Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Back in February 2022 we ran a story, link below, on an unknown launch (2nd photo above) at an unknown location. At the time the location was ID’ed as Lake Okataina, Rotorua. The was a couple of potential ID’d on the launch from the two of the WW wise men 🙂

Harold Kidd suggested it may have been the bridgedecker – Merlin, owned by Beamish-White, that later went to Kawhia

Paul Drake was keen on her being the launch – Karina, that was in commercial service at Taupo in the 1960’s, owned by Jim Story.

Today thanks to Greg Philpott uncovering the top photo from the Archive NZ collection – taken by JG Duncan, we get a much better view of the launch, which was tagged 1951, Lake Okataina – so hopefully we can confirm her name and builder etc

Link to previous WW story

Mystery Waikato Launch (Lady Joyce > Lady Jane) + WW T-shirt Orders

Mystery Waikato Launch (Lady Joyce > Lady Jane)

The above photo comes to us ex Jon Morey via Maurice Sharp’s fb. The truck has ‘Roost – Mercer’ on the cab so I’m assuming its a Waikato boat, but could be very wrong.

She does look very familiar, I’m sure Nathan Herbert will be able to ID her.

INPUT ex John Bullivant – boat is ‘Lady Joyce’, built by Willy Oliver on his farm at Pukekawa and launched in the Waikato in the late 40s. Pic is apparently around 1949. Truck belonged to Ceaser Roose (Roose Ind Mercer) and was apparently one of two  bought back from Pear Harbour. (info and photo from the Road Transport & Contracting archives Facebook page)

INPUT (+. photos below) ex Ken Ricketts – later renamed Lady Jane


The price of the WW t-shirts has stayed the same for many years – sadly that is about to end – the buy price has been jumping up for the last 2 years. Sure I could source cheaper garments, but that is not what we are about – only source top line, 100% cotton.

So woodys I have the following existing stock – so be quick, first in first served limited sizes, refer below. Note: going forward will most likely only stock large and XL sizes 

SMALL s/s – 2 only black

LARGE s/s – 4 only black + 9 only slate grey

XL long sleeve  – 5 only black – light weight, organic cotton

XL s/s – 3 only black

2XL s/s – 4 only black

3XL s/s – 3 only black

PRICE $34.95 (INCL GST) + $5 P&P

ORDERING: Because of the small numbers I’ll keep it simple – just drop me an email at with your size/s and quantity and I’ll get back to you and confirm if there is still stock.

Rata Revisted


Last month (Oct 16th) we dd a story on the launch – Rata based around a Lew Redwood fb photo, then Ray Morey came on and embellished the story with lots more details  – link below to that story.

Next up Mark McLaughlin drops a note advising he had found the above photos in his late father’s collection, which Marks thinks would be from the 1950’s. He wondered if it could be the same boat? and commented that whether or not the boat is Rata, he was 99% certain it will be one of the Johnson’s mail boat fleet of which Rata also belonged to, operating from Havelock. Mark had heard his Dad mention Rata many times. I’ll let Mark tell the rest of the story – 

The forward bulwark and twin masts are obviously missing here but the hull is a good match and the end of the aft lower belting lines up with the aft cabin porthole in the same location. The forward cabin appears shorter though in the Rata photos in the original post. 

Regardless, the photo underway is a great look back in time at how the commercial boys used to roll. The safety police would be having heart attacks if they saw that now. As per most of the Johnson’s mail boats of the time though, she looks like she has a good turn of speed (and nobody fell off).

Most of the clinker dinghies in Havelock at the time (like the one in the photo) where built there by Tom Hutchison out of Kahikatea. They were large and heavy but could take a good beating in day to day use.”

Mark also did a google search and uncovered the photo below of Rata from the ‘Johnson’s Barge Service’ website, showing her well laden with logs. This is an earlier photo of Rata but appears to support her being the same boat in Marks photos. The photo is tagged ‘1930’s – Rata was built by Eric and his brother Frank in Havelock. White pine for the construction was cut in the Nydia Bay by the Wells family’ 

LINK to Johnson Barge Service website

So the question today that would be nice to confirm – is boat above the same boat that appeared in the Oct. 16th WW story

Mystery Kawau Island Classic Woody – ALMEDA

Mystery Kawau Island Classic Woody – ALMEDA

Todays woody looks familiar but the penny hasn’t dropped with me in terms of a name. She was anchored / moored in a small bay on the right, 1/2 way along, coming into Bon Accord Harbour, Kawau Island over Labour weekend.I didn’t write down the location but if my life depended on it I would say its – Shark Bay.

The ‘game’ poles are very distinctive so hopefully someone can tell us more about the boat

UPDATE The answer thanks to Alan Sexton and Martin Howson is ALMEDA


Mystery Launch 01-11-2023 – Waipeke

Mystery Launch 01-11-2022 – Waipeke

Todays woody photo was sent in by Nathan Herbert and comes to us from Lance Lange, grandson of boatbuilder Phil Lang, so there’s your 1st clue 😉 Rather a smart looking woody – can we put a name to her?

UPDATE – as advised by everyone and confirmed by Nathan Herbert – the launch is – Waipeke. Photo below ex Ken Ricketts

Wooden Boat Folk Series – today we also get to view latest release from the crew at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, the video showcases the 1892 yacht – Clara. Launched in 1892 by Thomas Williams at the Domain Slipway in Hobart. 

Clara is possibly the 2nd oldest wooden craft in Tasmania still afloat. Enjoy !

Read more on the up coming (Feb 10 >13th 2023) festival here

Mystery Opua Big Game Launch – Its Noelani


The above photo recently popped up on Maurice Sharp’s fb and generated some speculation as to the identity of the launch. The photo is dated 1976.

Several suggested Lady Doreen but the LD that I’m aware of didn’t have any forward portholes and the ones on this boat are very distinctive being a combination of oblong and circular. 

Brian Worthington suggested Noelani (Oliver & Gilpin) but nothing like the 2015 photo of Noelani that has appeared before on WW (refer below) unless there has been some major work done to her or maybe there were more than one sharing the name?

Can anyone correctly ID the launch?

UPDATE – Quite a bit of chat in the comments section, it would appear that the launch above is the Oliver & Gilpin designed and built – Noelani (not the one below). Thanks to Greg Philpott for sending in this link that tells the back story of the Oliver & Gilpin boat building dynasty

(The launch above was launched as Lady Rosaland designed by Owen Woolley and built by Oliver and Gilpin – input ex Brian Worthington)



 The photo above of the launch – Tamure comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings family boating album. The photo was tagged 30-01-1978, and that woodys is all we know about her. Safe to assume its ex Navy, but I’m often wrong.

Do we know more about her and what became of Tamure?

Hopefully lots of boating photos tomorrow from my Labour weekend sortie in / a around Kawau Island.


Mystery Launch Off Devonport Yacht Club – Raumati II > Moeraki


Todays mystery launch photo comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings fb from the Parsonson Family collection.

There appears to be a working-bee underway at the Devonport Yacht Club on what must be the western slipway.

The Mason Clipper in the photo must help date the photo.

19-10-2022 INPUT FROM FRANK WARNOCK I am almost certain that the launch in Mondays report moored off the Devonport Yacht Club was Happy Wanderer owned by John Senior. The working bee was replacing a rail on the Western slipway or cementing an existing one back after a storm. The date would be the 1960s.

30-10-2022 INPUT ex Nathan Herbert – the vessel is Raumati II > Moeraki





The launch Rata recently made an appearance on Lew Redwoods fb, a WW search comes up with several craft of the same name but not this woody. The location looks ’southern’ to my eyes.

Can we expand of her past and current location?

19-10-2022 Input ex Ray Morey – After Whangarei Towboats folded up, (Jack Fisher, Kay Fisher and Ivan Rolfe) Ivan bought Rata from a ship broker in Auckland where she was lying. We brought her up to Whangarei where we put a heavy panting beam across behind the engine and mounted a towpost bridge behind the wheelhouse, after the style of the Alert, where the load was transfered to the deck, not the cabins.She had a 4-71 with 2:1 red box so swung a decent prop.I spent a lot of time towing one of the W.H.B. bottom dump suction dredge barges, mostly “Rua” with her mainly on the main channel before Westminster came in and deepened the place. We also did provisioning of the oil tankers at Marsden Point and bunkering oils for the ships. I knew she had come from the sounds area origionally. When “A.A. Tankcleaning” sold her I believe she went “up to the islands” as a village supply boat but was lost soon after. I was driving her about 1964-65.

Photo Below – by again ex Ray Morey of Rata off Onerahi about 1965 when owned by Ivan Rolfe.

Something From Left Field 

Like most classic woody boating enthusiasts I’m not a fan of jet skis / personal water craft etc – they have a habit of shattering the peace and quiet in a bay. The ones used for fishing are all good. The one below is almost starting to look ok, lose the white on white paint scheme and it would be very cool.



Todays WW story is short and sweet – spent most of yesterday driving back from up north, the road works are so bad – the Brynderwyn Hills were reduced to single lane, so traffic was backed up for miles, and each ‘pass’ took 20+ minutes. And that was just one of numerous minor projects that looked like they had been turned into major projects given the number of orange cones 🙂 

Above we have a photo of a launch named Tassie that was sent in by Mike Mulligan and comes from the family collection. The photos tagged ‘H.M.S. Tassie – Mr & Mrs Gilmore & tart at the back’, one can only assume the ’T’ was well known to the photographer, hopefully or else a strong legal letter might be coming my way 🙂

Do we know anything about Tassie?

Input from Nathan Herbert – Certainly a Coulthard. Coulthard’s daughter told me a story about an issue of non-payment involving Tassie or Tassie II in which he refused to let the boat leave at the railway/wharf(was she being shipped down country?) until accounts had been settled.Photo below ex Rosemary Robinson’s grandfather Coulthard collection.