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Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 8.28.12 pmWAITANGURU

Waitanguru was built by Allan Williams in 1953 & measures approx. 33’ & has a 9’10” beam.

She is kauri carvel planked, & powered by 39 hp Yanmar diesel. Youll see from the trademe photos (thanks to Ian McDonald) that she is very well fitted out, & has been in survey.

Do we know anymore about her?

Input from Harold Kidd – WAITANGURU was built by Alan Williams for Petersen of Te Awamutu. She is 31′ x 11′ and had a 4cylinder Ford originally. She went first to Taupo then to Tauranga in 1966. Gerry Dawson of Caster Bay owned her in the 1970s and kept her at Milford. By 2001 she was owned back in Tauranga by Les and Pam Dawson and used for charter game fishing. A very able boat.

13-05-2018 Update from Ron Dawson 

Waitanguru was built in 1949 I beleive on spec and bought by Frank Peterson of Piopio in the King Country. He finished the boat and kept in Milford. My father bought the boat in 1967. In 1968 dad raised the dodger and kept Waitanguru in Milford until he sold the boat in 1988. The boat originally had a Coventry diesel motor which was replaced with a 60hp Ford diesel in the early to mid 60s. Dad replaced that motor to a 72hp Ford diesel late 60s.  Waitanguru went to Gulf Harbour for a couple of years and then to Taupo about 1990. I’m not to sure when the boat was moved to Tauranga. I do know Waitanguru had an outboard motor on the  stern trolling for trout on Lake Taupo. The boat length was 28 feet plus boarding platform. 

Waitanguru’s name comes from a place on the road from Piopio out to the coast at Marokopa in the King Country. 

04-05-2022 UPDATE – additional photos ex May 2022 trademe listing


What Happened to Calypso?



What Happened to Calypso?

Firstly woodys, I love this story, way too many woodys have had a false start on a wooden boat project & just walked away & given up on old wooden boats forever. Well folks I can tell you Nick Davidson, who sent me the above photos, is not one of them, he bounced back, but more on that later – the main focus of this story is to try & uncover the mystery of Calypso. I have re-produced Nicks letter to me below – enjoy 🙂
Hi there Alan, have been thinking about an old kauri launch that I used to own back in the 1990’s, wondered what became of her and thought that perhaps one of your readers might have some information.
It is a story of hope turning to despair, however without the tough stories and the failures I suppose you don’t end up learning much!
As I am sure with many of your readership I was one of those guys that wanted to get into a wooden launch, however at the time had not much in the way of cash. It was mid 1999 and I was looking at boats for sale on ‘trademe’ as you do and there was an advertisement for an old 40’ kauri launch that was sitting in a shed in Avondale, Auckland and urgently looking for a new home, so I went along and had a look.

Basically the deal was that the owner of the shed wanted the building back and there had been veiled threats of chainsaws at dawn. As you can see from the photos of Calypso (very unlikely to be her original name) she was in a sorry state. The diesel was gone and there was a fair bit of rot in the house, but the hull looked sound enough and I could not help but fall for the straight stem (made of Pohutukawa) and fantail stern. The information about her provenance was next to nothing, no numbers, or name plates to be found anywhere. I was told that she was used as a ‘long-liner’ working out of the Viaduct for some years and had a build year of 1905 but have never had that corroborated. The diesel disappeared by way of a chainsaw through the cabin roof and she had then been hauled and transported to a storage unit in Avondale.
As it happened I had access to the old Education Department’s disused central stores warehouses that used to back on to the Avondale College, perfect I thought. I arranged for Calypso to be moved there, paid the princely sum of $300 to the owner (no recollection of the name of the chap) and now owned a 40’ launch that needed a bit of work!
Unfortunately, the arrangement to use the old stores warehouse fell through after a few months and I had her moved out to the Marine Haulage yard in Te Atatu where she stayed for a year or two. During that time I went into a boat partnership with a mate and with unbridled optimism we started stripping her out and removing what was left of the paint on her hull. When the cost of keeping her in Te Atatu became a bit too much for our shallow pockets I managed to find an old vegetable storage shed out in Bombay close to the Pukekohe turnoff and away she went again.

With the assistance of an old boat builder (again I cannot recollect his name, but he lived in Tairua, was involved in relocating the old Ngoiro ferry there, drove an old red van and had a cat that used to accompany him around the country!) we removed all the caulking, over many months slowly jacked up the hull to remove the hog in the keel, splined and glassed her to the gunwale with 10 weight triaxial glass. This was all done over a long period as time and money permitted.

As with many of these sorts of projects, in spite my best intentions and a fair degree of bloody mindedness we found ourselves some 6 years on with a sound hull but a long way from ever getting her back in the water. We had by now removed the cabin and decking which was in a much poorer state than first thought, my circumstances had changed and I no longer had the time or the financial resources to take her any further. We also had to move her again and by about 2005 she was now residing in a factory unit off Mahunga Drive in Mangere.

After a great deal of soul searching the decision was made to put her on ‘trademe’ and eventually she was purchased by a chap who described himself as a boat builder and if my recollection serves me correctly was looking to move her up to the Kaipara Harbour where he had a property and complete the re-fit there. Although disappointed that I hadn’t ever seen her in the water, I consoled myself that we had moved her along and that with the new owner’s intention to complete her she would be saved.
That was the last I saw of her!

Whilst owning Calypso had not dampened my desire to own a wooden launch I was certainly much wiser to the challenges, the cost of such an enterprise and in fact promised myself that if I ever did buy another boat she would have to be floating, have good provenance, and be at least structurally sound.

As it happens my wife and I now own the 1951, 32′ Allan Williams sedan launch Juanita (she has been well covered in Waitemata Woodies), she is a joy to own, gets plenty of use and after a fair bit of work is in great trim. The lessons learned from Calypso although painful have served me well, but I do sometimes wonder what became of her and whether the chainsaw got her in the end?

The photos above of Calypso in the water and being hauled were given to me by the previous owner.
There are a couple of her showing where I got to before having to sell (as you can see she was basically back to a bare hull) and a couple of a scale model that I made of her when I was looking to see how a new cabin would look.

Well woodys, as you have read, Nick & family are re-born woodys, we like that – so can we help Nick sleep better at night 🙂 & confirm what happened to Calypso. Good time for our resident Kaipara woody, Zac Matich, to chip in ………………..

Photos below of Juanita leaving Greg Lees (Sandspit) boat shed after a serious spot of TLC. Link below her time in Greg’s shed.

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Juanita a

The rebirth of Juanita

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The Rebirth of JUANITA
photos Greg Lees & Alan H

Yesterday I was privileged to be asked by Greg Lees to attend the re-launch of the 32′ classic launch Juanita, a 1951 Allan Williams (Milford Creek) built beauty that has  just spent the last 4 months in the Lees Boatbuilder shed at Sandspit. In Greg’s words she was in for a ‘refresh & to bring her back to her original appearance’ – well Mr Lees, I do not think she has ever looked this good before so you have exceeded the brief, but we have come to expect that from the yard. Greg commented that Juanita’s new owners (Nick & Anna Davidson) contribution to the work was huge, every weekend for the 4 month period.

Juanita has had a busy life having called numerious places home – Auckland, Whangarei, Lake Taupo, Whitianga & now Sandspit.

Juanita’s past has been well documented on ww – some links below for details & photos

I took the photo of her below late last year, moored off Greg’s wharf looking very sad & tired as she awaited her turn in the shed. Arohanui was in-residence at the time mid restoration. One of the reasons Nick chose the Lees yard was the long association the yard & Greg personally has had with Juanita, in fact Greg told me that he once got very close to adding a flybridge to her, luckily that never happened 🙂

Again I’m so pleased to see so many of our classic launches being returned to their finery – so woodys who’s next in the shed?

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Took the opportunity to have a  peek at Karros hauled out & chat to Dave Jackson, with a 14′ beam she is a rather pretty big bottomed old girl 🙂



I do not know the name of today’s post but this kauri sedan launch was recently sold on trademe. We do know she was designed and built in 1951 by Allen Williams.

32’ in length & powered by a 100hp Ford 6cyl. Diesel. Asking price was around $35k, so on face value, someone got a bargain.

When sold she was based in the Coromandel, so today’s questions are what is her name, who bought her, where is she now & what history do we know about her?.

Update – she is Juanita & has appeared on ww before so to read more about her, view the Comments section &/or search her name in the ww search box 😉

(classic trademe listing i.e. no boat name featured 😦  ……… when will people wise up)

22-10-2015 Update

Juanita is currently sitting on a swing mooring outside Lees Boat Builders at Sandspit awaiting her turn at the hands of Greg Lees & his team of craftsman.

Rukahia & Erewhon

Rukahia & Erewhon
photos & details ex Clive & Judy Barnes

Todays post is a a 2 -4 -1 , two boats one owner. The above is Rukahia, the Barnes first launch & they were told she was built in 1964 at Waiheke Island. She is 30′ long & powered by a 130hp TS3 Commer. The photo of her exiting the breakwater at Westhaven was taken by me (AH) earlier this year during the CYA Classic Yacht Regatta.

The launch below is Erewhon the Barnes current launch & is an example of how its sometimes a wee bit hard to keep track of a boat given multi able name changes. Erewhon she was built (tbc) by Allan Williams at Milford & launched in 1977 and named Edelweiss, which then became Falcon, then Vera & finally (for now) Erewhon.
She is 28′ long & powered by a 80hp Ford. She is moored these days at Whangamata.

Anyone able to expand on the history of these two boats?



photos ex trademe

Khadine was built by Allan Williams  in 1970. LOA 44′ 3″, Beam 13’1″, Draft 2’11”.  She has a kauri hull with teak coamings.

Her get up & go comes from two 145 hp Perkins diesels. Currently game rigged & based in Tauranga.

Anyone able to supply details on her past?

Commander One

COMMANDER ONE – #4 Fairlie launch in a series of 4
photo & details ex Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H

Built in 1967 by Allan Williams, she was 42 ft when built & extended at the back end to 52 feet a few years later by the original owner. She was extended by Percy Vos c.1969-70 for Norm Fairlie.

Fairlie lived at No 5 Fife St Westmere at that time & was a successful Auckland businessman. Fairlie was a passionate big game fisherman for many years & fished extensively off Mayor Island in her. His son, Brian Fairlie was one of N.Z’s. few international tennis players, back in the 60s 70s era.

Commander One has been berthed in Tauranga most of her life & is now owned by Mr Paul Aitkin, who bought her off the Bradshaw family of Rotorua, around 2004, who bought her off Norm Fairlie back in the 1970s. She is & always has been, maintained to a very high standard, by all owners & still very original as far as the addition to her length allows.

She had a 180 hp 6 cyl. Cummins diesel when new, now replaced c.2000 by Bradshaws, with a brand new replacement 400hp de-rated to 300hp Cummins.

Ken recently spoke to Norm Fairlie who is aged 91, sounding very fit & well & is living on the Gold Coast in Australia.

The story of her ownership is rather unusual.

It all starts with a previous boat Norm F, had built by McGeady, called Challenger, which Norm F. sold to a Mr Brown of Whangarei who later sold her to Bradshaws of Rotorua. Bradshaws later wanted to buy Commander One off Norm H. & he agreed to buy back Challenger, off Bradshaws, as part payment for Commander One. Just after the deal was done, some people known to Bradshaws, discovered Bradshaws deal, & said they had always wanted to own Challenger, so rushed up to Auckland, & bought her straight off Norm H. almost immediately after he had re-inherited her.

Update 06-10-2015
Photo below (ex Ken Ricketts) is of the original owner Norm Fairlie, now Norm is almost 93 years old & he told KR that while the boat was built by Alan Williams, her designer was Mac McGeady. If that is the case, this photo has a little more meaning as the lady on the left is McGeady’s granddaughter – Karen Moren.




JUANITA – 36 ft built by Allan Williams at Milford Creek for Cyril Bertrand of Bell Rd Remuera in 1950/51 had Osco converted Ford V8 originally — now 6 cyl Ford. Supposed to be sister ship to Aoma also built by Williams.Photo Ponui Island c.1952.

Update from Ken Ricketts (01/06/2013)

JUANITA; ( Pronounced jew-a-neat-a, by the original owners)
 A sister ship to Aoma, built a year or 2 later, circa 1953, also built at Milford Creek, by Alan Williams, for Cyril Bertrand, a clothing retailer of Auckland City, who lived in Bell Rd Remuera. She was originally powered by a mid blue painted, Osco converted, Ford V8, under a box, as with Aoma, in the same position, which perhaps may have been just a tad too far forward, as she tended to look as if she was perhaps burying her bow just slightly, at speed.
The Bertands were family friends, & we cruised most weekends with them, for 4 or 5 years, when I was a lad, until they sold her. As you will see, in the above pic., I took in North Harbour Ponui Island, circa 1955, She did not have a sweep in the deck, but interior layout was almost identical, to AOMA.
When she was sold, she lived for a good number of years, at the Sandspit Warkworth, had a 6 cyl For Diesel fitted, & was maintained I believe, by Lees Boatbuilders, for the then owners, in very original condition, as at that time.
Have not seen or heard of her, for a number of years, so perhaps others could fill in the gaps, & drop me an email to kenpat@ihug.co.nz
Update 18/06/13
Juanita was owned by Ernest & Rae  Blumenthal from circa the mid
60s to the 1990s I was told today, by a friend who knew her very well, when they had her.
She had a 6 cyl Lees Ford the entire time of ownership by the Blumenthals.Mr  Blumenthal died, & Mrs Blumenthal retained her for a period after his
death, & then sold to a butcher called “Nick” …??? & she moved to
Mahurangi.She appears to have later moved to Taupo, because she was seen for sale on Trade Me,” at Taupo, post 2000, & was seen not too long after that, passing through Warkworth on a transporter, going North, & I now suspect, she is in the B.O.I area. — Have a sleuth keeping an eye out up there, for me.