While down South on my Trinidad cruise I spotted Tutanekai dropping off people at the Bay of Many Coves resort in Queen Charlotte Sound. Tutanekai was built by E.R. Lane in Picton in 1930 & measures 42’x10’x3’6”. The zoom zoom comes from a 115hp GM 471 diesel.

She started life as a mothership that towed harpooned whales back to the whaling station. Post those days, she was a mail boat for 30 years, then a fishing boat, & then worked in & around the mussel farming industry for 20 years. When retired she was very run down & her current owner Pete, restored her to what we see today.

These days Tutanekai is the backbone of Pete & wife Takutai’s tourism business – ‘Myths & Legend Eco-Tours’

In the last photo, we see Trinidad at anchor, while we were brunching 🙂

Can any southern woodys tell us any more about Tutanekai?

Harold Kidd Input – E.R. Lane built TUTANEKAI for Charley Perano and K. Sutherland in 1930. Her original engine was a 2 cylinder 18hp Regal. Peranos sold her to M T H Steele in 1936, he sold her to Kennys in 1942, later Queen Charlotte Transport in 1948. Peter Beech owned her in 2002. The Regal was replaced with a 4 cylinder Sterling then a 6 cylinder Hercules in 1935 and a 471 GM in 1946. In 1940 a Government report stated that she had a maximum speed of 10 knots and a range of 180 nm at 8 kn.






Another photo from Nathan Herbert’s recent Southern trip – this one shows the launch Kingston berthed at Havelock.

Putting aside the ‘block-of-flats’ addition, there is an interesting hull hiding there – possibly an old whale chaser ?

If you look at the bow & stern photos of Rorqual below, it could be – what say the woodys?

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Input from Harold Kidd

She was in Havelock in 1942 owned by Dr. Jacobson who used her to get around his patients in the Sounds. see “A Labyrinth of Waterways” by Frank Ponder, p134.

Comment was “converted whale-chaser” but alas not which one.

Great Input from Mark McLaughlin below

As per Harold’s comment, Kingston was used by Dr Vic Jacobson through to the late 1980’s to get around the Pelorus Sound for his motor launch medical service. He used to cover up to 150 nautical miles per day, 6 days per week on his rounds.

Kingston is 37ft long and powered by a big GM diesel. Dr Jacobsen used to wear earmuffs and his patients could hear him coming long before the boat came into view. She was built in Australia and was originally used as a whaler at Norfolk Island. I don’t believe she was never part of the Perano fleet. She had a black hull when used by Dr Jacobson and a small pilothouse at the rear of the boat. The cabin extensions were completed in Havelock in the early 1990’s after Dr Jacobson’s ownership.

I understand prior to the Kingston, Dr Jacobsen used the old Perano whalechaser Balaena (1910) for the serviced, which is also still in Havelock.

There was a two part RNZ interview series with Dr Jacobson onboard Kingston in 1973, which is available online and can be googled for anyone interested. The jimmy is humming away in the background!

17-03-2018 Input from Kelvin Petrie


The Kingston is definitely an ex whale chaser.
She and ‘Cascade’ were imported from Norfork Island to the whaling station at Whangaparapara, Great Barrier Island in the early 60’s their power was a Hall Scot engine.
They joined the Suprise and Oria (might have the spelling of Oria wrong ) The Suprise and Oria were powered by V12 Ford Scrips engines.

I spent time on them all as a 8-10 yr old and have some photos taken by my father of them.


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Mermaid started life as a mullet boat (H14), built in 1914. At some stage she was converted to a launch & used for commercial fishing for many years.

She measures 28’ & is made of kauri carvel planked. Zoom zoom is via 1985 Ford Dover 80hp diesel.

With a little bit of work she would make a nice classic woody – winters coming up – a good project.

Thanks to Ian McDonald for the trademe listing heads up.

Any of the woodys able to tell us more about her past, including the days under sail?

Harold Kidd Input – MERMAID was built by Alan Crossley for his father Capt. G P Crossley of Bayswater in 1914, a 28 footer, basically for cruising. She was ballasted with rocks. Her 1914-22 sail number was 120, her 1922 sail number was H14 (28 footers were lumped into the H Class for 26 footers); her registration as a fishing boat in the 1980s was AK1441. The only racing she did was the odd local race with Bayswater Boating Club during its brief existence. Crossley sold her to W. Oxley of Mercury Bay in 1936 where she had one side stove in when fishing. Later owners included Ron Bowman and Max Brown in the 1960s.





Woody Nathan Herbert snapped the above photo of Susanne, recently will mooching around Havelock.

The B/W photo is from Brian Worthington’s site – NZ Classic Game Boats & states that she was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company.

Can we flush out more details on her past?

Harold Kidd Input – She was registered with Lloyds’ Yacht Register in 1964 when owned by E S Nichol of Bluff. Her builder was given as Lane Motor Boat Co in 1956 and designer as Frederick R Parker. Dimensions were 35’x33’6×11/2’8″ and power twin 125hp 6 cylinder petrol Chryslers.
Who was Parker?


C’est Ia Vie



C’est Ia Vie*

The above clinker runabout is owned by Stuart Donaldson, who is keen to learn more about her past. Stuart has been told that it was designed and possibly built by John Spencer in the late 1960’s /early 1970’s.

Thanks to woody Baden Pascoe who spotted her at Okahu Bay boat ramp over the weekend & took the photos.

Baden commented that she appears to be a very professionally built boat.

So woodys – anyone able to supply more intel on this clinker runabout?

(*French translation = That’s Life)




Unknown-1 copy



Rongotia has featured before on WW , as a Mystery Launch, we uncovered the info below on her. What we did not have back then was any colour, recent times photos. Thanks to both Nathan Herbert’s & my own visits to Waikawa Bay Marina, Picton, we can now see her in her finery. Previous WWW story below –  https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/08/18/rongotai/

Harold Kidd previously commented that she was built by Cox & Filmer in Auckland in 1939 with twin “64hp kerosene engines” she went almost straight into NAPS at Whangarei as Z31 under Les Waldron’s command. He kept her in a shed on the road to Onerahi. He went to see her with John Gladden around 1982. She was still highly original and in her original shed. She had twin Morris Commodores (which may have been original) and was in very tidy order.

 Dawn Wilschefski – advised that she was the only daughter of Les Waldron & can confirm that Rangotai was launched Christmas Day 1939. Her design was Hughie Coxsmith (? see HDK’s comments above). Her Grandfather James Reid was probably consulted during the process. When the Niagara went down her Dad was in Russell but made the trip back in time to join the other boats out on rescue duty. He was also part of the Naval Auxilliary Patrol that started in Whangarei a few months after the sinking but when the Navy took over the organization Rongotai was transferred to Auckland where she served on the boom patrol, specifically  from Whangaparoa to Cape Colville. When her Dad died in 1963, her brother Bert bought Rongatai and used her for family pleasure for a while. He tried to sell her at an exorbitant price but finally used her for a trade in for a Wellington boat (name forgotten) Last she heard of, Rongotai was working as a “slow” cruising boat for tourists in the Marlborough Sounds. Her Dads reason for building her was (a) family pleasure and (b) for deep sea fishing as a founding boat for the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers.

Riwaka Wharf






Riwaka Wharf 

The collection of photos above was sent in by my friend John Burland taken at the Riwaka Wharf, located between Motueka & Kaiteriteri. John commented that Aurora II has been in the channel at Mapua & Royal Saxton (one of my all time favorites) is often at Kaiteriteri Wharf.

Will be interesting to know what is hiding under the boat cover. The (to quote JB) ‘Disney World > Boats of the Future’ boat is c1950 & would have to be an ex life boat ? maybe off the sunken (1986) Russian cruise liner – Mikhail Lermontov.

Input from Brian M – Boat under cover is the “Rhonda Marie”. Wee clunker next to Royal Saxon is “West Bay. Life raft is “Jelly Bean”.
“Kairaki” with blue tarp over cockpit. “Mariner” with 2 masts. Pilot looking boat is the “Ponui”.                                                                                                                                                                     

Input from Ken Ricketts – the last photo (bridgedecker with cover across front windows) is Varlene (previously Lady Sunshine) a Supreme Craft build. Also pictured Ken thinks is Al Marie (or La Marie) in the small strip of photos, 3rd for left.   

Input From Paul Drake

Great to see PONUI in such good condition (photos 6 and 7). Named for Ponui Island, she is a 1907 Logan and was advertised For Sale in the Feb 3, 1912 New Zealand Yachtsman for 700 pounds. She became Napier’s pilot boat until 1950 when she appeared at Lake Taupo and worked commercially until the mid 1960’s. She then went to the top of the South Island (by sea from Napier) before going to the Kaipara Harbour where she continued to work commercially. She appeared on Trade Me in more recent years and was spotted departing Onehunga heading back to the South Island as deck cargo on a coastal ship. She is mentioned in the book ‘U-boat in New Zealand Waters’ – the story of U 862’s war patrol off Gisborne and Napier in 1945. PONUI was observed through the U boat’s periscope leading the coaster PUKEKO out of Napier harbour. (Some hours later, a torpedo was fired at PUKEKO but missed). 

One of my favourite boats. Photos below:

First pic – PONUI when she was the Napier pilot boat. 

Second and third pic – at Taupo, where she was a busy commercial boat. The third pic shows her on the beach at Waihaha in the Western Bays.