Te Whara




Each year for the last 5 years in February I have attended the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Parade, each year there are always several boats that ‘ring my bell’, one in particular is – Te Whara, the 32’, 1916 Bailey & Lowe built launch. Te Whara is not your typical lake boat, in my eyes she needs to be on the Waitemata & she could be – she is for sale. Firstly some details.
Te Whara was built by Bailey & Lowe at their yard at Sulphur Beach, Northcote in January 1916 for the Drummond brothers of Whangarei. Her first engine was a 10hp and probably a Sterling for which Bailey & Lowe were the agents. In February 1916 she was sailed up to Whangarei where she was based (always kept under cover). Originally flush-decked, Te Whara was taken back to Bailey & Lowe in the 1920’s where the wheelhouse area and companionway to the top deck was altered. She has the first rack-and-pinion steering ever fitted in Auckland. In 1972 she was refitted with the current 6 cylinder 106hp diesel which pushes her to around 10 knots. Owners Bruce Stewart and Andy Coupe purchased this launch (sporting a very rough paint job) in March 2005 for $40,000 and, after sailing her down from Whangarei harbour, spent a month sanding and repainting her at Orams in Auckland. After a short few months interlude in Auckland, Te Whara was launched at Lake Rotoiti in June 2005 and is now moored at Gisborne Pt. When searching for a launch, Bruce and Andy wanted a rear wheelhouse so that the helmsman and fisherman could be together. Of particular appeal was the elegant saloon, which runs from the engine bay to the bow. Te Whara still has the original interior fit out, including the porcelain ‘head’.
In 2013 Te Whara was lifted out of the lake and taken for a $25,000 re-paint and re-fit. The original canvas waterproofing on the decks was removed and the decks glassed. All other hull and deck timbers are original and in good condition. Unfortunately, being on a mooring and exposed to the weather takes it’s toll on Te Whara. In addition, Bruce and Andy are getting older and are beginning to find it more difficult to manage, and it is for these reasons that Te Whara is offered for sale for $35,000, or swap for a smaller classic launch.
I took the above photos of Te Whara at the 2015 & 2018 Parades. Come on woodys, lets bring her back to the Waitemata or alternatively she is a very cheap floating bach at the lake 🙂
Interested parties can contact Andy at.    andy@coupe.co.nz

15-09-2021 UPDATE – photos below sent in by Bill Upfold, whose client Grant Faber has one of Bill’s launches – Te Whara V, named after his grandfather, the original owner of Te Whara. Grant has named all of his boats Te Whara.
The b/w photos show Te Whara with Cape Te Whara (Whangarei Head) in the background. The photos are mounted on Grants saloon bulkhead.

6 thoughts on “Te Whara

  1. TE WHARA was not the first boat to have rack & pinion steering, as my parents first boat, JUALANA, which they bought in 1946, already had rack & pinion steering, which had to have been fitted in the 1930s, probably from new, as it looked old, & well used, as if it had been there for many years, & was probably original, from when she was built, by Sam Ford, in 1930. it was still in place & in use, when they sold, her in 1956. — KEN R


  2. Drummond Brothers, the original owners, are a fascinating story in themselves. Theirs was one of the old style, original hardware stores from where you could buy almost anything. One nail, or one thousand it was available. Paint, in every size tin in every colour was stocked, as were rolls of wall paper, and all sorts of household wares. It was truly a preview of what Mitre10 would be, and in Whangarei this indeed proved the case, as after a couple relocations and changes of ownership the store became one of the early Mitre10 stores. Older readers will be able to picture the original store though, with oiled floors, high shelving, boxes of nails, screws, hinges etc, and a very knowledgeable older staff who knew where everything was. The late Roy Drummond was also an avid early photographer, and much of his work is still used today by the local newspaper to illustrate historical stories.

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