Beatrice > Edna > Lola – A Waiheke Story

Beatrice > Edna > Lola – A Waiheke Story

Story & photo ex Joyce Fairgray, input from Harold Kidd

Today’s photo & story was prompted by the recent ww post / movie ‘Beautiful Waiheke’. The launch Beatrice was built in 1909 by Bailey & Lowe for Jas, Gordon – I’ll let Joyce tell the story.

“When the Lambournes and other city folk holidayed on Waiheke in the 1920s, they were welcomed by other young ones growing up there, who joined in the fun and friendship. 

One was my father Selwyn Pegler (born 1903), son of John and Nell Pegler of Orapiu. Nell was daughter of Martin and Mary Ann Day of Days Bay; her sister Annie married John’s brother George and they lived not far away at Omaru Bay. Both families were large – double first cousins – so there was always a big crowd ready for fun. Numbers were further swollen by more cousins, because another sister, Jane married Will Connell, and brother Ted Day married Mercie Connell. Ted and Mercie’s daughter-in-law, Dixie Day, was author of “Waiheke Pioneers”.

Grandfather John Pegler farmed at Orapiu, and he and Granny Nell leased the boarding house from William McIntosh. It was a family enterprise with parents and children working together to run the place. All had their jobs, cooking, milking cows, cutting firewood, growing vegetables, caring for poultry and much more.

When Dad was in his teens, his father bought the launch from the Gordon family of Awaawaroa. There were a large number of Gordon girls, (yes, one married a Day!) and the launch was named for one – Beatrice. I think.

When Peglers became owners, the name was changed to that of Pegler daughter Edna, and when eventually it was sold to Connells it was named for Connell daughter Lola.

Teenage Dad was told to learn all about the boat from Mr Gordon, and take over the responsibility of launchman for the boarding house, providing guests with fishing, picnics and other excursions. It was also used for transport to and from the island for the holidaymakers. The Fuller family was often among them, and they and others would want to see any shows that were on at His Majesty’s so Dad would get them to the city. He was given a ticket to see the show, and afterwards would take them all back to Orapiu. There were few lights to be seen round the gulf, but one landmark to watch for was a lone house light at Beachlands. Weather deteriorated one night and Dad decided they would have to sleep on the boat at the launch steps, and wait until morning. One lady was very cross about it.

In 1924 the lease was due for renewal. The two oldest girls had gone nursing, other children were reaching adulthood, and my grandparents decided Waiheke could not provide adequate livelihoods for all. The launch and other possessions were sold; they moved to a dairy farm at Paerata, and Dad’s days as a responsible young skipper were over”.

More details & photos of Lola here

Input from Peter Stein
The above article brought back many fond memories.  When our launch “Waitangi” was laid up during the war because of the petrol shortage we relied very much on the “Lola”.  Our only access to Arran Bay was by the Auckland-Cowes Bay ferry.  The usual ferry was the “MV Baroona” but sometimes the “TSS Tangaroa” and “Onewa” were used on the run.  The ferry would stop off at Connell’s Bay and Mr WJ Connell (we knew him as “John Willie”) would bring the Lola alongside  for the passengers to board.  He owned the store in the bay named after him.  He usually had one of his two sons with him.  The elder Eric took over the store after his father died.  The younger son Les managed the farm which included the land behind the houses in Arran Bay.

If my memory serves me correctly the Lola was driven by a two cylinder Lister motor.
During the summer when I was a young boy the family would visit the Pegler’s in Omaru Bay.  It was an opportunity for my father to renew his acquaintance with Mr Pegler and for us to gather fruit from the fine orchard they had.

From the 1920s to the 1980s there would be few boaties that did not visit Connell’s Store for fuel and stores.  My father bought Arran House from WJ Connell in 1924.  Below is a copy of the first account my father received from Mr Connell.


A unique and incredible boat in our Marlborough Sounds, lives in a purpose built, air-conditioned building, on the waters edge.

‘LOLA’ is a 1962 Riva Tritone Aperto, tritone means the boat uses twin engines and apertos is the large open sunbed on the aft deck. She has a LOA of 27ft and is one of only 15 in the world. It is believed to be the only original Riva in New Zealand, and a stunning example of boat restoration. Only 3000 Rivas were built, between 1950 and 1966.

The restored Riva, has a flared bow, confident lines, a tumblehome hull, gleaming engine and exhaust vents and chrome fittings. It seats up to 10 people, plus two (or more) on the sunbed.

The boat is left-hand drive, and uses independent throttles and gear shifts. The latter are on the steering column, (one on either side), while the horizontal throttles are mounted on the side, to the left.

The two Riva Crusader 350XL V8 5.7L 270 horsepower engines offer agility and smooth manoeuvring. The Riva’s fine entry, chine line and deep forefoot combine for a soft ride, light steering and perfect trim. The Crusaders push the boat to a top speed of around 40 knots.

Features of the now restored Riva, include the brand name set into the boss of the steering wheel, the rear vision mirror, the flagstaff, the fairleads, the navigation lights, the windscreen and the windscreen wipers. The attention to detail involved in the craftsmanship is second to none.

LOLA was restored by Sounds Marine boatyard in Waikawa, where the paint was stripped, and the bottom faired. Topsides, some of the teak and mahogany foredeck needed replacing, and a new kingplank was crafted. The interior was cleaned and repainted.

All of the instrumentation is original Riva gear, with original hand-beaten chrome fittings. Many of these latter pieces required re-chroming. Four coats of International’s Epivar two-pot varnish were used on the completed hull, and the bottom painted.

The engines were removed and reconditioned by a local engineering firm, Boating Marlborough.


Length 8.02m
Beam 2.62m
Draft 0.60m
Engines 2 x Riva Crusader 350XL V8 5.7L 270hp
Top Speed 40 knots
Fuel Capacity 476 litres

Video footage at link below (thank you Trade-a-boat)

Story & photos supplied by Ken Rickets. edited by Alan H