The 43’ 1920’s built launch – Estrela has made a few appearances on tme over the areas and has sadly slipped into the ‘Live-Aboard’ category these days. Its being promoted as the cheapest home you can buy in Auckland.

She was built by Joe Fell, is a double-ender built from triple skin kauri and powered by a Hino H07C 158hp diesel.

Her Panmure River berth is available for rent – so woodys – a waterfront home or rescue her and set her free on the Waitemata again 🙂

(Thanks Ian McDonald for the listing heads up)

She appeared on WW back in 2018 and there was some discussion re her provenance – possibly not a  1920 Joe Fell boat, read this link for more info. Remember to also read the comments section 😉


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Estrela a double-ender, triple skinned kauri launch was built be Joe Fell in 1920. Her zoom zoom comes from a Hino H07C- 158 hp diesel. 
She  measures 43’in length & from her trademe listing (thanks Ian McDonald) she appears to be very well kitted out. 
At 42′ with her hull & the Hino engine, she must have a healthy turn of speed.
Being a double-ender makes her very distinctive so hopefully we can un-cover more on her.
Update – Woody Chris Leech has asked if the above launch is previously named Dawn Star, once owned by ex DYC member John Mitchell – see photo below. Sure looks like it to me (AH).
Dawn Star
Input from Harold Kidd – I didn’t know that Joe Fell built double-enders. The rest of his launches were mainly cream launches for the Hokianga Dairy Company and clones of SIERRA with a tuck stern for carrying capacity. I wonder which one she was originally? Can’t place her.
Dave Jackson will probably know.



photos & details from Geoff Brebner

This old ship has a long history. Unsure of the dates but she was built by Joe Fell on the Hokianga and was owned by Bert ( H. A. ) Subritzky for many years. She is pictured at Rawene in the 1950’s, that is Bert Subritzky you can see at the wheelhouse door. Bert moved to Auckland in 1956 with Awaroa and the barge Maggie and set up Tamaki Water Transport at Pakuranga, later becoming Subritzky Shipping Line.

Awaroa is still alive and well at Thames in a ‘berth’ on the Kauaeranga River just downstream from the road bridge going into town.

Thames has a interesting collection of old launches – Inverness, now firmly hemmed in by the rampant mangroves. She was formerly Awhitu and Geoff recalls her as a passenger launch on the Manukau Harbour. Geoff worked for Subritzky for a number of years mostly on the vehicular ferries and became very familiar with the wooden Romo and Maro.

07-01-2016 photo of Awaroa at Manaia, Coromandel ex Peter Croft. Those windows would have to win the TV1 and TV2 award e.g. widescreen TV’s 🙂


17-10-2018 Input from Geoff Brebner -, who sent in another photo, below, of Awaroa, seen here recently in Thames. She is powered by a 4cyl. Ford diesel.

Awaroa 003