Story ex Nick Shea from the pen of his father Barry Shea who has owned Kiwitea for the last 24 years. (photo ex Ken Ricketts)
Kiwitea is a bridge decker. A solid old girl made of Kauri planks. I bought her in May 1989. After removing the rot I was left with only a hull and the cabin roof tops, what a job lay ahead!! After 9 months of work from 5pm until the early hours Kiwitea was ready for the water. I made the cabin sides out of Kahikatea clears laminated together giving a thickness of 40 mm. Thanks to Pete a next door neighbour who started to give me a hand and made it a lot easier. Next came the fridge, freezer, toilet and shower by brother inlaw Barry as he knew a bit about plumbing. At this time Cath (wife) would come down and clean while Anita (7) would look after the new born Liz and Nick (5) would be put on the job of cleaning the prop and rudder. (Just the right size to fit under there). The last thing was the calking which was rotten so out it came and week later the antifoul and relaunch with the bottle of bubbles.
On our travels people have come over and had a chat so I have picked up a bit of history which if anyone can add to this I would be greatful. Kiwitea was built about 1949 by Lidgard on Kawau Island for a person called Jack Algie. I think this would be the same family who named Algies Bay. At this time Kiwitea was a sedan not a bridge decker. We did a trip up to the bay of islands and stopped off at Tutakaka when someone came down and told us he used to go longlining on her and his Dad used to own her. I have also heard the navy had her but what for who would know.
In 1995 Kiwitea was showing signs of movement so time to refasten all the planks .After thousands of bronze screws I had to raise the waterline so decided at the same time to add and extend the boarding platform also including live bait tanks which have been filled many a time..She is a grand old lady and part of the family which we have owned for 24 years and is great to see all our children now take her out when they want.
KARANGA, KIWITEA, & ROVER