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Kotuku was designed and built by Milford boat builder Alan Williams in 1960. She measures 32’ with a 9’ beam. Power is from a BMC Commodore diesel that was new when launched.
The bridge decker is kauri carvel built and has recently changed hands after a lengthy period on trademe. New owner’s Todd and Catherine sent in the photos above of her recent TLC.
Can anyone tell us more about Kotuku’s history.

Input from Mark Erskine‘Reviewing the above photos, in particular the ‘work in progress’ one, I see a note on the engine photo that the owner has used 5W 30 synthetic oil in the engine and gearbox.

Generally, older diesel engines have larger internal clearances than modern engines and (generally), a 5W 30 synthetic engine oil is used in a modern, close tolerance, high revving petrol engine. 

Older diesel engines have piston ring, cylinder liner and bearing materials that require a basic, heavier viscosity, mineral oil, such as a heavy duty, high detergent / dispersant / SAE30, SAE40, 15W 40 or 20W 50 grade.

I recommend the owner contacts either Castrol or Shell technical services for their lubricant recommendation for that particular engine and the gearbox.Tthere are a lot of old diesel and petrol engines in older boats and using the wrong oil can damage the engine.’




10 thoughts on “Kotuku

  1. Harold is correct and I can confirm this boat was definitely built in Titirangi in 1959. I recall a trip with my father to Trev Sowry,s backyard when I was 8, and watched as my introduction to steam box treatment of kauri timber was used in her construction.


  2. Hi guys, thanks for the helpful replies. We are all well in love with our new family member. So many good things have happened along with our ownership of Kotuku. She is such a lovely space to spend time in. We will be looking at a transmission transplant as the clutch is slipping and a good look inside has shown a lot of wear, she is 60 plus so not too unexpected. This virus might slow things up a bit but we look forward to more good times on Kotuku in Coromandel. Kiakaha people.


  3. What a looker! Couldn’t believe she was on trade me so long. So glad she’s found a good home. If you see us on Mahara, come and say hi, would like to have a look through. Good on you Todd and Catherine!


  4. I fear that the gearbox may suffer from running on 5W-30 and the Engine if still a BMC may operate its own total loss system….


  5. By any chance was kotuku owned by Bert Oliver of kelston of Korromeko st in auck in the 1960’s ,1970’s 1980,’ ??
    They took their daughter Mishelle and I out to coromandel for holiday with them


  6. that old engine has the wrong oil 5-w30 , that oil is for high spec engines of today. needs a high viscosity oil with a strong detergent, to kill the sulfuric acid created by a chemical reaction, go by the engine manual, or check the best from an oil company, cheers,diesel mechanic.


  7. APYMBA records show her as being built by her first owner T.E. Sowry of Titirangi in 1959 with a BMC Commodore and identical spec. Of course there are have been several KOTUKUs.


  8. If I’m thinking of the same boat she was in Wellington or the top end of the South Island for a good number of years until now — KEN R

    You are wrong. Alan H


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