I received an email yesterday from Peter Grant and as I started to read it I was thinking – this is a doozy and I’m sure Harold Kidd will be able to shed some light on the the history of the boat and the accuracy of the tale.
Recently Peter was working at the Queenstown boat shed and I was asked to look at the Muratai II, tied to her jetty. His online search for information only came up with one photo (b/w above) ex the Hochen Library at the University of Otago.
Peter mentioned that the current Kiwi owner of three years now lives in Switzerland and has never set foot on the boat and is disillusioned with the supposed refit progress and the boat yard in Invercargill is tired of waiting for it to be sent down, so have washed their hands on the project.
The previous owner who has owned her for 28 years and where she is still berthed, wants it gone of course.
Prior to his ownership she was a passenger launch on the lake in the company of another 36 footer Moana, powered by a Ford engine of some type.
Apparently the Muratai II was built in Auckland, or somewhere northward, for the then King of Tonga (edited) who wouldn’t settle as he was unable to enter into the vessel due to his size.
Muratai II is 42′ LOA, kauri, and fitted with a very tidy 3 cylinder GM of 65hp which was installed in 1946.
So Mr Kidd and other woodys, can we tell Peter any more about this vessel and her history?
Harold Kidd Input – HMMMMMMMM. King of Tonga??? Which one? MURATAI is wrong. Way back she was MURITAI (correct Maori) then SOUTHERN STAR. My guess is that she was built for the passenger trade in Lyttelton by Chas Bailey 1911 (he built the yacht ONELUA for King George of Tonga shortly after) and gravitated to Lake Wakatipu by 1922. A Trade Me ad recently said she was built for the King of Tonga in 1924. The monarch at the time was Queen Salote. Tourist BS I think.