Ngaire – South Island

Ngaio Nelson

The above photo was sent in by Lake Rotoiti (Rotorua) boat builder Alan Craig. Alan spotted the photo of Ngaire on a recent trip to the Maritime Museum in Mapua, Nelson. At the time Ngaire was owned by Jack Marusich and he is waiting for a load of sheep to be rowed out to the boat. I have to saw the sheep look remarkably relaxed given the trip. The photo caption commented that they were most likely used to it and were probably being relocated to fresher pasture.  Given the load it must have been a great dinghy.
Anyone able to tell us more about this launch?
And speaking of great dinghies – check out Martin Howson’s new clinker below, built late 2019 by Dave Jackson. She measures 8’ x 4’6” and It is built out of ply and ribbed and riveted, there is no glue. Her ribs are  North American white oak, the breast hook and the quarter knees are oak, the thwarts are kauri and knees for the thwarts are oak as well
The oars at 7 ft and Martin commented that you can really put your back into rowing or just tack it easy.  The floor boards are scribed and are easily removed
for cleaning and again they are made from kauri.

6 thoughts on “Ngaire – South Island

  1. hey guys. I’m doing some digging for an odd game reel. Many tangents but: A vessel by the name Ngaire was operated as a fishing charter vessel by the world’s first female skipper and “Miss New Zealand”, Connie Simmons from (appox) 1947 to around and maybe into 1960s. pics here: and mentioned here (18/4/60) :


  2. Ministry of Transport call her NGAIRE in their archives. They record her later owner being J.J. Marusich of Havelock; licensed to carry 26 pax;
    However a name board on the boat trumps the MOT!


  3. This launch was based in Havelock and spent most of it’s life around Pelorus Sound. The nameplate on the transom said she was called NGAIO. In the later years the boxy looking raised cabin aft had been replaced by a forward wheelhouse and more streamlined aft cockpit dodger similar to most bridgedecker style conversions of this type of setup. I last spotted her for sale on TradeMe about 5yrs ago at which time she was up on blocks in a farm paddock in North Canterbury looking much worse for wear and possibly on her last legs. Not sure what happened to her from there.


  4. The launch is actually NGAIRE built by Claude Wells in 1918 for Robert Kerr of Nydia Bay, Pelorus Sound, with a 5hp Regal engine, later a 12hp 4 cylinder Shacklock made in Dunedin.

    Thanks Harold – I have amended the story. The name Ngaio came from the caption on the photo at the museum. Alan H


  5. Re ngaio and sheep in dingy my dad Percy Charles Williams was mate of the SS Alexander in 1924 moving a lot of sheep from the pelorus sounds I quote from his memoir what a job that was all the sheep had to be placed in a sitting posture in the lifeboat with the last one on its back in the middle to prevent the others from moving unquote


  6. If it was the Dave Jackson who a yard on the Devonport harbour foreshore in the 1950s he must be a good age by now. he built a mast for my Cherub in late 1959. I am nearly 80 now and he was a far bit older than me.


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