A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

Todays story so needed to be done, and woodys, John Bullivant is a legend for grabbing his camera and heading out on our behalf. I’ll let John tell his story 🙂

“Thought it was about time I got a few photos on the Tamaki River boats before they disappear, (and they are going fast by the look of some). There are only a fraction of the numbers of wooden boats that were moored there in the 1960s and 1970s and as I previously mentioned, living on the waterfront at Bucklands Beach for around 25yrs I had seen most of them go by (was like Queen St on Friday nights most summer weekends) I did 2 trips down from Orewa and took pics from Panmure Boat Club and up to and under the new Panmure Bridge, end of Gabadore Pl (off Carbine Rd), the old Panmure Marina, (going with many houses from Panmure to Pakuranga Town centre, to make way for new highway widening), along the Tamaki River walkway for about 4km (Rotary Walk,- starts at the old Panmure Marina and goes all the way to Gills Rd in Howick, for those who like walking), Half Moon Bay and Bucklands Beach.

I also went down to the 1960s site of the private ex RNZAF W1  haul-out ramp below the old Alright property (well covered in bush now and a near vertical climb down a 30ft bank), – lost a bit of blood but well worth it for me, as I last stood on that spot 50yrs ago when we sneaked on board W1 to have a look around while she was up there. Original ramp and haul-out dolly is still there (see pics) although time has taken its toll. I’m amazed, looking at the crude set-up today, how Mr Alright got a 64ft boat weighing many tons, sitting on rubber tyred dollies (which ran in grooved concrete) lined up and hauled out with a winch and by the looks of it, the large tree in line with the ramp, not to mention getting it back out again (I’m assuming he must have winched it back out somehow). Massive effort not only to build the ramp on mud, (all by hand, no concrete pumping trucks) but to be able to use it.

Hope these photos are of interest to people who may be able to identify some of the mystery boats (especially the light blue launch with the chrome ventilators and light, (looks ex RNZAF ?). The yacht hidden near the big boatshed is around 45ft looks very old and has been there for many years, as has poor old Imatra, a once grand yacht which is in a very sad state and in urgent need of care (must have been there 30 yrs odd now). I have included a few other launches and yachts to show the sad state of many good looking (and once expensive) boats on the river crying out for attention, but I guess many people have other priorities and sadly their dreams are just floating slowly into oblivion. It’s pretty hard to get rid of a rusty rotten hulk, so there they will stay till it’s “business time” (flight of the Conchords) for the 20 ton digger.

I may have some of the boats names wrong as I was using a telephoto lens for most of the pics and with enhancing colour, contrast etc was as near as I could get. I’m sure someone will correct any if wrong.”

NOTE: With the photos that John has named, I have tagged the photos with those names. Scroll over the photos to view the names 😉
I could have used the individual images on WW over an extended period, but they need to be together in one spot. Enjoy 🙂

15 thoughts on “A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

  1. I lived on Leuchtkafer in Whangarei for several years. My stepfather, Gary Murphy, spent many an hour keeping her in good shape. We used to race in the Wednesday night races and her sail number was 111. I’ve always wondered what happened to her and am grateful for the information.



  2. I seem to remember a large winch in a tin shelter against the bank and was wondering if that was working or not. The remains of the shelter are still there but the winch has gone. How did he get he bulldozer down there, was it by barge? When my friend and I were there while she was on the slip we didn’t see a bulldozer, perhaps he just barged it in for the haul-out? Any other info would be appreciated. When we were there in 1968 there was very little foliage, just a 30ft bank leading up to a paddock to the left of the house. He had water and I think power to the site from what I found on my recent visit.


  3. the motor sailor Happy hour is made of concrete not a woody but still cute used to belong to a friend of mine..


  4. Thanks for that brilliant piece of info regarding Leuchtkefer. Hope she’s not going to rot away there. She’s been there a few years already. There is a lot of history in boats up the river rotting, away and it’s info like yours which brings a bit of life back to them. She has a very interesting story, (probably more than most) but is sitting unknown to the majority. I imagine the Germans would love to have her back !


  5. Typo error, — TOWAI should read KOWAI.
    Also well worthy of mention, is the beautiful motor sailer FELISA, which is looking stunningly absolutely original, resplendent with her beautifully kept varnished coamings, just as I recall her, when original owner Stan Blundell, had her built all those years ago, c1950. — Refer previous woodys posts. — KEN R


  6. If that is actually Leuchtkafer, then she is a pretty interesting boat. She was what the Brits called a ‘Windfall’ yacht, i.e. a Prize of War.

    Leuchtkafer (meaning Firefly or Gloworm) is/was a 50 Square meter Skerry Cruiser built to a design by the famous Bremen firm of Abeking and Rasmussen and owned by the German Navy..

    this German skerry cruiser site mentions Leuchtkafer reg No. V-67 being built by ‘Arsenal’ in 1925 to a Rasmussen design and in 1938, was based at ‘Marine Station O’ in Keil.
    This photo of a Keil regatta race shows Leuchtkafer with Sail number v-67

    From RNZNcoms website:
    “On the defeat of Germany a number of German naval yachts were taken as reparations, and from these the 30 square metre ‘LEUCHTAFER’ was offered by the Admiralty to the RNZN. Acceptance was made conditional on free delivery at Auckland, and freight arrangements were made and paid for by the Royal Naval Sailing Association, to whom the Naval Board are duly grateful. This yacht arrived at Auckland in July 1949, has been refitted at the Dockyard and renamed TANGAIKA (Maori for ‘spoils of war’) . She is administered by PHILOMEL and in regular use for yachting and sail training.”

    NOTE: She was originally a 50sq metre and her name was Leuchtkafer not as above

    The German Skerry Cruiser website carries a photo of Leuchtkafer/Tangaika on Auckland Harbour.

    As Tangaika, she was registered as A-24 in 1949 and then as B-11 in 1950. She didn’t do a lot of racing but did enter Balokovic cups with RAYC in 1949 and 1950 and the 1955 Anniversary Regatta.

    The Navy sold her around 1959 to G. Palmer who renamed her Mandalay. By 1962 or 1963 she was owned by B.R. Warren of Bucklands Beach.

    She dropped out of sight for around 20 years but by 1981 she had been registered as NZYF 111 with the following owners

    N.& E.A. Murphy (Whangarei) 1982+? (Still Registered Owner NZYF 1983); J.A. & V.R. Storey (Tryphena) 1984+? (Still Registered as Owner NZYF 1989)

    I saw her on the hard at Okahu Bay January 2000 – her Stern looked to have been truncated as sadly happened to many of these old designs with long ends.

    sorry for the lengthy epistle


  7. The “mystery launch” is the Ernie Lane built “Miss Ava”, or “Lady Ava” as she was more recently called. Looking sadder than when John Wright had her up here at H’ville Marina.
    “Unknown 16” is “Puawai”


  8. Great photos John.Photo #10 reminds me of Jack Butland’s THETIS, MSA100727 looks like TUHUA ex Tauranga pilot boat. Mr Alright used an old D6 bulldozer to haul his W1 on his slipway. Ken, Harold Morton’s boat’s name is is Kowai or Kowhai.


  9. The light blue boat with chrome ventilators and light is Lady Ava built by Lanes of Picton in 1931. During WW I I she was a Wellington Harbour patrol boat and also towed targets into the Cook Strait for the Army and Navy and Air Force all to use as target practice. The yacht hidden near the boat shed is Lichtkaefer which is the German for Firefly. So named as she is a German design yacht and owned by someone of German descent.


  10. Great photos. My father’s gaff rigged schooner “Kotiti” had a mooring in the Tamaki River in the ’60’s. It was on the furthest mooring from the Panmure jetty and I remember it was such a long way to take our provisions and family and visitors on the dinghy to the yacht – usually at least 3 trips if we weren’t able to take Kotiti up to the jetty.


  11. Wonderful montage John.
    Great to see Harry Morton of Bon Accord Kawau’s old boat TOWAI there, with a single large porthole in bow, (ex commercial boat,) (refer previous post on woodys), under way, when taken in 1 image, also the “Mystery Boat,” the bridgedecker, Is LADY AVA, & the “MAHETA” is actually MAHARA.
    Great to see DELRAY, – on a slip still looking good. She was the “demo boat” for the “new” big 250 hp Ford diesels, in her day for Lees Bros., built by Max Carter in Otahuhu. The PHYLISS I believe, was almost certainly Clive Power’s WAINUNU of the 40’s 60s, & Fred Porter’s, Lane Motor Boat built, WANDA II is there, looking rather sad, & looks like she may have a broken window. And so one could go on. KEN R (edited by AH)


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