I was sent the above photos of the 35′ launch Wairangi by Annette Evans, Wairangi belonged to her late father & Annette is about to undertake a restoration project. Before commencing work Annette is keen to see if ww can shed any light on the boat. They are keen to find out more on her original design, so any help identifying her original design or past owners would be greatly appreciated.

The boat now resides in Marlborough but it originally came from Dunedin and was known to the area as a pleasure launch in the Otago Harbour area before and immediately after World War II.
It’s believed that she was originally built in Auckland in 1932. It was owned in the mid > late 1950’s by a Mr W McCulloch (potentially well known in Otago), then it was transported by rail to Blenheim in aprox 1961, it belonged to a Mr R Foster of Dunedin.

The photos show her being prepped for her 1961 rail journey from Dunedin to Blenheim.

The 2016 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition wrapped up yesterday with the legendary beers & bangers 🙂

Over the weekend I read Harold Kidd & Robin Elliott’s booklet – ‘The Mullet Boat -A NZ Yachting Icon’, produced for the exhibition, it really is special. Grab a copy from Boat Books in Westhaven.

6 thoughts on “Wairangi

  1. Pingback: Surprise and Delight on Rakino Island | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. That vee-transom sounds like the RUDDER design that was used in the Auckland launch MARORO of 1908, very American, so identification should come relatively easily. Certainly doesn’t sound like a McPherson build.
    A few more McPherson launches to add to the list mentioned; AOTEA, ECLIPSE, GRAY, IRENE, ISABEL, MAITAI, MARANUI, MOANA, PACIFIC, PARERA, RERE MOANA and TUATEA, not all canoe-sterned of course.
    A.C. Hanlon sold INISHFREE to the OHB in 1920 who renamed her PILOT. She sank when struck by the propeller of CITY OF BAGHDAD on 2/2/1938. Sundstrum’s THETIS went to Lyttelton in 1937 where she was owned by Sir Bruce Stewart of Pigeon Bay and is still in Lyttelton, I believe.


  3. Wairangi has a transom stern with a slight vee in it instead of a radius, if that helps i.d her builder?


  4. Agree, the stern would be a giveaway.
    I own and had a complete rebuild of a Jas. McPherson launch, Eureka, and have sought out surviving McPherson craft. He built 11 boats using a common double-ender design. They include Ailsa (Stewart Island), James McKerrow (Te Anau), Lion (Manapouri, recently listed for sale) and Eureka (now on a swing mooring Deborah Bay Otago Harbour). I have heard of others that have gone, or I have yet to learn their fate such as Inishfree and Thetis. Wairangi was not one I have been told about, but gaps in the 11 exist for me. This series had a bronze plate engraved with a number, design type and builders name, usually fixed inside the cowling of the cockpit (aft).
    Lion being the largest and one of the last builds (1922 or thereabouts) with Eureka being the 3rd. started about 1908 and photoed on the water in 1912 with its unique square coach house windows, owned by McPherson for several years until sold and eventually went to port Invercargill in 1933.
    The vertical lines of Wairangi’s bow appear different to the above mentioned craft, but hull shape under the waterline looks similar.
    These boats were distinctive for their light hardwood framing and very good handling in big seas.
    I steamed up from Riverton to Otago Harbour a month ago in large swells. The boat was a credit to the designer. I hope she enjoys being home after 83 years.


  5. Not really being helpful to the enquiry, but surely she was railed from Dunedin to Picton? If it WAS to Blenheim then it would have been to work as a fishing boat; apart from the scow “Echo”
    fishing was the only other occupation for boats in Blenheim by 1961.


  6. Pity we can’t see her astern which would be a giveaway. If a “whaleboat” or canoe stern, I reckon 1. WAIRANGI is a name change 2. She was built in Dunedin by James McPherson or another Dunedin/Port Chalmers builder 3. She was built between 1912-20.


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