Tiakina – A visitor from Dunedin

TIAKINA – A Visitor from Dunedin


I was sent the above photo of Tiakina by Lindsay McMorran, they took the photo of her berth in the Viaduct, Auckland.Lindsay commented that she is an ex Wellington pilot boat, built c.1952 and her normal home port is Dunedin. Tiakina is visiting Auckland for the A-Cup regatta.


Anyone able to enlighten us on her background / past?

Input from John Bullivant – another photo below of Tiakina. John also commented that she may have been built in the UK.

Input and photos below from Cameron Pollard – She was built in the UK. After being disposed of by Wellington Harbour Board she did a stint as a tuna longliner.Refit to pleasure use was done at Jorgensen boat yard.

A couple of photos below – I took today at the Viaduct

Input from Paul Drake – TIAKINA (to take care of) designed by Alex Collings and built by M,W. Blackmore and Son in Bideford England, planked with 52mm makore and powered with two ERL 5/75 Crossleys, each 250hp. She departed Exmouth on October 1 1953 with a crew of eight and arrived Wellington February 12 1954. She required slipping at Colombo after weather damage crossing the Arabian Sea. Voyage distance was about 14,100 nm (26,000km). At 83 feet LOA and 80 tonnes, she was the largest pilot boat on the NZ coast. After just two years service she required major remedial work due to ‘green’ timber being used in her construction. This work took nearly two years and was done by Wellington Harbour Board’s shipwright staff. In 1982 she was extensively rebuilt and re configured by Jorgenson’s of Picton and continued in service. In 1992 she was retired and sold to Auckland owners for a bargain price. She was used for fishing etc before ending up in Dunedin where she fell on better times and is now clearly well loved and transformed into a luxury charter boat. As a retired Wellington pilot, it is heartwarming to see a boat I knew so well still giving good service after nearly 70 years.

18-03-2021 Input from Captain Charles Smith – Like Paul Drake’s fine comments above, I am similarly heartened to see that Tiakina is being well looked after and regularly used. I can add a little to the history. I commenced a 48 year piloting career on Wellington Harbour as skipper of Tiakina in 1972 before being promoted and I experienced many severe conditions and hard knocks whilst on board. Having experienced many other pilot vessels she was firmly my favourite. Tiakina suited the robust sea conditions at Wellington entrance. She was built to last although the constant knocks alongside ships at sea eventually took their toll with framing, particularly on the shoulders. Assembling construction timbers took time. Timbers used included 52mm thick makore hull sheathing, heart pohutukawa branch was used on the stem and stern crooks and the keel was one length of heart tallowwood or ironbark. Being severely tested in daily service it took a team of shipwrights to keep her in service. Heart kauri was used in many places. The nineteen week voyage from the UK via Suez, and north Australia (30 September 1953 to 12 February 1954) was made without the benefit of radar, AIS, PPUs, gyro compass or ECDIS – just skill and a magnetic compass by the eight crew. The contract made by the Wellington Harbour Board was for a price of £35,000 with £5,000 allowed for the delivery voyage. The Harbour Board sought quotations from builders in NZ and Australia before settling on M W Blackmore in Bideford UK. Radar was fitted on arrival in Wellington at a cost of £1,590. Tiakina was constructed to operate in open water conditions off the port entrance after pilotage was deemed to be compulsory from 1 October 1952 (after a collision between two large ships in the entrance channel in May 1950). With port managers at the time having lived through WW2, Tiakina was also designed to be a cruising examination vessel in times of hostility, hence her generous accommodation.

YESTERDAYS MYSTERY LAUNCH QUIZ WINNER – Albert Birnie, Onehunga. The correct answer was – Cyrena, built in 1923 by Dick Lang for Peter Smith

13 thoughts on “Tiakina – A visitor from Dunedin

  1. She is on her way down the coast
    Spent two weeks in Wynyard Quarter in Auckland
    A day in Tauranga
    Two days in Napier
    And about to arrive in Wellington
    Queens wharf for 3 days
    Waitemata woodys 👍

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  2. Like Paul Drake’s fine comments above, I am similarly heartened to see that Tiakina is being well looked after and regularly used. I can add a little to the history. I commenced a 48 year piloting career on Wellington Harbour as skipper of Tiakina in 1972 before being promoted and I experienced many severe conditions and hard knocks whilst on board. Having experienced many other pilot vessels she was firmly my favourite. Tiakina suited the robust sea conditions at Wellington entrance. She was built to last although the constant knocks alongside ships at sea eventually took their toll with framing, particularly on the shoulders. Assembling construction timbers took time. Timbers used included 52mm thick makore hull sheathing, heart pohutukawa branch was used on the stem and stern crooks and the keel was one length of heart tallowwood or ironbark. Being severely tested in daily service it took a team of shipwrights to keep her in service. Heart kauri was used in many places. The nineteen week voyage from the UK via Suez, and north Australia (30 September 1953 to 12 February 1954) was made without the benefit of radar, AIS, PPUs, gyro compass or ECDIS – just skill and a magnetic compass by the eight crew. The contract made by the Wellington Harbour Board was for a price of £35,000 with £5,000 allowed for the delivery voyage. The Harbour Board sought quotations from builders in NZ and Australia before settling on M W Blackmore in Bideford UK. Radar was fitted on arrival in Wellington at a cost of £1,590. Tiakina was constructed to operate in open water conditions off the port entrance after pilotage was deemed to be compulsory from 1 October 1952 (after a collision between two large ships in the entrance channel in May 1950). With port managers at the time having lived through WW2, Tiakina was also designed to be a cruising examination vessel in times of hostility, hence her generous accommodation.

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  3. Have just been sent an excellent image of CYRENA, taken from the stern quarter, showing her name clearly, (but not on a flash scroll board), by Jason P., & as a result of this, notwithstanding my best efforts at sleuthing, there is no doubt, I was completely wrong.
    However there is one thing I still find mystifying, in that she appears in the original ww-woodys post being launched with the sweep in the deck appearing to be at the back end of the bridgedeck, & it is at the front end in the image I have just received, as with the one in the MYSTERY BOAT image. Anyway at the end of the day I was completely wrong, so, sorry about that, everyone. — KEN R

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  4. She was brought out via Suez Canal with Capt Alec Frazer as master. He was master of Moana Roa on the island run before being taken over by the navy.
    I sailed with him on Tiare Moana before he retired.

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  5. TIAKINA (to take care of) designed by Alex Collings and built by M,W. Blackmore and Son in Bideford England, planked with 52mm makore and powered with two ERL 5/75 Crossleys, each 250hp. She departed Exmouth on October 1 1953 with a crew of eight and arrived Wellington February 12 1954. She required slipping at Colombo after weather damage crossing the Arabian Sea. Voyage distance was about 14,100 nm (26,000km). At 83 feet LOA and 80 tonnes, she was the largest pilot boat on the NZ coast. After just two years service she required major remedial work due to ‘green’ timber being used in her construction. This work took nearly two years and was done by Wellington Harbour Board’s shipwright staff. In 1982 she was extensively rebuilt and re configured by Jorgenson’s of Picton and continued in service. In 1992 she was retired and sold to Auckland owners for a bargain price. She was used for fishing etc before ending up in Dunedin where she fell on better times and is now clearly well loved and transformed into a luxury charter boat. As a retired Wellington pilot, it is heartwarming to see a boat I knew so well still giving good service after nearly 70 years.

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  6. Hah, well said, and well done on the photos Cam, hopefully someone else might chip in with photos of the other 2 wooden ex WHB Pilot Boats – “Uta” and “Tuna”?

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  7. About 15 years ago Tiakina was moored at McMullen and wing’s jetty in Mt Wellington for some weeks. I heard she was for sale, i was told she had been seized by the fisheries for non compliant fishing. I had a look over her but someone had already purchased by then. just a few years ago she was advertised for sale for around $800,000 The interior pics on Trademe showed a very nice interior fit out..I was told the Wellington Harbour Board had the hull planks removed and replaced with Kauri at some stage.

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  8. Tiakina
    Was built 1953 by Bideford Devon England.
    80’ x 19’6” x 8’. Twin D343T Cats 365hp.
    Happy to send you some more pic’s after this weekend.
    Col.

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  9. Notwithstanding my previous comment, that the MSYERY BOAT cannot be the CYRENA /MARITZA II, I believe the MYSERY BOAT, & CYRENA/MARITZA II, are almost certainly sisterships, & both almost certainly built by Dick Lang, around the same time — KEN R

    The above opinion differs from the informed advice WW has received. Alan H

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  10. The MYSTERY BOAT cannot be the CYRENA /MARITZA II, there are many differences, as follows;

    This boat is longer, has a dodger, has only 1 porthole in the bow, & CYRENA has 4, (including one actually under the front end of the bridgedeck) the MSTERY BOAT, also has 4 portholes in the aft end of the coamings, as well as the dodger, which coamings appear a little longer on her, at that end, & CYRENA has 3, & most importantly the CYRENA, has her sweep in the deck, at the aft end of the bridgedeck, & the MYSTERY BOAT, has its sweep in the deck, at the front end, also the forward deck, appears longer in the CYRENA which would give more space for the 4 portholes. — Q.E.D.– KEN R

    The above opinion differs from the informed advice WW has received. Alan H

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