On Thursday one of the Lake Waikaremoana launches we featured was – Idalia, we enquired about her whereabouts and sadly Toni Metz informed us that she was abandoned and subsequently broken up and removed from the lake front. Toni spent some time yesterday trolling thru his photo album and uncovered the above collection of Idalia when she was well cared for.

The b/w photo above was from her early days on the lake.

Toni has also search the launch on the Papers Past site and uncovered two interesting mentions – the first is from the Poverty Bay Herald, 23 Feb 1925 and covers a wee (actually not so wee) oops while Idalia was in Gisborne. You have to love the terms they used back then – no steering = “she did not answer to the helm” and taking on water = “she commenced to fill up”. Press clipping below

The second mention is also in the Poverty Bay Herald, this time dated 13th October 1933 and covers Idalia’s overland journey from Gisborne to Lake Waikaremoana. Lots of background on the boat ownership in the press clippings below. She was 36’ x 10’ x 3’6” and powered by a 40hp Thorneycroft engine, recently installed in 1933.

Lake Waikaremoana Woodys – Belle Isla and Idalia

Belle Isle – Home Bay 2003
Idalia c.1970’s

Lake Waikaremoana Woodys – Belle Isle and Idalia

It never ceases to amaze me how boats crop up on WW. Wayne Stevens posted the comment below recently on a 2013 story about the launch Belle Isle (link below to that story)

I have reproduced Wayne’s comment below

“Hi, I’ve just discovered the WW website & love reading about these lovely old craft. On a whim I decided to search for a couple of the boats I know from Lake Waikaremoana, the Belle Isle & Idalia, & was interested to see your story on Belle Isle. I have a photo of her moored in the smaller bay at Home Bay in 2003, refer above. On another visit there I’m pretty sure it was her with only the tip of her bow above water, & I think she was taken away from the lake after that.

The Idalia was a big part of a friend’s deer culling life in the 70’s. The owner would drop Jim Wright (the culler) at the far end of the lake for his trips into the bush, then pick him up weeks later. Jim spent time on the Idalia recuperating then would be dropped back in the bush for more culling.

Unfortunately the last photos I have of the Idalia was of her tied to the bank in Home Bay after being broken into & scuttled, refer belowI’d love to know what happened to her once she was taken away”.

Can anyone help Wayne with any intel on what became of Idalia?

INPUT ON IDALIA FROM ANTONIA METZ – Unfortunately the Idalia is no more – she was refused permission to remain on her mooring at Waikaremoana due to her condition and left tied to the shore for some time – photos to follow – eventually the owner was asked to remove her and as that was not feasible she was broken up and taken away.

The Story Of Ruapani


Built in Wellington in 1929 by B.J.L. Jukes in Balaena Bay. Jukes had built in 1926 two sister ships – Vagabond and Nereides. Ruapani was commissioned by the NZ Govt Tourist Dept for use on Lake Waikaremoana, to carry passengers from Hopuruahine to the Lake House Hotel. 

When the hotel closed in 1965 she was sold to Peter Ash’s company – Waikaremoana Launch Services. Ash replaced the original 40hp Thornycroft petrol engine with a Perkins 84hp diesel and operated her on the lake for another 11 years.

In 1976 Ash sold Ruapani to her first private owner, Noel Tong, who sold her in 1984 to her present owner – Ken Menzies, that woodys is 38 years ago, very impressive.

Menzies initially kept her on the lake, but in 1990 trucked her to Evans Bay, Wellington (his new home). The move was a very lucky break for Ruapani as Menzies engaged well known Wellington boat designer – Bruce Askew to undertake a major rebuild / restoration of Ruapani. The work involved redesigning the above deck area to a style similar to Nereides, below deck the engine was shifted aft to accommodate two large cabins forward. The change to salt water necessitated upgrading a lot of her ‘hardware’ and the addition of freshwater tanks – life on the lake equaled a permanent supply of fresh water.

These days Ruapani is berthed in Picton Marina and is a wonderful boat for cruising the Marlborough Sounds. Ken Menzies commented that Ruapani was maintained very well by the original launch master Frank Smith and she remains in sound condition after 92 years.

The gallery of photos above date from when Ruapani was on Lake Waikaremoana in the early 1930s, thru to approx 2004. The top photo is a recent shot and perfectly shows what a magnificent woody Ruapani is. And a lucky woody to have had 38 years of continuous ownership at the hands of a devoted owner.

The photos were shared with us by Ken, and the details I have extracted for numerous WW comments and newspaper clipping.

A Helping Hand Needed

Alice Morrison is the owner of the classic woody launch – Taurima (WW link below) which is currently in Tauranga. Alice has been trying for months to move her to Whangaroa, or at least Whangarei but due to weather and availability she has not yet been able to. So woodys – anyone out there that could help Alice relocate Taurima? Alice is prepared to pay, but is short on intel on who could / would do this. You can comment in the WW comments section or contact Alice direct at


Woody Dean Wright uncovered the above photo of Ruapani that appeared in a book on Lake Waikaremoana and that woodys is where the track stops. A quick google search tells us Ruapani was a chief of the Māori in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa in the 15th and 16th century. 

Given the life raft, maybe she is in charter on the lake.

Any southern woodys able to enlighten us on this rather fine looking launch?

Harold Kidd Input – Built by B.J.L.Jukes, Balaena Bay November 1929 for the Tourist Dept with a 40hp Thornycroft (Empire Preference) petrol engine.

Rawene – A Peek Down Below



RAWENE – A Peek Down Below

Woody John Wicks sent in the above photos of the launch Rawene. They came from a friend of John’s, who got them from his brother on Tauranga, so the details were a little light e.g.  only the name & the date 1926.

This Rawene (there have been a few) has appeared on WW before when she lived on Lake Waikaremoana, looks like she is being hauled after receiving some TLC, as mentioned below in the owner’s comments. Great to see below decks.

Link here to when she first appeared on WW, I in fact had suggested that she had to be a finalist for the 2016 Floating Bach Awards 😉

Below I have reproduced Hendrik Metz’s WW comments on the vessel.

Keen to hear more about what happened to with her while she was out & if she did make it back to the Lake?

Rawene – as told by owner, Hendrik Metz

Built in 1928 by L.C. Coulthard, Boatbuilder of Onehunga, on a commission for a Mr Alexander Alexander of Napier, Rawene operated as a fishing boat out of Ahuriri.

After the Napier Earthquake in 1931, Rawene was left high and dry on the newly formed mudflats, caused by the earthquake.  Mr Thomas Holden of Gisborne, on a visit to Napier thought she would make a good lake boat and purchased her and brought her to Waikaremoana, in 1931.

The Holden and Heggarty families spent many happy holidays at Waikaremoana on board Rawene.  In 1960 following the death of Mr Holden the boat was sold to the Chapman Brothers of Frasertown, who owned her for the next eight years.  Phillip de Lautour, who was then farming at Ohuka, purchased Rawene from the Chapmans about 1968 and eventually sold her to Walmsley Canning of Porangahau, April 1970.  On 11th September 1976 she was purchased by a partnership of Jock Ross and Evert Metz.  The Metz/Ross families still own her today.

She is currently in Tauranga undergoing a refit but will be back at Waikaremoana early in 2017.

Mr Coulthard’s son, who helped with her construction says they built an identical boat at the same time but he cannot remember her name – if anyone knows of a similar shaped hull we would be keen to hear more.  Originally Rawene didn’t have the raised roof at the stern or the poop deck these were added in about 1978.






2016 Floating Bach Award Finalist


Would this be a Finalist for the 2016 Floating Bach Award?

Regular ww readers will have heard me talk about the growing interest in the ownership of classic wooden launches & how I have tagged it the Floating Bach trend. Well yesterday Scott Taylor having just returned from a holiday at Lake Waikaremoana* sent me some boating photos. One of which (Rawene, above) would have to be the epitome of that tag, complete with poop deck 🙂

Interested to learn more on the other woodys below (Safari, Camaron, Rawene) & get some details on their past & how they ended up at the lake + there are a couple of plastic Logans that I’d be keen to name.



Note: for the overseas ww followers – Lake Waikaremoana is situated in the Te Urewera National Park, in the North Island of NZ. Some spectacular walks & just wow scenery. A few photos below.

29-12-2016 Update – Photos below of Rawene – sent in by Toni Metz – read more about the boats history in the comments section below. These photos were taken in the 1930’s at Waikaremoana. In the second photo, Rawene is the last boat in the line below the shed.



08-06-2020 Input from Jason Clough – owner of the launch Cameron in one of the above photos. Turns out its not a woody, but comments added for the record.

“I aquired Camaron just over a year ago. It is a Vindex 32 , launched 1972 , was built by Jim Young. Possibly #9 (purely guessing by thats what I found when sides were being sanded down) I have pretty much all of its history. Camaron is one of the first ever sandwich construction GRP hulls , with a Balsa Core.The topsides, trim are teak , Cedar , and a laminated ply roof. There is also a bit of other timbers in the trim . It was on Lake Taupo from 72 till about 86 as a fishing charter boat. (I even found an original business card under the nooks and crannies)The rear canopy was shorter , It had a upper deck ( if thats what u call it) It ran 2 x 200 hp stern legs. From there it went down south and was owned by the Otago Harbour board. Under the paint , I found in giant lettering “SURVEY” written down the sides. and , clearly hull repairs made where large Transducers had been fitted. It would be reasonable to assume is was bottom surveying / sounding for shipping channels. From launch right thru here , it was in survey , i have pages of its tickets.
Somewhere around 1994 /5 It must have come out of the water , and had its engines removed , rooftop taken away (made to a “saloon”) , and the rear roof line extended another 1200 mm or so , and sold on
It was purchased by previous owner around 1996 , from a broker in Marlborough with 2 x Honda outboards on pods fitted and converted to its present state.
From There , it was Transported to Waikaremoana , where it has been since.
About a year ago , It Was in pretty bad shape, and looked like it needed rescuing before it was too late. I have put a lot of hours into it , and it is looking great again. It has a new laminated roof , foredeck , glass laminating , completely gutted out and every square cm has been touched. The hull structure and integrity was in surprisingly good shape – kudos to the original builder and their skills, expansive use of epoxy sealing and quality work , materials.
I have kept Camaron as original as I can , with just a bit of modern in the comfort dept and where necessary. Even the big old polished brass compass is staying put !
Coincidentally today , We just popped up to Waikaremoana to have a look at the mooring to get and idea whats needed to sort that out, which led me to this site trying to figure out I am looking at the right one!
Camaron is now pretty much ready to be relaunched again in the next few weeks- just waiting on a bit of trim n upholstery , and is looking great.”