Classic Wooden Boating – Kawau Island 1929 Movie


Sometimes I come across classic woody content that is just too good to not share, sometimes the format might be an old home movie footage or faded photos straight out of a shoe box – todays one such day. Mooching around the www I came across a Lew Redwood fb post that had a link to some film footage from c.1929 that is stored / saved at Nga Taonga – the NZ archive of film, television and sound.

The footage is tagged – PLEASURE ISLE, KAWAU ISLAND. Viewing it, it quickly becomes obvious that back in the day it was made to promote tourism / visitation to Kawau Island.

Mansion House Bay is wall to wall wooden launches and a few wind thiefs. Just too many to try and identify but some look familiar.

The images above are screen grabs from the movie footage. Below is the link to the movie – its great viewing – enjoy 🙂

Classic Launches at Kawau Island 1939

Classic Launches at Kawau Island 1939

Todays photo comes to us from the AKL Library Heritage Collection and is tagged ‘Colourised image – Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island, 1939′

Think I can confidently ID the three launches in the middle of the photo, being – Amakura II > Rehia > Atalanta. (correction – more likely to be Marguerite/Lady Una. Thanks Patrick O’Mera for the heads up)

Wonderful to see that Rehia has remained almost unaltered for the last 80+ years – we like that 🙂 Recent WW story on her here

The smaller launch to the left has me stumped. Anyone able to ID her .

Kawau Island Woodys c.1960’s

Kawau Island Woodys c.1960’s

Following on from last Sundays story on the launch Sobrine at Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island – today we have another woody photo from the same bay. Again from the Parsonson family collection via Mitchell Hutchings fb.

In the background we see the ‘CeeBee  Air’ Grumman Widgeon, most likely piloted by Fred Ladd taxiing into the bay – a common sight back then.

So woodys – can we put a name on the launch?


A blatant commercial plug today – I recently had the frig/freezer serviced on Raindance, the difference is staggering – ice cold beer and I was in the dog box for freezing the wine….

I use Extremely Cool – run by Darrin Kennedy, all frig work but a whiz on compressor driven set ups. Not long to Xmas so book a service asap at

And a blonde question – why do Heineken bottles freeze much faster than Corona bottles? I asked that question at KBC on Saturday night and was told that it was due to what the Mexican brewers do in the tanks before being exporting to the USA …. Hopefully an urban legend 🙂


Kawau Island Woodys


Hopefully todays photo will slightly resemble my view this morning, the Labour weekend cruise had a target of Kawau Island, weather permitting.

The photo above comes to us from Mitchell Hutchings fb ex the wonderful Parsonson Family collection. Thank you Mitchell for sharing.


All correct answers to naming the launch bottom left in the photo will go into the draw for a WW t-shirt, fresh off the screen printing press. Close off will be Monday 24th Oct at 5pm. Email your answer to waitematawoodys@waitematawoodys

The launch is – Sobrine

Sunday At Kawau Island + Win A WW T-shirt

Sunday At Kawau Island + Win A WW T-shirt

Hopefully today I’ll be mooching around the same spot as where the above photo was taken – Kawau Island, Mansion House Bay – then later on in Smelting House Bay (KBC).

I’ll put up a WW t-shirt for the woody that can ID correctly the most launches in the photo. I’ll give you starter – the launch on the right at the back (#7) is Nathan Herbert’s Pacific – I only know that because he told me 🙂  Click on the image to enlarge. Entries by email only to the address below – closes 6pm Monday 31 Jan 2022

Below Is Ken Ricketts Crack At ID’ing The Launches Featured Above – All Based On Memory. Better Than Some Of The Attempts Sent In 🙂 

“Starting with boat #1, we see the Lane Motor Boat Lady Sandra owned by Len Peckham, with Len visible at the flying bridge.At the time of launching she had a seek coamings profile, but Len discovered shortly after her launching, that that sleek low profile made it very difficult to see from the downstairs helm, so he had the Perspex dome, as seen in the image fitted soon after launching, to overcome this  shortcoming.Power at that time, came from 2 x 90 HP Scripps flat head 6 cyl petrol engines, in right at the stern under large hatches, in the built in aft deck, — (she had no cockpit), which faced forward & drove through intermediate shafts to detached Vee drive gear boxes that doubled a 2 to 1 reductions gears to the prop shafts. Lane Motor Boat was one of the very early boatbuilders to fit silencers to petrol engines, & along with the Wanda II, Connie V, Sou East and Nor West, she had almost silent exhausts well above the waterline, out the stern, & in her case, along with the 2 sister ships Nor West and Sou East, built around that era as well, she had side facing cowls over the exhaust outlets directing the exhaust gasses in to the slipstream along each side of  the hull, which seemed to work very well. Peckman sold her after only a very few years. 

Right alongside her, is Arnold Baldwin’s Lidgard built 46’ Valsan, (Boat #2) which started life, in the later 1930s at 38 feet, with a built in aft deck, which had an additional 8’ added to give her, her cockpit, done just before WWII, for original owner Alex Harvey, who named her after his children, Valerie & Sandy. He sold her around the end of the war to a Mr Annan who renamed her Lady Edith. Arnold B bought her c1948 renamed her back to Valsan, which as far as I know she still is today, & his old boat the Menai passed to Horry Whimp. She had 2 x 90 hp Graymarine flat head petrol engines from new, for the majority of her period of the Arnold B stewardship, but he eventually replaced them with 2 marinised 4 ltr Ford Falcon petrol engines in his later years of ownership.I believe Arnold kept Valsan until around the time of his death, many years later. 

Boat #3 is the Reremoana which was built in the mid/late 1930s by Bill Couldry as a 28’ sedan topper but was added to, take her to 36’ by one of the Lanes I recall, but not sure which one, with entirely new coamings with a bridgedeck style around 1939  & that is how she is looking in this image. She was seized by the Police in the 2000s during a criminal investigation & pulled apart inside & out & what was left was bought by a recent post 2000  owner who has rebuilt her along the lines of the image in the pic to a degree. Never knew any owners or engine details.

 Next we go to #4, the Ford V8 powered Lady Joan & at the time this was taken it would have been shortly after Stan Headland sold her, when he had just bought #6 the Lady Clare, off Jim Faire, & Stan H can be seen on the bow of Lady Clare talking to Lady Joan’ new owners, I would presume. Lady Joan was also eventually seized by the police as part of another criminal investigation & demolished by them sometime around 2000 or a bit later. 

#5 is the 28′ Fred Lidgard built, sedan topper  for Frank Pigeon. Frank can be seen with his head out the hatch as if he is looking to tie up.Frank owned Sunny Bay, Kawau Island & Fred built the boat which had no visible name on her exterior that I can recall, for Frank, as transport to & from his  property, & general use for collecting stores & visiting friends around the island.  

#6 is as above, Lady Claire, she had a large Lycoming petrol engine, which Stan H. later changed to a Kermath a couple of years after he bought her. She is a stunning mid1930s, Colin Wild design & build  & while she has a different builder, to me, she has many similarities, to Ted Clarke’s 1939 Dick Lang built Lady Margaret.  

Finally we come to #7, Pacific built by Joe Slattery over 100 years ago for the Hobbs Family, who were farmers at the outer end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, & in the very early days she would have been used for all farm associated work, & other business associated matters, as transport to Auckland, family picnics, & to catch up with the neighbours. She is still unbelievably in the original family & still looking more or less absolutely original as far as I know. When I first went aboard her Christmas in Mansion House Bay she had  a 3 or 4 cyl Twigg petrol engine right in the very bow forward of her little bridgedeck in its own little white painted engine room. (She must have had a propeller shaft almost as long as the boat,)  & it had 3 or 4 individual cylinder blocks bolted to a separate crankcase with no cylinder heads & the spark plug sitting in the centre of the top of each cylinder block. The engine was painted bottle green. She will have had several engine transplants since then, the latest a new modern diesel fitted recently.”  (edited by Alan H)        

Kawau Island 1958 Mystery Launch

Kawau Island 1958 Mystery Launch

Today’s photo comes to us from William (Bill) Brown, and is dated Feb 1958 and was taken on his parents honeymoon cruise, and the location is Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island. I’m pretty sure they were not on this boat, but Bill if you see this story, can you confirm? Bill lives and works overseas. 

The boat looks familiar but I wont try and guess – can we get a positive match? Original (non crop or colour corrected) copy of the photo below.

Yesterdays Lidgard 1/2 models – anyone else have a view, when the knowledge of Dave Jackson is ‘in play’ – we all tend to freeze – the mans seldom wrong 🙂

UPDATE: The launch is Lady Joan, thanks Ken R for the reminder. Sadly no longer a float she was scraped back in 2018 and a few fittings were saved, hopefully to grace another woody. Photos below LJ has appeared on WW before – see and read more here

Classic Wooden Launches at Kawau Island

Classic Wooden Launches at Kawau Island
Back in the good old days, Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island was the spot to be if you owned a launch in Auckland. I suspect it had something to do with the presence of a licensed watering-hole (pub) on the island 🙂

The two photos above come to us from – Heritage Images via Nathan Herbert. We talked about a competition to name the launches but it would be too hard to judge. So woodys enjoy the photos.
A question – is it Christmas yet? 

Help Needed
If you have any photos you want to share – send them in, I’ll be looking for stories over the xmas / ny break. Send to

Classic Wooden Boats At Kawau Island

Classic Wooden Boats At Kawau Island 

At Sundays Stillwater woodys picnic I was chatting to boat builder Greg Lees and he showed me the above photograph (in its frame) of Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island that a neighbour had given him. Interesting that for once the bay is almost bare of yachts – maybe they were off racing at the time.

Are we able to ID some of the launches? I have numbered the boats in the b/w photo below + included a couple of blow ups of the photo, which may help.

Kawau Island – Unknown Launches


Today’s photo ex Lew Redwood is tagged The Wharf At Mansion House, Kawau Island. There is a WW t-shirt up for grabs for any woody that can correctly name the three launches (L>R) at the wharf. In the event more than one of you get it right, we will do a draw. Entries via email only to


Mystery Launches – Mansion House Bay

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Mystery Launches – Mansion House Bay

Today’s photo of Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island comes to us via Lew Redwood’s fb and is tagged 1920 – 1939 so that date spread isn’t much use to us.
An unusual photo given that no yachts are seen.
Any eagle eyed woodys able or brave enough to ID any of the boats?
Ken Ricketts was probably there (in nappies) and will remember the sound of each boats engine 🙂
WCW Riverhead June2020