Ronaki (MV Manukau)

RONAKI (MV Manukau)

Classic displacement launch designed and built in triple skin heart kauri by Charles Bailey Jnr in 1914 and known as m.v. Manukau, she plied the Manukau Harbour as a pilot boat and was also used for barge work and buoyage. Rebuilt to survey in 1961, she had a new Gardner LW4 diesel installed and for many years was used sounding work in the Waitemata. She is now in private hands and has been lovingly cared for and used as a pleasure boat by her present owner. For sale now on trademe.

The 56 hp Gardner 4 LW drives her along at 7.5-8.5 knots using only an astonishing 4 litres of diesel per hour
Transmission Details: Inboard
Engine Details: 1961 Gardner 4 LW
Displacement: 9900 kg
Length:12m (39.4Ft)
Beam: 3.16 metres (10 Ft 4 In)
Draft: 1.00 metres (3 Ft 3 In)
Fuel Capacity: 455 litres
Water Capacity: 136 litres

Harold Kidd update 30/03/2014

The info on this launch as set out above is 100% accurate. The first RONAKI was designed and built by Collings & Bell for the Auckland Harbour Board in February 1913 (see “Vintage NZ Launches” for a good image and history). She was converted to a bridgedecker after AHB disposed of her to G Hyauiason and probably got the V8 during RNZN service in WW2.
Since contributors are continually (and drearily) name-dropping on this site, let me join in. It was probably my uncle, Lou Wilson, MD of Watson Steele & Ganley, who allegedly attempted to borrow the set of points, because he owned RONAKI at the time. Quite how, with his huge trade knowledge, Lou Wilson would come to ask such a bloody stupid question beggars belief! Good story……………………….
This boat was, as is accurately detailed above, designed and built by Chas. Bailey Jr. Why should there be a trace of doubt in that? Does olivene2013 consider him incapable of that?
AHB commissioned her for use on the Manukau and called her MANUKAU. When the new MANUKAU was built by Scholten & Brijs to replace her, she was brought back to the Waitemata by AHB in February 1967 and renamed RONAKI (sometimes rendered as RONAKI II).

PS OOPS, If I’m descending to name-drop spraying too, I should get it right!
Lou Wilson was MD of Morris, Black & Matheson, and later a director of Tappenden Motors, not WASGA.
Something deeply wrong with that story! Lou would have been tickled with the absurdity of it.

Lady Joyce


The photo above shows her at the 2014 Mahurangi Anniversary Regatta. Owned by John Foreman for approx. 20 years, John purchased her off Alan Keane & told me that he had touched base again with Alan in Port Fitzroy over Christmas and at the regatta weekend. John has been told she was built in 1927 by Chas Bailey – probably the son, Chas Bailey Jnr.

John & ww would like to near more about the ‘lady’ so if you know any details or have photos – send ww an email.

Harold Kidd Update

I think she was built by Leon Warne in 1922 for James Tombs as SHEIK. Tombs sold to Roy Browne in 1925. Browne sold to S. Harrowell in 1932 who had her largely rebuilt by Lane Motor Boat Co. which included her present bridgedeck. Harrowell renamed her LADY JOYCE. During WW2 she was in RNZN service. After the war Willie Oliver owned her for a while, which says a lot for her ability. She’s a few boats along from me at H Marina, Gulf Harbour, so I’ve been interested in her for years and I’m happy that the above provenance is correct.

27/01/2015 Updated photo (ex Ken Ricketts) of LJ leaving Gulf Harbour on-route to the 2015 Mahurangi Regatta

August 2015 – LJ hauled out at Gulf Harbour (photos ex Ken Ricketts)

Lady Rae


Designed & built by Chas Bailey Jnr. in 1950, Lady Rae is a 12m,  kauri planked , carvel bridge decker, powered by a 120hp Ford.

Given her very distinctive style , I would be keen to learn more on her past & design influences .

Harold Kidd Update

She was built for Ken Simpson of Ventnor Road, Remuera. He owned her for many years, at least as late as 1967. She seems to have been a sister ship to GALA LASS built for A.H. Hurt of St Heliers about the same time. As for design, the styling cues were in every issue of “Rudder” and “Motor-Boat and Yachting” magazines of the time and ultimately derived from mid-1930’s American automotive design. If you half shut your eyes, LADY RAE looks quite like, say, a 1936 Dodge sedan, flat windscreen and all.

Bondi Belle


story & photos by Baden Pascoe

Bondi Bell was built as S.S.Whakapara, at Whakapara (North of Whangarei) by Charles Bailey Jr. for the Foote family who were saw millers at several Northland locations . Launched in 1901, initially she was a steamer and converted to diesel in the 1920’s. This vessel is steeped in history and her owner ,Ted Carter needs to find a new owner for her. He is asking $85,000 and is open to negotiations. For details call Ted on 0274-485976.

(b/w photo c.1901-02. Whangarei, Hatea River, were the town basin is now)

Link the (blue) link below to read the brilliant story of the history of Bondi Belle & her 80 year circumnavigation of New Zealand.

BONDI BELLE – Around NZ in 80 Years

The press clipping from the Hokianga Newspaper c1929, was saved by Arch Fell & given to Baden Pascoe. Arch is most likely in the photo. Click to enlarge

Bondi Belle Hokianga Newspaper c1929





photo ex classic launch nz

Seen here on her trials at Auckland : The new launch, Alice, which was built for the use of the Inspector of Fisheries in the Bay of Islands.

Interested in any more info – designer, builder, year etc + what happened to her.

Harold Kidd Update

Looking at her you can tell

1. she was built as a commercial vessel because of her dee front cabin; no fancy raised foredeck for workboats at this point

2. from the background buildings she was built in Auckland

3. she was built post 1920 because of the dodger

4. she looks like a Chas Bailey Jr workboat and the name ALICE was a favourite of his for yachts and launches he built.

In fact she WAS built by Chas Bailey Jr. and launched on 20th September 1921 for the Inspector of northern fisheries, Flynn. She was 36ft oa and had an Auckland-built 30hp 3 cylinder Twigg engine.

I don’t know what happened to her afterwards, but what a cracker!

Update #2

I had another look at my database. She was superseded in fisheries work by COLLEEN but continued to be used by the Government in the Bay of Islands for servicing Cape Brett lighthouse etc until August 1942 when she came ashore at Russell in an an extremely heavy easterly gale and may have been a total loss then. Not sure of that….wartime news censorship and all that.

Naomi III


Naomi III


According to the caption, this her being launched on 2 Sept, 1907 at the yard of Mr. C Bailey Jnr.

photo ex classicgameboatnz

Harold Kidd Update

NAOMI III was the third NAOMI owned by M.A. Jenny of Nelson, Auckland and Wanganui. She was 39’x10’x2’6″ and had a 20hp Gardner 2 cylinder petrol engine. Jenny was a most controversial figure during the years leading up to WW1. Nominally he was Swiss but there were suspicions he was an Austrian and a spy! He was quite a dashing wealthy figure and briefly was Commodore of the North Shore Yacht Club until he resigned in February 1903. He took this launch to Nelson but sold her in 1911 to Downes brothers of Wellington. From there she did the rounds, spending a lot of time in Tauranga game-fishing in the 1930s. I last heard of her she was in Lyttelton owned by John Sole in 2007. Chas. Bailey Jr also built NAOMI I (March 1902) and NAOMI II (November 1902) for Jenny. The latter was until recently to be seen on the hard at Panmure Yacht Club. 

PS Interesting cabin top. Bailey retained the dee-front separate cabin top but put his toe in the water with a raised foredeck as well. Truly a “transitional” style.

Elsie Evans


details & photos from Bob McDougall & the Timaru Herald

Timaru’s first pilot boat, the ELSIE EVANS, a 1901 Bailey (13m x 2.4m) has been relaunched into the Otago Harbour after a very long $500,000+ rebuilding / restoration project that saw her spend 59 years on land.

The ELSIE EVANS was built by Auckland firm Charles Bailey Jr, as the first pilot boat for the Timaru Harbour Board and as a replacement for its paddle-tug MANA.

It was launched on December 31, 1901, and named after the wife of the harbour board chairman at the time, William Evans.

The boat’s main tasks were to tow small craft, tend the big steamers, take the health officer out to deep-sea sailing vessels and carry the pilots.

Those were roles it continued until 1927, when it was sold to Captain Percy Moss, of the Portobello Railway and Ferry Co.

From 1928, it was used as a launch to tow barges, carry freight, and ferry passengers when the company’s other ferries TAREWAI and WAIREKA were out of service.

In 1944, it took over from the TAREWAI and regularly sailed the 2.4 kilometers between Portobello and Port Chalmers, carrying up to 37 passengers.

It was a role it continued in until 1954.

Life for the old launch took a turn for the worse after that. While several owners had big plans for the boat, nothing happened and it was sitting in a paddock when the South Canterbury Historical Society bought it for $1200 in 1997.

B/W photo above (ex Bob McDougall ) show ELSIE EVANS being brought to Dunedin’s Birch Street wharf from its long-time mooring at Ravensbourne, on 1 September 1962, and taken by road to Waihola, where it languished there and later with other owners/other places, for decades.

It is planed that passengers (exact number subject to a stability test) would be allowed on ELSIE EVANS by January after she has passed her survey

View TV news article on the launching here

Check out in the posting below this post, of the 2011 mini movie by Simon East backgrounding the history & restoration, stunning footage of the Otago Harbour.