Last month I was contacted by Rowan Lane who had seen the painting of the launch Zephyr I posted on WW, refer photo below. 
Rowan is a blue blooded woody eg his surname – Lane, links him to the clan whose craft frequently appear on WW
pages. I have posted the note Rowan sent me below
“The June posting of the painting of “Zephyr” on the Whangaroa Harbour
prompted a rummage through the family albums. My father Major Lane (family
name not title) rescued Zephyr from the foreshore of the Whangaroa Harbour.
Dad was nephew to Richard Ernest (Ernie) Lane who had relocated from
Whangaroa to Picton.
Zephyr was in a sorry state inviting each incoming tide inside for a chat through its cracks and opened seams. My father set about repairing the hull re-ribbed and re fastened throughout and installed a Gray Marine petrol engine. This was in the 1930’s. 
Zephyr was seconded to the NZ Army during the war years and was used to deliver supplies to the Army post at what is now Kingfish Lodge at the entrance to the Whangaroa Harbour.
In the top photo above we see Zephyr moored at Kingfish Point. Zephyr’s dodger was modified after the war when Zephyr became a commercial fishing vessel RL 36.
My father sold Zephyr around 1950 to Joe Mueller who had emigrated to NZ from South Africa. Joe used the ‘anglicised’ spelling Millar I believe to ally any fears that he may have been of German descent. Joe continued commercial fishing for a while before changing Zephyr to a game fish charter launch.”




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In the photos above we see Movarie in the 1953 welcome fleet for SS Gothic. To her left in the 2nd photo are two other launches, the closest I would pick to be Nor’West the Lane  (Panmure) built c.1948>50. You can see/read more on Movarie here https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/05/12/movarie/
The one on the hard left, is a mystery me – anyone able to ID her?
We do not score many wins in the game of ’spot the block of flats’ game but Kerin Owen deserves recognition – last week I received an email from Kerin and the subject line read “No Chainsaw Was Used”, opening it up I found  before and after photos of Kerin’s Jorgenson built launch  – Sharnda Leigh, they were taken during a recent haul out at Manganui. Now with a 1988 build date, she almost fits into the ’ spirit of tradion’ category, helped along by being triple skin diagonal planked. She is powered by a 135hp Ford Dover. 
Well woodys – all I’ll say is – what a difference a haircut makes 🙂
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Must be the week for the big girls, yesterday we had a feature on the 56’ Turongo coming onto the market and today we see the 1961 Lane built – Marnine.
Marnine measures 50’ and has a 15’ beam and weighs 25 tonnes so very similar in size to Turongo.
Marnine has made numerous appearances on WW – links below. The first one contain a great insight into her past from Terry Porter, son of her original owner Fred Porter.
Today we see her hauled out in Auckland for some TLC.


The boys at The Slipway Milford have a 22’ mullety hauled out which given her existing masts is in 3 pieces and looks like a shark has had a chew, there is an urgent need for a suitable replacement.
Not fussy if its wood or alloy – anyone got one up in the rafters? Contact Jason Prew jason@slipway.co.nz

Lady Jane

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Lady Jane has appeared on WW before  links below. Now thanks to trademe (via Ian McDonald) we get an another view & a peek down below. Her listing states she was built by Lanes in 1915 and is powered by a 23c Massey Fergusson diesel. Her hull is single skin kauri . Read & see more at the WW links


Harold Kidd Input – I think we’ve been through all this before, complete with the false Colin Wild connection. I think she is pure Deacon. The APYMBA registration in 1958 when first owned by John Senior said she was built by L. Deacon in 1955 with no attribution of designer. She’s more Sam Ford than Colin Wild for a start. I knew John Senior very well. If Wild had been the designer John would have ensured that was in her APYMBA spec.
The German song “Happy Wanderer” was a hit in 1954. It was a jolly hiking song but pretty cringeworthy for musicians like me who had to play it at dances over and over again. I later bought a DH94 Moth Minor called “Happy Wanderer” and had considerable pleasure in painting the name out and reverting to plain ZK-AKM.

A Woody House

My mate John Burland sent me the photos below of this house in Island Bay, Wellington. Check out that view 🙂



Southern Cloud

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Southern Cloud is a 1927, 40’ Lane (Picton) built kauri double ended ex commercial fishing vessel converted to pleasure cruising / live-aboard.
The engine is a 90hp, 371 GM.
Included in her trademe listing is a survey / summary of the vessel so I have reproduced that below.
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Mystery Launch at Kawau Island

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Mystery Launch at Kawau Island

The above photo ex Lew Redwood’s fb is tagged 1900>1920 & other than the location, thats all we know.
Any thoughts on the name of the launch in the foreground ?
Harold Kidd Input – The launch at Kawau looks very like one of the Harrison Smith designs built by Bailey & Tyer at Hall’s Beach…….. MANUKURA, ELECTRA, but probably not KOTAHI now at Auckland Zoo.
Looking for a well priced classic woody?
The 1914 Lane built launch Rosemary M has featured several time on WW, in recent times she has been mainly used as a floating apartment, now for sale at what appears a very fair price of $19.5k ono, someone needs to save her from life as as an apartment & start using her again. Details below.

Sou’ East



The 39′ 1947 Lanes built Sou’East is seen above weighing in a thresher shark at Paihia in 1984. Photos ex Dean Wrights collection.
Sou’East has appeared on WW before, but not as above – to view as launched photos & current day, click the link below.


I have include below another of Dean’s photos, this one of the very ‘salty looking’ commercial fishing boat – Lady Karen – photo dated 1984, when owned by Frank Goodhue.



Lane ‘Bridge-decker’

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Given the recent debate on ww as to what constitutes a bridge-decker, today’s boat has the potential to have a major identity crisis 🙂 But if we park the owners trademe description & just take the boat on face value, she a pretty looking classic wooden launch.

Built by Lanes Boatbuilders in 1915, she is 30′ in length & built with carvel kauri planks & her decks are plyed / glassed.
Her owner has had her for 20 years & uses her regularly. Back in 2000>2003 she had a total refit (refer above photos).
Zoom zoom is via a Standard 23C engine, which is an early (1958) 35hp Massey Fergusson 4 cylinder, 2200cc. This easily sees her cruising at her hull speed & 7 knots is a comfortable speed without pushing anything too hard.
I like this classic & at $26k she would make a very affordable entry into classic wooden boating. Spend a few dollars & she could be made very special.

Sorry no name – so the question, as always 😉 woodys is, who is she & what do we know about her?


Nor'west Lochmara Bay 31 12 2007

Nor'west with [Te] Atatu (1919), Lochmara Lodge mooring 1 Jan 2008.


Nor’West is one of 2 identical boats built by Lane’s at Panmure circa 1948-50, Nor’West & Sou’East, given the year of their design, they had a very futuristic, low, sleek, appearance.
Both were used extensively for game fishing for many years. You can read more here in the comments section https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/04/27/nor-west/
I was sent the above photos dated 2007/2008 by Frank Stoks who crewed on her back them.
The photos below are from Brian Worthington.

Input from owner Daryl Brighouse – edited by AH
“I own Nor’West, when I bought her in Picton she was a little sad with very tired Ford diesels (two of the 1,000 units imported by Lees Marine ex Germany – and apparently the very first of the overhead cam diesels – now with no parts available world wide so magnificent anchor projects) I have recently replaced the engines with Nissans and at the same time replaced the vee drives that were well past use by date with decent American units. The rest of the vessel is absolutely solid and as good as the day she was built. Based in Havelock now she is still a very pretty and well founded much treasured vessel.  
The external fibreglassing on the cabin and some parts of the internal fine paint job had unfortunately covered up patches of dry rot / black water disintegration … in the extended coamings – looks as if, while the original coaming materials were kauri and in perfect condition, oregon or similar had been used to do the extension and end grain water ingress did the damage on the very course grain timber.  The silastic put into the hull instead of putty no doubt looked good when first completed however turned into a disaster after a season with all planks and joins showing badly and the silastic peeling out while under way.  With putty replacing the silastic and professionally painted she is starting to look as she should.  However I am really pleased to say that the heavy work is now done and only the cosmetic touch ups on the coamings and interior are left for me to play with this season / winter – which I do get a great deal of pleasure out of pottering around with, she is a fabulous vessel, handles magnificently and very comfortable. I remembered her as a child sailing in the Bay of Islands watching her thunder past with her nose in the air and stern well tucked down.
Any details from past owners would be well received.


MV Mavis



Mavis started life back 1918 as a Lanes 40′ trawler. Fast forward to 2004 when she had a  major refit that included –  hull refastened and splined, new decks and cabin, new  John Deere 150HP engine and re-wired. Given that she was recently in MNZ survey, she is very highly spec’ed and looks like she could handle just about anything that mother nature could throw at her. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the heads up re the trademe listing.

Do we know anything more about her past?

Yesterdays story on the Classic Launch Parade just got better – more photos ex Jason Prew added, scroll down to view.

Rosemary M – A peek down below



Rosemary M – A peak down below

Rosemary M has appeared numerous times on ww in various ‘states’, in todays photos she is looking very smart, possibly the best she has in her 102 year life.
She was built in 1915 by Lanes & named Rothesay, which became Maude T, that became Speedwell, that became Jean, that became Rosemary M. No wonder we get confused on the provenance of these classic motor boats 🙂

As a result of her trademe listing we get to have a peek down below, again very impressive.  Enjoy the tour 🙂

If the weekend has gone to plan, tomorrow there will be coverage from the Mahurangi Regatta – the biggest on-the-water classic boating event in NZ.
I promise lots & lots of photos.

If anyone has photos from either Mahurangi or yesterdays Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta – email in to waitematawoodys@gmail.com.

New photos added 16-11-2017

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photos & details ex Dave Murphy via Zach Matich

OK woodys, today’s launch is the Lane built kauri hulled ‘Irene’ – 31′ long with a beam of 9’6″ & 2’10” draft. Other than that ww does not know a lot about her past. She is currently powered by  a 120hp, 6 cylinder D series Ford which was rebuilt 2012, with approx. $6,500 spent on her & has only done 100 hrs since then. You will see from the photos that she has all the things that make life easy on these old girls – auto anchor, gas fridge etc. If this is starting to sound like an advertisement, that is because Irene is for sale & at around $20k in my eyes is very good value + she has not been too mucked around with. Throw $5>10k at a good wood friendly boat builder & you would have a very smart classic. Not that there appears to be anything wrong with her now, as the architects say ‘the bones are there’.
Her owner Dave Murphy can be contacted on 09 439 8609

Can we uncover more about her past ? home at the moment is the Kaipara Harbour.



photos ex AH & trademe

I spotted Moana at anchor in Coromandel Harbour between Xmas & New Year. A little digging resulted in a trademe listing so if you believe that, she was built by Lanes in 1954 & is a kauri carvel planked, large volume displacement launch at 42.5′. Powered by a 6LX Gardiner. Appears to by well fitted out in terms of modern day comms & navigation toys etc.

Just a pity about the block of flats on top 😦  , but as they say – each to their own.

Now my bitch of the day – why do people selling classic boats (both the public & brokers) almost never include the boats name in a listing. Makes it bloody hard to find the listing & only drops  the value, as the serious potential buyers are most likely to know the boat or know someone that knows her.

Harold Kidd Update

Ted Gilpin told me that she was built by Lane Motor Boat Co. for game fishing in at Mayor Island by Alan Hunter and that Peter Parsons had a hand in her design and construction.

Update 17-03-2019 Moana getting some TLC at Gulf Harbour (photo K Ricketts)

Wai Lani

Wai Lani

All I can tell you is she is currently listed on trademe & if you believe trademe she is a 30′ 1922 Lane. As type this I can hear HDK saying “aren’t they all” 🙂

Can anyone confirm & or supply more details?

Harold Kidd Update

Aren’t they all?

But, seriously, WAI LANI was built for James Thomas Dart Lloyd, a Herne Bay builder and architect in 1916. The newspapers were fairly quiet on trivia like launches being built in 1916 (and it was possibly considered vaguely unpatriotic anyway). He kept her for an enormous period, finally selling her in the early 1960s. He died in 1965. 

I can find no certain reference to her builder (without a time machine). However a subsequent owner told me she was built by Dick Lang in St Mary’s Bay which figures because Lloyd lived in Ring Terrace only metres from Lang’s shed. However, she did have a Scripps 2 cylinder engine, for which Lanes were the agents, until 1930, when it was replaced with a 25hp Canadian-built St. Lawrence which engines were briefly popular at the time because of the lower duty attracted by “Empire Preference” tariffs, just as most of our Ford V8s were built in Toronto. So maybe she was Lanes. Lanes/Laing/Lang often get mixed up in these mythological whakapapa for launches.

There are some 1930s race entries in the name of Sam Leyland, the timber mogul. It’s clear that Leyland and Lloyd were buddies and neighbours and that Leyland must have been between launches (he changed them like the wind, often renaming them, bless his cotton socks)

So I can’t convincingly shoot down the “Lanes” but I can shoot down the “1922”.

17-04-2016  photos ex Fraser Chapman via Ken R







Built c.1927, most likely a Lanes (I can hear HDK now 🙂 “aren’t they all” )50′ in length. Owner looking for more details on her past. Dauntless most likely not the original name.
Currently berth at Milford Marina (the creek).

31-01-2019 Update – Hauled out at Milford Cruising Club yard for some TLC. Photo ex Jason Prew

dauntless @ mcc jan2019

Understanding the Lanes by Baden Pascoe

Understanding the Lanes by Baden Pascoe

As time drifts on, there is much confusion growing over who actually built some of our older wooden boats. I often skim through Trade-A-Boat or surf the boat section in Trade Me and see these old boats with, Bailey Built, Lane Built, and Miller & Tonnage etc. Often you see boats with the wrong builders name and the broker is at a total loss over the heritage of the boat. I have told one or two of them if they spent a little time on getting their facts correct, they may have more of a chance of selling the boat! However the name is often correct but most of these families had no business relationship with other family members even though they were in the same industry and often the designs varied as well.

Overall Lanes would have to be the most confusing name in the wooden boat building industry in New Zealand. I will endeavor to give you a very brief overview of the history and structure of this amazingly talented family. This subject certainly deserves more words than I can put in this article. I will also add that the history of the maritime side of the Lane family is one of my favourite subjects, thanks to my old friend Arch Fell and the writings of David Ward. Arch was Joe Fells (served time at Lane & Brown and married into the Lane family) son and he was a very meticulous man and a perfect gentleman may I add, who understood the boat building side of things.

I may receive a little flack for making this statement, but the roots of this boat building dynasty dates back earlier than our most popular Auckland based boat builders who are fairly well researched and recorded. To add to this the Lanes and their extended family built the widest range of designs and size in this country.

All this started when William Lane and his wife Mary Ann, Cotswold farmers who arrived in Auckland on 20th August 1860 on the “Persia”. Soon after this they traveled north and settled in the Bay of Islands at Clendon Cove (near Russell) while their house was being built at Kaeo. Most of  the timber and hardware for the house they brought with them.

While at Clendon Cove they became good friends with a man by the name of William Paine Brown who ran a business repairing smaller trading boats. This was the perfect place for their second eldest son Thomas Major Lane to learn the trade of shipwright and boat builder. His older brother Soloway was immediately apprenticed to Sydney based ship owners, W. McArthur & Co as a seaman.

William Paine Brown was a man with the sea in his blood. He came from the southern English port of Deal and was the son of a local pilot and attended a school set up for, only sons of pilots. At the age of 12 he started his apprenticeship as a shipwright & boat builder with his uncle and by the age of 16 he wanted to extend his seafaring abilities, so signed on as crew on the ship “Pusine Hall”. He stayed with this ship for quite a few years after visiting many ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans including Japan. In 1833 he left Deal for the last time, final destination, New Zealand. He arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1836 and to cut a long story short after a lot of crewing problems on the ship, went A.W.O.L into the hills of Kawakawa. After the ship left he then returned to Kororeka (now Russell) where he spent 3 weeks. He described the town as a “hell hole”. He did go back to sea and served on several missionary coastal ships for about three years as first mate. In 1838 when back in “ The Bay” he met William Gardner and formed both a friendship and business partnership. They purchased land at Te Whahapu from Gilbert Mair who had the “Karere” built in 1831. (one of the first boats built in New Zealand, poss first 5)

The two Williams were possibly the first ones to establish a ship and boat building business, as we know it today. Before this most of the boats were built as one off projects on temporary sites. Brown had eight children and amongst these was son William Jnr who was two years younger to apprentice Thomas Major Lane. Things got more intertwined when William Paine’s wife, Catherine died of pneumonia. By his time William was 46 years of age with five smaller children and he needed help. So he married Mary Elizabeth Lane aged 22  sister of Thomas Major Lane.

After T.M Lane finished his apprenticeship he left Browns business and went freelance building,  houses, bridges and boats around the district but set up base in Kaeo in 1868.

The first boat he built there was the 45’ x 12.8 x 5.2 “Sunbeam” and he called on the help of his close friend William Brown Jnr and relations William and Joseph Hare and Thomas Skinner. She was launched in 1870 (reg). This was the very beginning of the famous Lane & Brown name that I think is a major part of the D.N.A. of the boat building industry we have today. Another boat was built near the site of the Kaeo Fish factory (was a dairy factory) and at a later date they took up the site in Totara North where the Lane Timber Mill still stands. Looking  back, I think the strengths of these two families and the business was that they were surround by the very best boat building timber known to man. They ran their own mill and milled the timber exactly how they wished, especially for various parts of shipbuilding. Willie Brown and Thomas Lane simply lived and breathed ship and boat building and as a result of this so did their off spring. Both of these men and their wives were deeply religious and honesty and integrity was a part of every thing they did. At the height of things the building sheds (there were two) had a total floor space of 15,000 square feet, one shed was 140’ x 40’ and the other 120 x 30’. The larger shed and its slipping gear could cater for ships up to 350 tones. The equipment included two vertical, one band and five circular saws. They also had planing, trunelling, moulding and turning machinery, all driven by a portable Marshall semi-portable engine. So it was not hard to see this would have been a state of the art place for young men to learn the trade. The quality of Lane & Brown ships and boats was high and orders came from Australia and the Pacific. Some say this partnership built the greatest tonnage of wooden ships and boats in New Zealand. That is to be researched and debated.

Moving on from here to about 1900, between Willy and Thomas they had eleven boys who all wanted to be in the business. So mutually the business was split. Willy and his sons moved to Te Kopuru near Dargaville and set up W. Brown & Sons, and Thomas stayed put because I think this land was originally balloted to his father when he emmigrated to New Zealand. The name changed to T. M. Lane & Sons Boat building & Saw Milling. Later on an Auckland branch was established in 1909 on the Auckland waterfront and specialised in launch building with a few import agencies like Scripps Marine Engines. This business was run by Major Lane and later on by his son Garth and renamed the “Lane Motorboat Co” in 1927 on the death of Thomas. The business moved to Panmure in the early 1950’s. In 1904 one of the other brothers, Ernie after a stint in North America set up shop in Picton alongside the Rowing club. (were the Eco is now). He was a very versatile builder and built a range of workboats, launches and motor whale chasers right up until his death in 1949. From what I have researched he was possibly the father of our high-speed hard chine workboats.

Marrying into the family was another talented likable young man who was apprenticed to Thomas and Willy, named Joe Fell who eventually married Capt Solloway Lanes daughter, Hannah Laura Lane. They moved to the Hokianga about the same time as the other boys had spread their wings and built many farm launches and the legendary steamer “Traveller” now “Romo” in 1904.

There were other Lane boys who followed in Soloway’s footsteps as master mariners, and bloody good ones at that! Capt Henry Ellis Lane, master of the Tasman record breaker T.S. “ Huia” from 1917-1936. An absolute ace at his job! Then there was Edmund Lane (1896-1971) who grew up in the homeland of the Bay of Islands. He in fact started “The Famous Cream Run”, not A.E. Fuller is thought. There were others as well.

These people left a legacy of beautiful classic launches and work boats that we are now starting to enjoy and cherish. They are built from an irreplaceable material by a set of skills that are almost lost. We have to save and preserve as many as possible for the future. In addition to what we can still see and touch are all the men who started their careers as shipwrights and boat builders who have also carried on the Lane values. For example, names that still ring are, Jack Morgan who started with Ernie, George Curnow was another of Ernie’s boys and he taught many greats like Doug Robb. In Auckland there was many as well, Brian Lane, Ray Pateman who worked  for Lanes for the duration of his whole career, Max Carter and many more fine tradesmen.

And if you think the name Lane has gone for good, think again, there is Richard Lane of Whangarei with his Phoenix boats, in the aluminium workboat market. Richard is son of Picton Boy Dick Lane and Grandson of Ernie. Richard, I bet the old boy has a smile on his face when he looks down over our great boat building nation and your aluminium motor scows. Good on ya mate, keep on training those boys!

Credits: Arch Fell, David Ward, Kaeo Museum,