Harold and I have finally sorted the mystery of Matatua (well it was only a mystery to us, the rest of the world couldn’t care less 🙂 ).
Matatua was built as a 33-foot ketch by Roy Lidgard in 1938 at their yard in Freemans Bay Auckland for C.T. Jonas who originally named her Landfall.
NZ Herald 13/8/1938 has a photo of her on page 12 being built ‘for C.T. Jonas’.
Landfall was launched 19/11/1938 and described as an ‘auxilliary ketch’ 33ft overall, 26ft on the waterline with 9ft 6in beam. She carried 600 sq ft of sail and it was reported that her owner intended making a cruise to the islands at the end of the 1938-39 season.
From then on, no more mention of Landfall and it appears that C.T. Jonas and his co-owner Harry Gillard, renamed her Matatua quite soon after launching.
The ketch Matatua first appears in print in February 1939 racing with other boats in the Lidgard employees picnic from the Freemans Bay slipway to Motuihe. She raced regularly with RNZYS and RAYC for the rest of the season. Her registration number was B-9.
The ketch rig clearly wasn’t a success because in September 1939 the NZH 26/9/39 reports ‘aux yacht Landfall owned by C.T. Jonas which made an appearance last year under ketch rig has been converted into a cutter’. This reference to Landfall is odd because she had been named Matatua since at least the beginning of 1939, but maybe they were just making the connection back their earlier articles.
In the winter of 1940, yet more improvements.
NZH 2/7/40: B-class yacht Matatua owned by C. Jonas has had 2ft 6in added to her counter by Lidgard Bros. OA length now 35ft 6in and will enable carrying a permanent backstay,
NZH 9/12/40: Photo of Matatua with her new cutter rig, B-9 on the sail.
The war intervenes and Matatua ceases racing.
During this time the Auckland yacht registration records, probably having been moved about or in storage during the war, had fallen into disarray. By the time a new list is published in July 1946, Matatua has been registered twice, first by Harry Gillard, who retained B-9, and again by C.T. Jonas who got a new number B-24. The error was picked up and B-24 lapsed but it remained in the official lists for a couple of seasons until another purge of obsolete registrations in 1948.
Clarrie Irvine raced Matatua, as B-9, for the next couple of seasons and sold her in 1949 to R. Campbell of Wellington. The trip to Wellington under delivery skipper Terry Hammond was hard and they were missing for several days after hitting a nor’westerly gale just off Cape Palliser that blew them as far south as Kaikoura. After getting back to almost the same spot, they ran into a westerly gale that blew them back out to sea. Eventually Matatua got to Wellington, her crew had been battered for 84 hours.
Matatua remained in Wellington (registered as Wellington A-10) for the next 12 years or so. She was purchased by K. Stutter in 1957, and in 1962 was sold to D. Fletcher of Epsom who brought her back to Auckland where she picked up her old number of B-9. Fletcher didn’t appear to do any racing but in 1968 he sold her to George Retter of the Richmond Yacht Club who owned and raced her until 1981.
Matatua has had no registered owners since then. Her NZYF number is 109
One major confusion with Matatua has been the Bob Stewart design Mata-a-tua built for George Gresham of Tauranga in 1947. When Matatua was sold to Wellington, her B-9 registration became vacant and was issued to Gresham’s Mata-a-tua thus beginning a series of tortured confusions in boating magazines and newspapers between the two boats.
This was continued when Mata-a-tua was also sold to Wellington in 1958 where she became Wellington A-9. Her owner Brian Millar brought her to Auckland in 1964 and she entered the 1965 Anniversary Regatta under her Wellington number A-9. (A-9?.. A-9??.. That’s Moana and We can’t have that!!) In February she was re-registered as B-47.
Another tedious ‘golly gee’ point. Both Clarrie Irvine and George Retter owned the Bailey built C-class Matua C-54. Both of them sold Matua to buy Matatua
I have been told to ‘get a life’ by many people.
MANAROA BAY (Lady Leila)
Miss Betty > Kalua
Today’s wooden started life back in 1952, named Miss Betty and built by Lidgard as a purpose built work boat for Rope Shipping to tow timber barges on the Kaipara Harbour.
She was sold c.1970 to a doctor who renamed her Kalua and had her converted into a pleasure launch. She was then sold approx 17 years later to Jock McKenzie from Clevedon who had her for 10 years until the current owners father (Mike) brought her. Mike went everywhere in her. She was a great sea boat and approx. 12 years ago Mike gave her a birthday which was a major makeover by boat builder Peter Reynolds.
Kalua is 2 skin kauri, measures 42’, 11’ beam and a 4’ draft. Power comes from a Ford 180hp turbo, that sees her cruising at 8-9 knots.
As a result of her trade listing (thanks Ian McDonald) the seller, Todd (son of Mike) was contacted by Steve Parker those uncle Gordon Brown (still alive at 103) was the second owner. He purchased her from their uncle Dick Rope & brought her over from the Kaipara. He owned her for 21 years. Steve was an apprentice mechanic & helped install the 120 hp Ford. Kalua featured on TV in an ad for Farmers Trading Co. His daughter Lynette featured in the ad. Gordon sold the boat to the doctor, Gordon changed the name to Kalua, not the doctor.
FYI re the name Miss Betty – Betty was Dick Rope’s wife.
Another visual case study in the evolution of an old woody as styles and usage changed over the year.
Input from Harold Kidd – For what it’s worth, the APYMBA records show her builder as “Rope/Warmington”, date of build 1950 (perhaps a Lidgard design?). Owner in 1964 was G.W. Brown of 35 London St Ponsonby with a Fordson then W. Curtis, 28 Cornwall Park Ave in 1966 and then back to G.W. Brown by 1973. Query, is this the KAHLUA that was pinched from Shoal Bay by a bank robber in 1982?
Today’s story originated from woody John Wicks – John advised that the West Harbour Marina (now renamed Hobsonville Marina) were having a clear-out of what the locals call “Death Row”, the part of the hardstand where abandoned boats go to die. Either their marina fees haven’t been paid and they were at some point lifted out and impounded, or in the case of Sea Reaper, were already there and the owner has disappeared or just failed to keep up hardstand fees.
John believes that Sea Reaper is a Lidgard built fishing boat, made out of some fair sized chunks of tree-wood. She had been laid up at the marina for several years, and was moved to “Death Row” a few months ago. The hardstand crew had begun to partly dismantle her (removed the superstructure) preparatory to taking to her with a chain saw. Luckily, just a couple of days before the saw began buzzing, someone (a masochist??) bought her for a nominal sum. She’s to be razeed to deck level (the Gardner removed and trucked separately) to get her size and weight down and trucked to – somewhere – where she’ll hopefully be restored.
So woodys – anyone know where she went & what the plans are?
Input from G R Lidgard
Built Lidgards Bayswater 1963/4 to design by Athol Burns for East Coast Fisheries, home port Gisborne. Was heavily specc’d Kauri (I think) on Australian hanrdwoods and was fastened with copper bolts and into grounds with a variety of large cast dumps, it surprises me that such a well built and in survey boat was let go to such an extent. I remember their was little income in this type construction which was quite dated even then.
Input (photo below) from Cameron Pollard
And more photos from Cameron P.
The stick comes out
Max height & max load for a 3am move 😉
11-09-2017 – Ian McDonald asks a question – could she be a Saunders build ? see below
National Library of New Zealand – Archives
Interview with Alfred Saunders
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Date: 14 Dec 1994 By: Saunders, Alfred Carr, 1911-2010
Alfred Saunders born at Point Halswell, Wellington 1911. Recalls his father was an artilleryman in the army, stationed at the Point to look after the large gun there. Talks about growing up on the Miramar Peninsula, Fort Ballance and other forts around the harbour. Also talks about period when father left the army and they moved to Whangaroa where his father took up crayfishing.
Recalls leaving school at the age of 15 years and commencing an apprenticeship as a shipwright with B J L Jukes Ltd, a boatbuilder in Balena Bay, Wellington. Describes his duties as an apprentice and explains that many of the boats worked on at the yard belonged to Island Bay and Eastbourne fishermen. Mentions living at Paraparaumu where he built a 40 foot fishing vessel called `May’ for a Mr Buckland at Plimmerton during the Great Depression. Refers to his work during World War II, describing some of the vessels he worked on which were commandeered by the navy. After the war went fishing from Paremata and details type of fishing and fish caught. Describes location of his boat yard at Paremata foreshore where he built a number of fishing and pleasure craft. Talks about the Sea Reaper, a vessel of 50 feet in length that he built and operated with his sons during the 1960s. Talks about the crayfish boom at the Chathams and the big demand for vessels. Mentions some of the problems encountered with the Marine Department surveyors and the modern fishing regulations. Talks about son, Harold, who has a boatbuilding business in Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds.
Mystery Lidgard Launch
The above launch is only a mystery because the broker has not revealed her name.
I can tell you that she was built by Lidgard’s in 1955, is 35’ in length, with a 10’5” beam. She has a kauri planked hull. The zoom zoom comes from a 120hp Ford diesel & home is the Marlborough Sounds.
Any southern woodys able to ID this launch?