Rongotia has featured before on WW , as a Mystery Launch, we uncovered the info below on her. What we did not have back then was any colour, recent times photos. Thanks to both Nathan Herbert’s & my own visits to Waikawa Bay Marina, Picton, we can now see her in her finery. Previous WWW story below – https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/08/18/rongotai/
Harold Kidd previously commented that she was built by Cox & Filmer in Auckland in 1939 with twin “64hp kerosene engines” she went almost straight into NAPS at Whangarei as Z31 under Les Waldron’s command. He kept her in a shed on the road to Onerahi. He went to see her with John Gladden around 1982. She was still highly original and in her original shed. She had twin Morris Commodores (which may have been original) and was in very tidy order.
Dawn Wilschefski – advised that she was the only daughter of Les Waldron & can confirm that Rangotai was launched Christmas Day 1939. Her design was Hughie Coxsmith (? see HDK’s comments above). Her Grandfather James Reid was probably consulted during the process. When the Niagara went down her Dad was in Russell but made the trip back in time to join the other boats out on rescue duty. He was also part of the Naval Auxilliary Patrol that started in Whangarei a few months after the sinking but when the Navy took over the organization Rongotai was transferred to Auckland where she served on the boom patrol, specifically from Whangaparoa to Cape Colville. When her Dad died in 1963, her brother Bert bought Rongatai and used her for family pleasure for a while. He tried to sell her at an exorbitant price but finally used her for a trade in for a Wellington boat (name forgotten) Last she heard of, Rongotai was working as a “slow” cruising boat for tourists in the Marlborough Sounds. Her Dads reason for building her was (a) family pleasure and (b) for deep sea fishing as a founding boat for the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers.