Tuatea – A Peek Down Below

TUATEA – A Peek Down Below

The 36’ launch Tuatea was built by Millers in Port Chalmers Dunedin in c.1930. Dock-side chat has it that she was built for the Hudson family of Cadbury Hudson chocolate fame and during WWII she was used by the NZ Navy Auxiliary Patrol Service, in Lyttleton Harbour from May 1942 > February 1944. Her pennant number was Z124 and is documented in the book NZ Navy Vessels by R J McDougall.

Built from kauri she was extensively rebuilt 15 years ago – with a new kauri full head room cabin, hull fully restored, fibre glassed over ply deck. Forward motion comes from a BMC Commodore 3.8 ltr., 62hp Nufield diesel engine. From her tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald) she looks to be a project boat i.e. some finishing work, but the big jobs appear to have been done. 

First Tuesday of the month tomorrow – so there must be a Classic Yacht Association committee meeting happening (via Zoom) – so the banner below is a reminder to elected members to be kind and support inclusion not segregation on the topic of the new Heritage Basin marina 🙂



WW has been contacted by Nic Innes seeking help on-covering details on this launch Islay. All he knows is that it was previously owned, for 33 years by a Peter Weeks, and built in the early 1930’s by Millers of Lyttelton. Islay is 36’ in length.

The photo above is reflective of the launch when Nic bought her approx. 2 years ago. The photo below is as current. Nic has been restoring/changing her for a while now. Nic commented that she was pretty much completely rotten on the top side and he has gone for a more usable cabin space. However the immediate goal for now is to just keep it dry so it can be used and enjoyed in the mean time with all the modern luxuries. Nic understands that she has been in Havelock for a long time.

Can anyone help Nic in his quest?

Harold Kidd Input

 (1) I’ll stick my neck out and say that this ISLAY was built by J.McPherson of Dunedin in September 1927 with a 25hp 4 cyl Kermath. R L Kennett of Christchurch bought her in 1936 and had her refitted by Millers. Kennett owned her right up to WW2. G. Davis owned her from 1946 to at least 1962. He replaced the Kermath with a 100hp Austin in 1953. R.B.McMillan of Lyttelton owned her in 1973.

(2) ECLIPSE was built in Dunedin by McPherson in November 1922. Maybe kejo’s two photos are from some McPherson provenance and maybe his ISLAY is a different boat from the McPherson-built Dunedin boat, although they were of the same length and both Kermath-powered. The Kermath was a popular engine at the time, however. Still, the Dunedin ISLAY vanishes at about the time an ISLAY pops up in Lyttelton.  Just to add to the mystery, it’s just possible that Kennett’s ISLAY was his PASTIME, renamed after a rebuild at MIllers..Who says launches are simple?Happy days!