THE LAUNCH MIDNIGHT II AND THE CHAMBERLIIN FAMILY OF PONUI ISLAND
I received an email last week from Ross Dawson, a passionate woody fan, Ross resides in Kawakawa Bay and let me know that he had just visited Peter Chamberlin in a retirement home and he kindly gave permission for Ross to take a few copies of photos in his family photo album. Peter’s son David now manages the family farm at Motunau (the South end of Ponui Island).
The launch – Midnight lI according to notes in Peter Chamberlin’s photo album, was a petrol powered launch built for Peter’s father Fred (son of Charles jnr) by Lanes in 1928 and was sold to Ian Chamberlin in 1950, when Fred took delivery of the Colin Wild built diesel launch – Motunau. WW would love to learn more about Midnight II and what became of her.This weekend I will share the story of – Midnight, the Chamberlin’s yacht.
Before we finish today – Ross has a hobby horse he would like to exercise 🙂 I’ll let Ross tell the story
“I want to comment on, what seems to be a common theme whereby Aucklanders from the earliest colonial times right up to the present day, seem to think that privately-owned Gulf islands are a legitimate place to wander at will, help one’s self to whatever is lying around, and to depart leaving behind much more than one’s footprints! The old newspaper articles surprised me that petty theft, and not so petty theft was perhaps as common in 1800’s as it is today.
The first items I noticed, up to about 1900, were advertisements promising rewards for “information leading to the prosecution of persons who had stolen large quantities of standing and cut wood”…probably tea tree I am guessing. ( Auckland used huge quantities of firewood for domestic heating & cooking in colonial times)
From about 1900 for perhaps 30 years, the adverts changed to dire threats of prosecution for dastardly scow operators helping themselves to beach shingle. (Ted Ashby’s book “Phantom Fleet” gives a good explanation of illegal shingle extraction)
Other newspaper public notices refer to other problems of shooting of pigs and farm stock. It seems the Chamberlin families might have been justified in having jaundiced views about their mainland neighbours, and it is surprising that they have managed to maintain a reputation of being gracious hosts to visitors and willing helpers to boatees in need of rescue.
Even today, they deserve better from the wider Auckland public. As a long time yachtsman myself, often anchoring in Ponui’s many bays, I am sometimes horrified by the casual way boating people feel it okay to roam over the island, sometimes even with their dogs. Some even think it okay to browse around the farm buildings…do they actually think Ponui is public estate?
And while I am on a rant, where do all the plastic bait bags littering the beaches come from…not accidental discharges from Auckland storm water drains! A great stain on the reputation of the majority of well behaved boating community. My heart goes out to the Island owners who also pay eye-watering land rates to a City Council that does very little by way of public services which we take for granted on the mainland.”
Update ex Ross Dawson – he meant to add – “No criticism intended”