Midnight II

I received an email last week from Ross Dawson, a passionate woody fan, Ross resides in Kawakawa Bay and let me know that he had just visited Peter Chamberlin in a retirement home and he kindly gave permission for Ross to take a few copies of photos in his family photo album. Peter’s son David now manages the family farm at Motunau (the South end of Ponui Island).
The launch – Midnight lI according to notes in Peter Chamberlin’s photo album, was a petrol powered launch built for Peter’s father Fred (son of Charles jnr) by Lanes in 1928 and was sold to Ian Chamberlin in 1950, when Fred took delivery of the Colin Wild built diesel launch – Motunau. WW would love to learn more about Midnight II and what became of her.This weekend I will share the story of – Midnight, the Chamberlin’s yacht.
Before we finish today – Ross has a hobby horse he would like to exercise 🙂 I’ll let Ross tell the story

“I want to comment on, what seems to be a common theme whereby Aucklanders from the earliest colonial times right up to the present day, seem to think that privately-owned Gulf islands are a legitimate place to wander at will, help one’s self to whatever is lying around, and to depart leaving behind much more than one’s footprints! The old newspaper articles surprised me that petty theft, and not so petty theft was perhaps as common in 1800’s as it is today.

The first items I noticed, up to about 1900, were advertisements promising rewards for “information leading to the prosecution of persons who had stolen large quantities of standing and cut wood”…probably tea tree I am guessing. ( Auckland used huge quantities of firewood for domestic heating & cooking in colonial times) 

From about 1900 for perhaps 30 years, the adverts changed to dire threats of prosecution for dastardly scow operators helping themselves to beach shingle. (Ted Ashby’s book “Phantom Fleet” gives a good explanation of illegal shingle extraction) 

Other newspaper public notices refer to other problems of shooting of pigs and farm stock. It seems the Chamberlin families might have been justified in having jaundiced views about their mainland neighbours, and it is surprising that they have managed to maintain a reputation of being gracious hosts to visitors and willing helpers to boatees in need of rescue.

Even today, they deserve better from the wider Auckland public. As a long time yachtsman myself, often anchoring in Ponui’s many bays, I am sometimes horrified by the casual way boating people feel it okay to roam over the island, sometimes even with their dogs. Some even think it okay to browse around the farm buildings…do they actually think Ponui is public estate?

And while I am on a rant, where do all the plastic bait bags littering the beaches come from…not accidental discharges from Auckland storm water drains! A great stain on the reputation of the majority of well behaved boating community. My heart goes out to the Island owners who also pay eye-watering land rates to a City Council that does very little by way of public services which we take for granted on the mainland.”

Update ex Ross Dawson – he meant to add – “No criticism intended”

9 thoughts on “Midnight II

  1. “However it will always be a hard argument to win, when exclusive estates are painted as victims”.
    It’s a farm. Surrounded by water. It’s not a gated community. Recently shooed off some folk raiding a neighbour’s (rural) home orchard. Usual response: “There weren’t no fences, didn’t think it belonged to no-one”. If you’ve bought a property, it’s exclusive. To you.


  2. Super pics of MIDNIGHT II!
    Lanes always did a lovely job for the Chamberlins.
    I eagerly await the story of the first MIDNIGHT.


  3. Tongue in cheek I am playing devil’s advocate here. Indeed our boatshed has suffered vandalism over the years, curious trespassers have come ashore and wandered where legally they should not. ‘Crops’ have been planted in forested areas, you name it and it has washed up on the beaches (even hats, Vaughan). As I grew up, the no trespassing sign on the beach gate faded and made little difference, people still venture in. Security and private property do matter and are important, and it’s very cool when landowners don’t fold to development… However it will always be a hard argument to win, when exclusive estates are painted as victims.


  4. Hi all, Yes my comments were a bit of a rant, and invite the obvious responses, but, just to give a little balance, clearly like most problems, it is a small minority. Most boatees are aware of a need to lift our game on rubbish disposal. I try to pick up at least some of the plastic as we wander along the foreshore, and I observe many actually go ashore with a bag to specifically collect rubbish.
    Also it is probable that a lot of rubbish comes out of stormwater drains off the mainland. However, you don’t need to be a sleuth to note the large number of bait bags that somehow “fell overboard” from the fishing fraternity…shame on them.
    And on the subject of private property, we boatees surely enjoy the large areas of public estate on the many islands under DOC or Council “management”. Is it asking too much to be a little respectful of those islands privately owned, by all means visiting the beaches but not wandering at will?
    As I noted in my article to Alan, as a farm owner (mainland) myself, and with boating observations over 50 plus years, I have huge respect for the owners of island farms. To my certain knowledge, there have been literally hundreds of boatees who have received unstinting help from island owners in times of trouble. Is it too much to ask to treat them with a little sympathy? They get a remarkably poor deal for the high rates they pay to councils.


  5. After a recent visit to Ponui (easter) the owners have made it very clear with signage that visitors are not welcome at all !


  6. I have to agree with JB.
    Nath I’m not sure if the school holidays are doing you any good. That’s a forceful rant for 6.30 am.
    High fences and security should never be the answer to protect private property. I object to even locking my car when I come ashore from Gt Barrier.
    As for “ rubbish washes up everywhere “ , that doesn’t make it ok, in fact your resignation to this occurrence is saddening. People should never be able to get away with dumping their rubbish in the sea in this day and age. I’ve been picking up “ Auckland’s “ rubbish from the beaches of Okupu for forty years. I have a nice maritime cap collection as evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tiny violin? All I hear is an uninvolved party – not the owner – documenting decades of abuse of private property. A Givealittle page to help pay the rates? Where did that come from? Ross is simply asking people to show respect when they visit. Or can I come round to your place and help myself to your vege patch?


  8. I’m sorry- but all I hear is a tiny violin. Nobody is about to set up a Givealittle page to help a private owner pay rates or protect their valuable asset. Build high fences and install cameras and warnings if you must. Rubbish washes up everywhere, and not everyone has private beaches where they can turn their noses up at plastic on the beach, or scream their lungs out at wandering trespassers every few days. Do something about it- engage yacht clubs to do beach cleans with a hosted bbq at the end, or an annual cleanup party with after-match function for instance.


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