Kokoru Ravaged In Marina Fire – A CALL FOR HELP

Where it started – if only the wind had been blowing the other way


Late on the afternoon of 14-03-2022 I started receiving messages from woodys about a fire at east Aucklands – Pine Harbour Marina , that was / had desecrated 5 vessels. Looking at the early photos coming thru on social media – one of the vessels appeared to be a classic launch. Within minutes another image appeared that clearly showed that the woody was the 1960 Jack Morgan built 38′ woody – Kokoru. A woody that less than 4 weeks before I was crawling over taking photos of, post a 18+ month restoration that included her owners spending most of the CV-19 lockdowns working on her. On that day do not think I have seen more proud and happy boat owners and a week later they attended the Woodys Picnic at Stillwater and Kokoru was rafted up on the wharf for everyone to view. 

While taking photos the owners asked that I just use only a few exterior ones on WW and that when she was 100% dressed up, I could reveal more. Well woodys sadly that day never came, as Kokoru was one of the vessels at Pine Harbour that through no fault of their own, was left in ruins by an onboard fire on a neighbouring boat – with the combined size of the insurance claim being seven+ figures I won’t speculate, other to say the dockside chat is that the explosion > fire was related to a battery installation. 

I posted one photo of Kokoru the following day, but in respect to her owners, refrained from showing more. 

Last Friday talking with the owners, who are still distressed with the whole affair, I was thrilled to be told that the decision had been made to rebuild Kokoru – a mammoth undertaking, that has some big hurdles upfront – the first being – where to find the kauri, that magical timber that sadly these days you can not just order from Placemakers. 

So woodys todays story has two parts:

(1) to congratulate the owners on making the rebuild call – to quote them “you can’t take it with you but you can leave a legacy”

(2) to shout out to the classic wooden boating community for a source for the kauri Kokoru needs  – which is approx 8 lengths approx 150mm x ideally 8 metres. But beggars can’t be choosers so it’s what ever can be found. Obviously prepared to pay – any ideas on who we can talk to – contact me on waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Kokoru has made several appearances on WW before so I have included the links below to her back story. Its interesting to read that she is no stranger to incidents that would have been the end of most modern day vessels – back on 10th April 1968 during Wellington’s Wahine ferry disaster (loss of 51 lives on the day), Kokoru was one of the vessels that went out to assist the rescue of the passengers – after returning one load she headed out again and was rolled on her beam by a monster wave, the force of which ripped one of engines from its bed. Kokoru limped back to port, taking on water. But as a testament to Jack Morgan’s boat building skills, Kokoru was hauled out and repaired. 

WAHINE DISASTER https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/02/26/kokoru/

POST RELAUNCH (11/02/22)  https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/02/11/kokoru-a-sneak-peek/

FIRST EXTENDED TRIP (28/02/22).  https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/02/28/woody-classic-waterfront-picnic-weekend/

The gallery of photos below are reproduced purely as a record of the craftsmanship and mastery that went into the refit of Kokoru and to provide inspiration and reference during the rebuild. As always click on photos to enlarge.

9 thoughts on “Kokoru Ravaged In Marina Fire – A CALL FOR HELP

  1. annnnddddd here we go again. Ken, you typed the answer to any woods durability yourself. Tanalised. You could have built that boat out of Tanalised Radiata pine and it would have been as good as your Tanalised Fijian Kauri. I wouldn’t touch the stuff with a barge pole.


  2. Jason, Sorry I can’t agree with you on this occasion as my TAIRRI was built for me, in 3 skins of tanalised Fijian Kauri, in 1979, with dynal fibreglass cloth over the hull, & when she came to the end of her life 2 or 3 years ago, the hull was absolutely & always had been, as sound everywhere as the day she went in the water & not the slightest sign of rot anywhere. It was so sad to see a boat that was so absolutely sound & strong come to her end the way she did. — KEN R


  3. look for some clear heart macroarpa from cypress sawmills or bbs timbers hard to tell the difference from heart kauri


  4. @Peter Loughlin – agreed. The discharge and charge capability of the modern chemistry means that a simple short from some chafe or a loose connection can be in the order of hundreds of amps. A lithium battery starts its thermal runaway process anywhere between 80 & 120deg depending on design / state of health / abuse mechanism. I have seen arcs from these work like a gas axe.


  5. And be careful of the plug in 100a/h or above Lithium power packs charging on 12V lighter plugs… we recently had a guest on board who brought one to power his sleep apnea/anti snoring machine overnight. Supposedly it charged at 12V/10amps but in reality it would take everything and more that the alternator threw at it. In our case 12V 150A. I smelt plastic burning and pulled the 12V plug out as it dissolved through the heat in 10 minutes. Lucky escape, never again..


  6. I was looking for some Kauri on behalf of a friend, a few years ago now, & I found some at Cashmore Bros.in Silverdale. It was actually Fijian Kauri in this case but it was exactly the same product I was assured by all experts I spoke to, so could be worth a try.

    My heart goes out to those poor owners as she was looking sssooo stunning, & they had obviously lavished much love on her very recently. — KEN R


  7. Heartbreaking for the owners.

    If it’s the sort of battery fire I am imagining, I really do urge people to thoroughly reconsider installation of a large lithium Ion bank without the services, code compliance and guarantees of professional installers.

    Fire and Emergency NZ will not attempt to extinguish a lithium Ion battery fire unless it is a threat to life. These batteries self fuel when fully engaged and produce significant amounts of Hydrogen Fluoride gas (highly corrosive, toxic and explosive, with very low lethal dose volumes) along with a number of other extremely nasty compounds during their thermal runaway process. The energy density is significant and the outcomes the same – you absolutely cannot just slap together a battery bank, charger and BMS and think “she’ll be right”.

    Having watched significant battery banks like this go up, even after the most thorough and well applied design processes by highly qualified engineers, they are not to be messed with by amateurs or inexperienced folk.

    I have been really concerned about the recent prevalence of DIYers installing such on their boats. Watch this space as this won’t be the last episode unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

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