photos & details ex Raymond Morey

Previously on ww there was some chat about the an old tug and barge that used to lay in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island. Ray advises the tug ‘Kuri’ & the barge was ‘Waiti’, which was built as the 78′ schooner rigged scow ‘May’ by Davy Darroch in 1898. They both lay at Frank Hooks place, the little brown cottage virtually on the beach, around from the Mansion House & were ultimately sold to Bert Subritzky.
Ray does not know the history of Kuri but in regard the above photo’s, the coloured one Ray took when she first went back in the water after a long rebuild and was running day fishing parties out of Whangaroa some 12 years ago. The white ones are of her in the Marlborough Sounds and in trade-a-boat.
Ray does know that Kuri was in Fiji during the war, her skipper then was Roy Taylor, and she had a direct reversing Fairbanks-Morse engine that was still in her when Frank owned her. She later had an L3 series Gardner.
In Rays eyes the flat white all over paint job does nothing for her looks 😉
What do we know about Kuri & what became of her?

Input from Barry Davis

“I can give some details of this vessel, but there are some gaps.

Kuri was built in 1929 by W. G. Lowe & Sons for Richardson & Co. as a tug towing lighters at the port of Napier. She was requisitioned in 1942 for use by the RNZAF. I don’t know much of her history after W.W.II, I first came across her in 1963 at Kawau when she was then renamed Altona. Sometime in the 1960’s she was acquired by Mc Callum Bros and renamed Kuri, and used as a tug towing their shingles barges from McCallum’s Island to their shingle depot in St Marys Bay. Her dimensions were 38.66’ x 11.4’ x 4.08’.

The b/w photo was taken at Kawau on 27 January 1963, the colour photo of her in McCallum’s ownership has her on Shipbuilders Ltd. slipway and was taken 13 June 1971.”

01–1-2016 Input from Baden Pascoe

Kuri was built by WG Lowe in 1929 for Richardsons of Napier as a lighter tug
(There are two books written about this small shipping company). She was
designed by Herbert Levi.  Her next owner was Frank Hook who used her for
barge work around the Hauraki Gulf. Frank ran the operation by himself and
had a ghost crew member to keep the Marine Dept off his back. He re powered
her with the 6L3 Gardner that she still has. She was sold to McCallum Bros
in 1961 and the photo below is of her with the barge Ann ex scow Havoc.
Havoc was a big scow, not far off 90′ O.L. Alec Pascoe often skippered her
and this photo may have been taken by him. If any Woodies followers have any
photos of her during her working days, Baden would like be keen to view them.

10 thoughts on “Kuri

  1. Pingback: Kuri – A Peek Down Below | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. Hi Geoff,
    what about telling the readers of your exploits as skipper of the Port Kennedy. Especially that big building you guys moved down the Mahirangi River,with the digger on the bow to fend off when the bank came too close.In the photo I’ve seen the building obscured the wheelhouse window.That must have been some trip.


  3. Hi Geoff,
    Your recollection of Kuri hitting Browns Isand reef are correct,but I think you may have confused her with Naumai (welcome) that ran aground on Browns Island reef, on 11th July 1986.
    I saw Naumai on blocks in McMullen & Wings yard, with a hole cut in her side with a chainsaw,& the engine removed. She was painted brown & white McCallums colours ,& was double ended. She was later scraped.


  4. Coralie in later years was in the fleet of Auckland Launch & Towboat Co.(Blue Boats)and Kuri was owned by McCallum Brothers. Not sure if they came from same builder, but with her canoe stern Ferro was another very simular workboat. Date ?? late 1980’s Kuri was badly damaged when she ran into the reef on the west side of Browns Island. Towing her barge Moehau Kuri would leave Auckland around four in the morning for a load of red metal from the quarry island (Karumaramu Is.) This particular morning was very nasty with rain and a SW gale blowing. The skipper mistook the red sector of the Browns Is light for the red light off Musik Pt. When she struck the empty barge ran up and over her stern. No radar back then. Subritzky’s salvaged her and towed her to McMullen & Wing where she was lifted out. She sat in their yard for a number of years.


  5. My father was a teenager in Napier in the early 1930’s and used to comment on the two tugs/launches that transported men out to the “homeboats” anchored in the bay and that towed lighters out to the ships to take discharged cargo or to load export cargo. These two vessels were Kuri and Coralie. He further remembered that the Kuri used to blow perfect smoke rings out of her funnel when she started her engine or went from ahead to astern or vice versa.
    Michael Drake


  6. I remember her so very well from her Kawau 60s era — a lovely well balanced shapely tug always well looked after. — We sat in Mansion House, on GAY DAWN, with her on her moorings, alongside, on many, many occasions. — Wonderful to see a post on her — KEN R


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