WENNA (Rangitira)

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WENNA (Rangitira)
The 32’ c.1920’s launch Wenna has appeared several times on WW, links to those stories below – lots of details and photos.
Back in 2014 Harold Kidd shared with us that Jack Taylor had given him the good oil on Wenna. Jack used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about Wenna. Also an amusing tale as to how she got her name 🙂
She was launched as Wenna and at some stage renamed Rangitira and then changed back by Pam Cundy at the Whangateau boat yard when they restored her back in 2014. Subsequently ownership changed to Brent (sorry do not know the surname) who undertook an extensive refurbishment – as we view her above. 
1. She was built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the name ‘Wenna’ stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as ‘Peggy’ O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought Wenna back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow. 
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.



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RSVP– you and your boats name + approx. numbers to sueedwards@xtra.co.nz



Waratah is a 28’9” kauri launch built in 1924 by Alf Bell & when launched was called ‘All Bell’. The name has an amusing twist to it in that All Bell refers to the fact that the boat had no ‘Collings’ in her i.e. Alf Bell had no time for his former business partner Chas. Collings (Collings & Bell).

Waratah is powered by a 60hp Izuzu diesel & cruises at approx. 8 knots. Currently in the middle of a ‘rolling restoration’ she is in good running order & for sale on trademe.

Harold Kidd Update

Alf Bell was a boatbuilder and a crack engineer as well. He did all of the engine installations when he was a partner in Collings & Bell. He left the firm to go to Walsh Bros’ flying boat school at Kohimarama during WW1, doing the aero engine work there.
I had the privilege of clearing out the basement of his house in St Mary’s Bay many years ago as he was a distant relative. Several of the high quality engines and transmissions I found there are now motoring eg a very early single cylinder Cadillac engine which drove a bandsaw, the wheels of which were de Dion Bouton wooden-spoked veteran road wheels. There was a 1912 Wolseley complete from radiator to diff. Beautiful stuff. Any many other treasures.
ALL BELL was a fast boat as Alf fitted her with a 6 cylinder Sunbeam engine early in her career.

09-12-2015 – An amusing update
Karen Goa’s husband Ken (who’s a boat builder) has always admired the launch Waratah. Some years ago we were lucky enough to have access to her, so we spent some happy hours pootling around the harbour.
For his 60th birthday recently (the week the Waratah sold on TradeMe), we had a big house party – with a ‘Waratah’ cake, photo attached. It was delicious.


01-01-2016 Input from previous owner Alastair MacKenzie

“I lived in Schoolhouse Bay for a few years from about 1964 . I worked for Herman Holdings (an offshoot of Herman Timber Co. of Whangarei). Charlie Herman owned most of the land from Schoolhouse Bay across to the Coppermine and down to Sth. Harbour and my job involved logging pine to be barged to the mill at Whangarei as logs, wharf piles and farm posts etc. We (that is Barney Mahanga and I) also largely built the wharf and laid the foundation for the motels on the bay beachfront.

I looked around for a vessel for my family and I to explore further and go fishing and found the launch Waratah in the next bay around toward Mansion House. She had been used for long line fishing and had copper tanks under the bunks, was rather untidy and as I recall things didn’t work for the then owner who left her with the folk in the next bay from us to sell.
She was powered by a Chrysler Crown marine petrol engine (very thirsty !) and had keel cooling tubes. I tidied her up – she had a mast in those days tho’ no bow rail and she was pretty smart and reliable. As I recall she had a beam of about 6′ 6″ and tho’ very seaworthy would roll like the dickens in a side swell.
There was no schooling available in those days so when my family and I left the island I took the Waratah across and left her with the boat builder (forgotten his name) at Sandspit, who sold her for me.

ps Barney and wife Lucy lived in the old Schoolhouse and my family and I in the house a hundred m. or so up the hill from the wharf. An elderly couple (the Sowerbys) lived in an old homestead just to the left off the wharf.”

Ozone & Rosemary


Continuing the game fishing link today – this time Ozone & Rosemary – more details below

photo ex classicgameboatnz

Harold Kidd Update

There were two OZONEs which makes matters confusing. The first was built by Collings & Bell in 1912. The second was built by Percy McIntosh in Whangarei in 1914 for Harold Vipond for the Auckland-Wade River trade but which Vipond took north to the Bay of Islands in 1925 or perhaps a tad earlier for game-fishing. 

ROSEMARY was built in St.Mary’s Bay by Leon Warne in December 1920 for himself and his brother George and was taken north for game-fishing out of Russell at about the same time as OZONE. The Warne brothers then set up boatbuilding, repairs as well as gameboat chartering at Russell. ROSEMARY originally had a Scripps 4 cylinder but was later fitted with a Redwing. There wasn’t much love lost between Chas. Collings and Leon Warne after Warne served his time with Collings and set up alongside him in 1916. Warne shared that opinion with Alf Bell who probably worked for Leon when he left the Walsh Brothers at Kohimarama; but Alf Bell didn’t build ROSEMARY. Perhaps there’s confusion because Warne’s foreman was Alf RAGG.

Both launches were very successful in promoting the deep sea angling sport in the Bay of Islands, both from Russell and Whangaroa. The boom in the sport was accelerated by Zane Grey’s involvement in the later 1920s but ground almost to a standstill in the Depression, picking up gain by 1937.

ROSEMARY was originally launched a a dashing flushdecker. See “N Z Vintage Launches” p92 for a pic of her at speed on the Waitemata in the 1925 Anniversary Regatta.

Cutting From Northern Advocate – 30 Dec 1920 ex Harold Kidd ex Papers Past