photos ex John Burland, Paul Drake & Judith Wallith

Morning woodys, I know there has been a few ‘mystery boats’ lately but that’s how it rolls, you post one & it triggers another.

Today’s launch arrived in Mapua, Nelson two days ago & no one knows much about her. An interesting mix of styles, a little bit of everything there.
Can we shed some light on her?


Today’s post had woodys the length of the country digging out there photo albums & cameras & we have uncovered some very cool details.

Paul Drake via his brother Roger sent in the b/w photo below of Katoa (is she still named that?) when 60 years ago she was berthed at Lake Taupo. Owned by the Bull family at the time.

Judith Wallath sent in the below photo of a painting she did c.2000 of a launch anchored at Forestry, Great Barrier Island that must be the same boat.

John Burland, who blogs on the very funky blog http://notthenelsondailyphoto.com/ who put me originally onto the boat, today sent in more photos. He had also un-coverd that she is owned by a gent called David Smith who owns a business in Mapua. The launch used to be at the Nelson marina and before that, it was at Riwaka for a long time.

08-12-2015 Update from the owner via John Burland. (edited by Alan H)

Current owner bought the launch for $27,000 in Jan. 2015 from a gent in Riwaka called John (surname unknown, possibly passed away).
Built 1911 “by 2 brothers in Auckland”. There’s a 1913 bridgedecker at the Nelson marina built by the same  “couple of brothers”.
Currently powered by a 60hp (American) 4 cylinder Ford, (fitted 30 years ago).  42’ long, beam 8’, draws 1.1m,  displaces 5.5t

Legend has it that she was sailed (motored) to Fiji at one time. Cruises at 7 knots, tracks like a dream and he used 2 litres of fuel from Nelson to Mapua.
The engine is very forward (like Seabird) – 25’ drive shaft. What appears as the funnel is actually the chimney for the wood burner stove.

All of the above needs confirmation, John B is attempting to access further info.

16-05-2017 Update  –  Photos below from her new owners Ra Hammer & Joseph Henrey

18 thoughts on “Katoa

  1. Pingback: Katoa + Vacuna – In The 1950’s | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. I owned her for several years back in the 90’s kids and I had some very memorable trips to the sounds on her. Purchased from Nelson and also a very memorable trip across in the early hours under a gale. She certainly ‘tracks well’! quartering heavy seas we ran in behind mana and picked up a bouy, the bar was closing out so couldnt enter mana until morning.


  3. @ Ra Hammer/Joseph Henery. The previous owner was David Smith who at the time I spoke to him owned the Delicious homewares store at Port Mapua. Don’t know if he still has it or is still in the district, but the staff there might be able to help.


  4. Myself and Joseph Henrey have just purchased this boat Katoa from an insolvency firm.
    She is in pretty good shape. Needs quite a bit of cosmetic work.
    We are very interested to gather more info and talk to previous owners .
    We will send through photos shortly , including one of a plaque of early owners which indicates she was built in 1910.
    There are some recent pics on the trade me link. https://www.tradme.co.nz/1297476004


  5. Maybe she did go to Fiji with the RNZAF and maybe she started life as NORANA built in 1913 by Miller Bros at Port Chalmers for Charles Sundstrum of Dunedin.
    Arthur Brett of Auckland bought her in 1927. He had her cabin top heavily modified and sold her to J. Donald in 1939. She went to Fiji in 1942 where her Kelvin became unusable for lack of spares and she was disposed of in 1944. She then “disappears”.
    The similarities are strong, built by “brothers”, built just pre-WW1, 40ft loa, same number of ports (3) under a raised foredeck, Fiji link, what more could you want?? Eggs in your beer???


  6. 1911 is plausible (with a couple of bursts of additions over the years) but the “couple of brothers” has me stumped….Logan Bros??
    Now there was a 40ft KATOA on the Manukau for many years but she was originally the 1903 schooner-bowed PETREL built by Bailey & Lowe for Cecil Leys of Auckland. No matter what rebuilding genius was at work, it’s hard to see that PETREL under this boat.
    There were some other KATOAs including a fishing boat in Tauranga but none of them match this configuration.
    “Katoa” is Maori for “all” or “everybody”, so maybe she has had several aliases?
    Fine looking boat just the same, even though I just can’t believe she motored to Fiji. I guess she could have been one of the RNZAF-impressed launches shipped to Fiji for work at Lauthala Bay, but I can’t fit her into any of them.


  7. Spent some time at the marina today tracking down anything that looked a0 of the era and b) interesting. AH has images and the (sparse at this time) details


  8. Sixty years ago she was at Taupo. Named CATOA (or possibly KATOA) she was owned by the Bull family. She hasn’t changed one little bit. .


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