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.

Mystery Lake Boat and Location + Quick Poll

Mystery Lake Boat & Location

WW was sent the above photo by Shelley Campbell, who uncovered the photo amongst some old slides that belonged to her grandparents. Shelly resides in Australia and commented that she had family in NZ and took cruises from Australia to visit them in the 1960’s and 1970’s. 

Unfortunately none of the slides are labelled so Shelley has been trying to figure out where the photos are taken using Google image search, the WW site came up in one of those searches for the above photo. 

So woodys the question today is – can we ID the location and launch – Shelley was thinking possibly Lake Taupo or Lake Wanaka. 

Lady Gillian – Flashback

Lady Gillian – Flashback 

The launch – Lady Gillian (Gillian) has made numerous appearances on WW, starting back in 2014 when we were trying to track down her whereabouts and lasting in 2020 when she had just undergone some enhancements to her appearance – see 2nd photo.

The b/w photo above comes to us from Gillian Lander who contacted WW regarding the vessel. I have reproduced Gillian’s note below :- 

“I have just discovered a whole lot of pics online of what was my grandfather’s launch c.1942ish  ‘Lady Gillian’ – named after me, born 1942.  My grandfather, Augustus [Gus] Seymour Henshaw was an Auckland business man. There was also the Lady Sarah…. I think belonging to the Heard family [Heards Sweets] The boat was sold in ? 1960s and went to Wellington I understand. Presumed it long gone. I see it is now painted white and in the South Island. Many years at Westhaven. Somewhere I have a photo of her with its numbering required during WWII. Wonderful childhood memories. Its’ previous life I understand was as a trader in the islands, the old girl has certainly been about”

In the photo of Lady Gillian with her wartime ID lettering – the location is the Waitemata Harbour.  Possibly somewhere near the Birkenhead headland, with the Chelsea Sugar Works in the distance. No Harbour Bridge in those days.

WW 2014  https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/10/14/lady-gillian/

WW 2016  https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/12/13/lady-gillian-2/

WW 2020  https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/01/15/lady-gillian-3/

NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show 2023 (Nelson Lakes)

NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show 2023 (Nelson Lakes) 

Today thanks to the camera of Michael Brownee we get to take in the amazing woody craft and spectacular scenery at Lake Rotoiti, South Island for the 2023 NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show that was recently held (March 4>5)

Michael has captured the essence and spirit of the event beautifully , if he not a professional photographer , he should be 🙂

I attended the show 3>4 years ago and it should be on every woodys bucket list.

As always – click on photos to enlarge 😉



Earlier in the week a nugget of gold dropped into my inbox – Mark Newcomb sent in a copy of his families yacht – TAMATEA A20 log book (refer PDF file link below to read)

The log book covers the background to the building of the yacht and her first race + some wonderful insights into life in the WWII period.

Tamatea was designed by A.C. Robb and built by A. Couldrey, launched in Jan 1937.

Amazingly the yacht was built from one kauri log, grown on the owners property in Waitakere (note: log was from a ‘dead’ tree)

Click on the blue text below to open the PDF file, the original of the log book is in the hands of the Maritime Museum, so probably this file is the only record, given the Museum’s track record with ‘losing’ things 😦

MYSTERY SPEEDBOAT – Russell, Bay of Islands

MYSTERY SPEEDBOAT – Russell, Bay of Islands

The photos above were sent in by Steve Taylor who spotted the framed photo on the wall in the Duke of Marlborough waterfront hotel in Russell, Bay of Islands. The location is obviously in front of the Duke in Russell.

Steve commented that with those canards on the bow she looked like a c.1930’s racing / record attempt craft. 

Can we shed some light on the craft?

Venture – Where Is She

VENTURE – WHERE IS SHE – WW cap Up For Grabs

Todays WW story started last week – I’m standing in the queue to catch the Waiheke Island > Devonport ferry and the lady (Penny Ericson)  behind me asks if I’m from Tasmania, now it was Friday afternoon and I had been to lunch so the brain took a few milli seconds to engage. I was wearing an Aust. Wooden Boat Festival t-shirt and the logo was plastered over the back of the shirt. I explain no I’m not, and then Penny tells me she is off to Tasmania in 7 days time for a holiday, so being the nice person I am I give her my ’Things you must do / see in Hobart’ speech. I then open the photo gallery on my iPhone and back the story up with photos. She comments that there are a lot of boat photos and I explain why and tell the waitematawoodys story. 

Snap – she knows the site and was in fact about to email me concerning her grandfather > fathers launch named Venture.

After that long led in I’ll let Penny tell her story – 

“This is Penny , I met you on the Waiheke ferry the other day and we discussed the fact that I would love to know what happened to my father and grandfathers boat that he used on the lakes in Rotorua as a charter fishing launch . 
I think that it operated out of the fishing camp on the Ohau channel , and the Harvey family lived in a house on Lake Rotorua on the other side of the channel .
As you will see from the above photos the launch was called Venture, and the Log book below begins in 1937 and finishes in 1941. 

No one in the family knows what happened to the boat but I had a feeling someone thought it may have been sold to someone in Auckland .
I was delighted to meet you and you sounded so positive that you may be able to find the boat for me .
In the bottom photo my father John or “Jack” Harvey is on the left . He was distinctive as he had a wooden peg leg having lost a leg on the western front in WW1. All his life despite his disability he was a marvellous fisherman and boatman. I grew up in Torbay so was always in boats as a kid, Dad building many dinghy’s for us .

Thank you Alan , I would greatly appreciate finding the boat and maybe the original logbook needs to be reunited with the boat”

So woodys can we help Penny in her search for the launch Venture and along the way learn more about her and what became of her.

17-03-2023 INPUT ex HAROLD KIDD – VENTURE was bought by K H Wilson of Rotorua in 1947 and fitted with a 52hp Graymarine engine. He kept her until at least 1955.

I’ll reward the woody that is the most helpful with a WW cap.

VENTURE LOG – Might be a familiar name featured



Todays Bay of Islands photo gallery comes to us from Dean Wright and we have from top to bottom:

• Stella Maris coming through the Kent Passage

• Taree, Volantis and Zaca all in Pipi Bay

Volantis looking rather majestic after a recent dose of TLC.



Ian Smith from the Sydney Wooden Boat School has just aired a new video he shot during the recent Aust Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. Its titled ‘Around the Boatyards Ep2’ – and focuses the Cygnet Wooden Boat yard and we get a great overview of the recently relaunched 1896 C&W Bailey (NZ) built 45’ yacht Te Uira.

Also an overview of other CWB projects recently completed or underway. Enjoy.

Special thanks to Andrew Christie for the heads up on the video

Lots of background on Te Uira and photos of the restoration at the links below

Previous 2015 WW story https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/07/15/sos-1896-chas-bailey-yacht-to-be-broken-up/

Previous 2019 WW story https://waitematawoodys.com/2019/05/19/restoration-of-te-uira-begins/

Woodys On The Northern Wairoa and Kaipara Harbour


Woodys On The Northern Wairoa and Kaipara Harbour

Todays collection of craft comes to us from the Kauri Museum at Matakohe via Diane Wilkinson’s fb.

From top to bottom:

1. Unknown launch – can we ID her

2. Swanee – featured on WW in 2015 – link https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/08/29/swanee/

3. Unknown launch – can we ID her

4. Rona W – possibly this boat – 2021 WW story https://waitematawoodys.com/2021/04/15/could-this-be-rona/

Three Minutes Of Wooden Boat Porn

3 Minutes Of Wooden Boat Porn

Last month I bombarded you with a several photo galleries of the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival.  As part of the wrap up of the festival, the organising crew have pulled together a 3min short film that utilises a lot of aerial film footage. The video gives us a wonderful overview of the festival, the Hobart harbour and waterfront – if there is any saw dust in your blood – Hobart February 2025 needs to be circled on your calendar. As festival director – Paul Stephanus says “This festival is one of a kind” . And its the largest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and surprise surprise woodys – its free, no charge – we like that.

Find a comfortable chair and prepare to be wowed.  

TIP: To enlarge screen size – scroll over the screen above and click on the icon I have highlighted below

RSVP (boat name & approx crew #) TO waitematawoodys@gmail.com