About Alan Houghton - waitematawoodys.com founder

What is Waitemata Woodys all about? We provide a meeting point for owners and devotees of classic wooden boat. We seek to capture the growing interest in old wooden boats and to encourage and bring together all those friendly people who are interested in the preservation of classic wooden vessels for whatever reason, be it their own lifestyle, passion for old boats or just their view of the world. We encourage the exchange of knowledge about the care and restoration of these old boats, and we facilitate gatherings of classic wooden boats via working together with traditionally-minded clubs and associations. Are you a Waitemata Woody? The Waitemata Woodies blog provides a virtual meeting point for lovers of classic and traditional wooden boats.
 If you are interested in our interests and activities become a follower to this blog. The Vessels Featured The boats on display here (yes there are some yachts included, some are just to drop dead stunning to over look) require patrons, people devoted to their care and up keep, financially and emotionally . The owners of these boats understand the importance of owning, restoring and keeping a part of the golden age of Kiwi boating alive. The boats are true Kiwi treasure to be preserved and appreciated.

Happy Days (Te Toa)

HAPPY DAYS (Te Toa)
The photo above ex Baden Pascoe shows the launch Happy Days, moored on the Manukau Harbour. At the time she was owned by Ward House, who bought her off Merv Young. Before that she was used as a log tug pulling a barge from Matakana Island to the Tauranga Town Wharf.

Ward these days owns – La Rosa, the 1923 Ernie Harvey built launch. Photo below taken last week moored in the Brian (‘cockney’ slang for the Tamaki River) You can see and read more on La Rosa at this WW link  https://waitematawoodys.com/2021/01/04/la-rosa-flashback/


At some stage Happy Days was renamed Te Toa, keen to uncover more about her and what became of her.

606 Rosebank Road, Avondale

Wairau Estuary – Mystery Boats

Wairau Estuary – Mystery Boats


Ok, maybe I should have said ‘Milford Creek’ in the headline, but you know where I’m talking about. The above photo (c. 1930>39) comes to us ex Andrew Reid, via Maurice Sharp’s fb. The actual location would appear to be near the current ’The Slipway Milford’ railway haul out yard and the Milford Cruising Clubs hard stand area. And just be coincidence I will be sliding up that piece of water at 7am today.


Can we ID the craft? I have included close-up photos below to help.

Input from Graeme Sapwell – The Flush deck launch in bottom photo is Webster’s – Reta W. outside his property .
Input from Harold Kidd – RETA W was built by R Malcolm in the creek for T.G. Webster in November 1925. Linc Wood always thought it amusing that her name is “Water” spelt backwards.

Matai And A Matter Of Urgency 

Matai And A Matter Of Urgency 

Today’s tale comes to us from Bay of Islands woody – John Gander via Dean Wright and covers a wee oops that the 1967 Jorgensen built woody workboat had in Port Hardy, in the Marlborough Sounds in the mid to late 1970’s. As always,I’ll let John tell the story. 


“Our phone rang in the early morning and there was a certain amount of urgency in the callers voice ‘Rutherford’, the ‘Matai’ is aground in Port Hardy, get your gear together, I have a chopper standing by at Omaka get here as quick as you can. 

The caller was Bill Rutherford, marine assessor, I had done a lot of salvage work and repairs with Bill, and I knew the Matai and Gerry Fissenden her then owner-skipper. 

Maitai is a carvel built launch designed and built by Peter ‘Pop’ Jorgensen at his Waikawa Bay boatyard for Ray Roach. Ray was a well known and very experienced commercial launch man in the Marlborough Sounds, and with a majority of properties in the Sounds having no road access at this time, tow boats with a punt astern or alongside were a common sight, often loaded with building materials and machinery, or farm stock. 

Pop Jorgensen’s brief was to design and build a manoeuvrable, strong tow boat with a good towing post, to handle a sixty foot punt, she was powered by a 4-71. N series G.M. with a 3:1 reduction with a four blade Nalder propeller, and launched in 1967. 

I arrived at Omaka airdrome as the helicopter was being made ready, a quick loading of my tools including dive gear, tanks and air lift bags. We didn’t know at this stage if Matai would be above or below water, there was one possible complication. It is very rare to see fog in Blenheim, but this day was one of those rare days, thick fog not ideal for flying in such restricted visibility. With a heavily loaded helicopter with three of us aboard the pilot’s option was to fly just above the main highway and follow it to Havelock, I was relieved to see the fog was clearing as we flew out over the water at Havelock, it was here that the pilot thrust a lands and survey map into my hand, saying you know the way guide me in the right direction. 

I was a bit concerned at this low altitude flying it takes a bit of getting used to, but one thing we wouldn’t have far to go before a splash, and it was a bit of a relief for me, as we just cleared the hills at Port Ligar to fly across Admiralty Bay to Port Hardy, d’Urville island. As we flew over we could now see the predicament that Matai was in. 

There was a gale of N.W. in Tasman Bay and the Cook Strait, and Gerry had left the punt anchored with a load of sheep aboard in Wells Arm, and was then making his way in East Arm towards Allman Bay when right on H.W. Matai went up on an off lying rocky point, it was about a 3.2 m.tide that was falling and we could see the urgency of the situation. 

A great thing about a chopper is that a quick fly around gave us a good look and we could see that some props were needed and fast before she healed over much more, there were some sizeable Manuka trees further up the hill but nowhere to land nearby on the flat at hight tide. As the pilot brought one skid to rest on a rocky outcrop on the side of the hill, I was given instructions to keep my head down when I got out with sharp saw in hand, he didn’t have to emphasise these instructions. In quick time I was up the hill to cut three good size Manuka and then slide these down to the waiting dinghy, it was a wet job but we had these in place with not too much time to spare and Matai was made secure as she continued to dry out. 

Bill put a call out and the Trawler ‘Marina May’ left Motueka to make her way to d’Urville Island in heavy seas, she had a rough passage but arrived before high water in the late afternoon and a tow line was made ready. Her skipper Robie Bloomfield positioned her just right and with a gentle hand on the power, eased ‘Marina May’ ahead quietly and with her own engine assisting Matai cleared the rocks and was afloat and away from the point. 

It was three days before the sea subsided enough for us to leave and see Matai on her way, but she had comfortable accomodation and Bill and I were still on the payroll until we left Port Hardy. I think the Insurance company was well pleased with only a slipping and a small section of keel batten to be replaced”.

606 Rosebank Road, Avondale

Manaaki – A Peek Down Below

MANAAKI – A Peek Down Below


The 1928 Collings & Bell built 36’ launch – Manaaki appeared on WW back in 2015 (updated in 2018) and now thanks to a tme listing, we get to see down below.

Powered by a 75hp Ford, Manaaki has a  95 year old history of game fishing in the Bay of Islands, which she is still doing today.
Check out the WW link below for lots of history and old photos on Manaaki
https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/08/10/manaaki/

606 Rosebank Road, Avondale