Kotahi – SOS



Today’s woody story is a call out to our community to ask if anyone can help secure the future of Kotahi, a 26’ Bailey and Tyer built kauri carvel planked launch that for the last 9 years has been living the life of a celebrity at the Auckland Zoo as part of a permanent display. This semi- retirement village lifestyle is probably very fitting for a 110 year old. 

After being launched in Nov 1912 at the Bailey and Tyer, Halls Beach yard in Northcote, Auckland, Kotahi had a very nomadic life which saw her spending time in Auckland > Tauranga > Lake Rotoiti > Tauranga > Lake Taupo, then back to Auckland where in 2013 she was craned into her ‘berth’ at the Auckland Zoo.

Like most things in life, priorities change and things get updated so the call has been made to find a new home for Kotahi. Anything that once moved her along has long been removed so as she sits Kotahi is just a hull but appears to be reasonably solid.

SO woodys – looking for suggestions – restore her?, repurpose her? eg as another display, or a playground?, or maybe incorporated into a retail environment – Auckland Zoo is open to all suggestions. But lets not let Kotahi die at the hands of a back-hoe.

Sarah MacWilliam at Auckland Zoo has asked that interested parties contact her direct at the email address below to register any interest. BUT do not hesitate, a deadline has been set of March 18th 2022 for you to make contact.  Sarah.MacWilliam@aucklandzoo.co.nz

Back in 2013 WW recorded Kotahi’s arrival at the Auckland Zoo and uncovered a lot of background on her – thanks to Harold Kidd and Paul Drake. Link https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/11/20/mystery-boats-at-the-zoo/

Mystery Boats at the Zoo

Mystery Boats at the Zoo

photo ex Baden Pascoe

Now todays posting is a little strange, CYA member Baden Pascoe was visiting the Auckland Zoo recently & stumbled across the white launch above. So the question is – will it be included in some display or is one of the ‘keepers’ doing it up?

Also there were the ‘remains’ of the red boat as well. What appears to have been  a professionally built hard chine boat of the 1930,s or 40’s.

Anyone able to ID the launch or enlighten us on whats going on ?

Update from Paul Drake

Old b/w photo of Kotahi from THE N.Z.YACHTSMAN, p 274, February 22, 1913. This launch was at Taupo for many years in the 1960’s under the same name and with a similar cabin to that shown in the zoo photo. Looking at the 1913 photo, I think the step in the hull is quite distinctive, Also the number of ports and the position of the forward port.

To my mind, there is no doubt about it!!



Hi there

We stumbled across this post.

Yes, we can confirm it is the Kotahi. She is being refurbished and will form part of our new Rotoroa Island Conservation Centre display, highlighting biosecurity issues in the Hauraki Gulf. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about this.

We too are very interested in her history and one of our volunteers was about to start some research on this. Any assistance you can provide would be gratefully received.

Kind regards Natalie

Natalie Hansby


Head of Visitor Experience and Business Development

Auckland Zoological Park