kawau and completed at Bayswater. Jim would have been about 11 or 12 when he arrived at Kawau so maybe ’51 – ’52.


  7. Further to my previous ramblings on this post, re MONTEREY, ALMARAY, & RUTH, I’ve now restudied the shed pics, & am thrilled to have discovered that ALL 3 OF THESE BOATS ARE IN THE SHED, the 3rd one being that which only has the forward section visible, but there is enough of a view, of the forward end of the bridgedeck windows, for me to be sure, that they are all the same, on all 3 boats, so whilst I have always known there were the 3 of them, this is the only photo I’ve ever seen, that has recorded all 3 of them in the 1 pic. — KEN R


  8. I’ve got a good idea for a cold winter’s evening -while we still have them and while most of us are still alive.
    Let’s rent Cobweb Corner from RNZYS, lay on a dozen bottles of Islay Malt (eg Bruchladdich) and have eight of us slogging it out up front. Last man standing. $10 a head for the viewers who want to learn a lot of things about nothing in particular.
    Mediator Alan Houghton and a series of hitherto unpublished photographs provided by the Illustrious Eight say two per person.
    The discussion not to start until eight of the bottles of the said Malt have been consumer.
    How about it?


  9. Well, for one thing, you were 9 or perhaps 10 years old in 1946 and for another, Jimmy was 4 or perhaps 5. Then again, he was living with his folks in Raro in 1946.
    No doubt he was a lively and precocious lad, as undoubtedly you were too, but aren’t you pushing the limits of your credibility for WW followers?
    And why so obsessive?


  10. Oh my, this is a long thread! Getting back to the two boats in the shed, Medway was owned in the late 70’s by Barry Davenport (first person to swim Cook Strait) We last spotted her in Picton marina about eleven years ago, looking rather down at heel.


  11. Paul’s conclusion is fundamentally correct. The text of the left hand page of the flyer above is hard to read, but says.”….Under its original name of MAHARATIA the launch was well-known in the Bay of Plenty where she was used for fishing charters. She was purchased later by the Tourist Hotel Corporation, renamed ANITA BAY and put into service on Milford Sound. In 1962 she was brought by sea to Mount Maunganui and thence overland to Taupo where she was given the name TE REPO REPO (a legendary war canoe said to have been propelled by 100 paddlers.)” That’s pretty clear.
    Hopefully, since I last looked 24 hours ago, Jimmy Thomson has been restored to clan Thomson and THAT particular obsession on the part of Ken Ricketts removed once again from this universe back to the parallel one he seems frequently to inhabit? Kia manuia koe, e tama.


  12. Our understanding from Laurence McLeod when we purchased Maharatia (or as she was then known as Anita Bay ll ) was that she was in the Milford Sounds after her stint at Lake Taupo in the late 60’s early 70’s period, she had her name changed again from Te Repo Repo to Anita Bay, and was bought up to Whangarei by Keith Wright. Once Laurence McLeod purchased her he changed the name to Anita Bay ll and had a serial number carved into her forward deck beam for licensing purposes. So it seems likely that there was more than 1 Anita Bay working in Milford but Maharatia was definately down there for a while in the 70’s. Troy & Dave Searle


  13. Fantastic new info & pics, — The reason MAHARATIA became ANITA BAY “IV” & did not remain, just as per her original ANITA BAY rename, without the “IV” was undoubtedly because there had been 3 others before, that had all been given liquor licenses– (probably all belonging to the THC Hotel at the sounds) & they all would had to have an individual designation for the licenses when applied for, by then, which would have been discovered by McLeod when he applied for his licence, hence the “IV”.
    Dave tells me she had been given the “IV” for the sole purpose of the license — KEN R


  14. One of the boats of the 2 identical boats in the Lidgards shed pic is the MONTEREY, & there 3 built all identical altogether, — (I remember them all so well when they were new) — & the other boat in the pic is either the ALMARAY, or the RUTH, which were the other 2 — I have sent Alan a pic of the RUTH a while back. KEN R


  15. Ahhh. A prob solved?? Two sister bridgedeckers on view in the Lidgard shed. One Monteray AND one Medway? There used to be a bridgedecker on a swing mooring in Whakatakataka Bay by the railway line in the late ’50s early ’60s.
    We used to pass her in Millie ll when sneaking out the upper entrance of Judges Bay -the one we used when the tide was so high we couldn’t get out under the road at the other end. I always thought she was named Medway (because that was what the nameboard said (but old memories can adorn and emballish) and adored her good looks. But then Monteray started appearing on the WWs entries -down in Taupo at one stage.
    Were there two ships? Honour is satisfied.


  16. How could Jimmy have told me in all the detail he did, about the shed at Kawau & the building of the MAHARATIA, if he wasn’t there, he says he has spics of her hull being towed to Auck somewhere, & also, whilst not being able to put an exact date on it, I remember him so clearly from my very earliest days of boating post WWII c1946


  17. Re the engines – those are 6 cyl engines in the pictures so I would asume they are Gardner 6LX’s


  18. Jim was certainly there when Rongomau was being built at Lidgard’s Bayswater wharf. He helped! -The reason he is so sentimental about her and owns her. Lovely boat -just beautiful. I’ve said before he was a deckhand for Capt James Lawler on Ngaroma when I first met him in ’67 or ’68.


  19. And Andy was the skipper of the wonderful Island schooner TIARE TAPORO. He and his wife lived at Titikaveka on Raro and sent Jimmy to live with the Lidgards when Jimmy outgrew the local school. I think this is yet another repeat by Ken Ricketts of the legend…..third? fourth? Often he has Jimmy present when early Lidgard boats were being built when, in fact, Jimmy was innocently attending the Side School in Avarua at the time, a couple of thousand miles from the Lidgard yard.
    Maybe Ken just doesn’t read the WW posts…..or assimilate them?
    I spent some time with Andy in the late 60s at his home. Hugely impressive man!


  20. I have edited all the information into one post + lots of new photos that are now posted in the main section – I would recommend you read this & over look most of what you will find in this comments section 😉


  21. I am told hull porthole covers were something to do with a survey once, & a surveyor being a bit “thingy” about it, so they covered them up. — They were still there underneath the covers & have now been reinstated of course, as part of her originality reinstatement brief. — KEN R


  22. In the interests of the facts, when I get a spare mo’, I will clean all the info up & publish it in the main post. Remember details in the comments section are not search-able so any oops’s do not make it to the big black box in the sky 😉


  23. Oh no! Jimmy was Andy Thomson’s son surely. (Just remember “No P as in bath!” so that you remember that it is Thomson without a P. Christine used to wear a T shirt with that on it in the ’70s)


  24. Hi Ken, Thanks for catching up today, we really enjoy finding out more about Maharatia’s history, I imagine being such a busy commercial boat she has had a lot of people travel over her decks through the years, so she can look forward to a life of leisure as a pleasure boat fully restored to her original state maybe even better. Will keep you updated with progress photos. Troy S


  25. Will do, along with any Ken R may have sent through. My dad and Colin are working so hard to make her original again, i’ll make sure to send through any updated photos to you as the happen.


  26. Very interesting stories and just what I had hoped for when sending in the pic of TE REPO REPO on Don McLeod’s truck. Her skipper whilst at Taupo was definitely the Internal Affairs Harbour Master, Lt.Cmdr. Pete Petersen, RNZNVR, who was Harbour Master from 1955 until 1978. He is fondly remembered. In those days, he was it – just him and his Imperial typewriter. I would question whether this vessel went from Taupo to Milford Sound, or from Milford Sound to Taupo.. I think she came to Taupo from Milford Sound BUT I HAVE NO EVIDENCE and anyway it doesn’t matter. One thing is for sure and that is that she arrived at Taupo, and left from Taupo, on the back of a truck! The stories of her southern adventures are new to me and most interesting. I would never had guessed that she was Auckland built and had her down in my mind as Otago built. She has, to me, the rugged good looks of a Southern boat, rather than the less rugged but still good looks of an Auckland boat.


  27. Absolutely right Harold — typo error — was going to correct it if you hadn’t beaten me to it


  28. I must have been thinking that Colin might have an identity crisis with his new persona. My motivation was not rivet-counting at all, just protection of Colin (not that he bloody needs it!). A NORAK


  29. What is the logic behind the blanked over portholes and the aft bridge? rear vis? I’d just have a fwd station then a remote in the cockpit?


  30. As built, she was a fine little ship. The pic at Lidgard’s brought back so many fond memories. Roy built some fine boats: There is a certain daintiness (if you’ll forgive me) in the hull and sheet that sets them apart. I look at the ferry Kawau Isle at the Maritime Wharf in particular. A workboat (consider Barbara W also) needn’t look brutal. The clients of old would surely have been attracted to a good looking boat rather than a brutal box the likes of which abound these daze.
    Forgive an old codger his raves. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.
    Onward with the chainsaw cosmetic surgery!


  31. im sure this “someone” you mention will be using a proper trailer and tiedown method, nor will you be allowed to ride on the boat during the trip 😛


  32. My parents purchased her in 2013 and are in the long process of restoring her back to her original self and namesake. So great seeing these photos to know we are heading in the right track!


  33. Saw her last year having a vv big makeover in Whangarei I think Colin Brown from Sandspit was doing the work so it will be a proper job.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s