A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

Todays story so needed to be done, and woodys, John Bullivant is a legend for grabbing his camera and heading out on our behalf. I’ll let John tell his story 🙂

“Thought it was about time I got a few photos on the Tamaki River boats before they disappear, (and they are going fast by the look of some). There are only a fraction of the numbers of wooden boats that were moored there in the 1960s and 1970s and as I previously mentioned, living on the waterfront at Bucklands Beach for around 25yrs I had seen most of them go by (was like Queen St on Friday nights most summer weekends) I did 2 trips down from Orewa and took pics from Panmure Boat Club and up to and under the new Panmure Bridge, end of Gabadore Pl (off Carbine Rd), the old Panmure Marina, (going with many houses from Panmure to Pakuranga Town centre, to make way for new highway widening), along the Tamaki River walkway for about 4km (Rotary Walk,- starts at the old Panmure Marina and goes all the way to Gills Rd in Howick, for those who like walking), Half Moon Bay and Bucklands Beach.

I also went down to the 1960s site of the private ex RNZAF W1  haul-out ramp below the old Alright property (well covered in bush now and a near vertical climb down a 30ft bank), – lost a bit of blood but well worth it for me, as I last stood on that spot 50yrs ago when we sneaked on board W1 to have a look around while she was up there. Original ramp and haul-out dolly is still there (see pics) although time has taken its toll. I’m amazed, looking at the crude set-up today, how Mr Alright got a 64ft boat weighing many tons, sitting on rubber tyred dollies (which ran in grooved concrete) lined up and hauled out with a winch and by the looks of it, the large tree in line with the ramp, not to mention getting it back out again (I’m assuming he must have winched it back out somehow). Massive effort not only to build the ramp on mud, (all by hand, no concrete pumping trucks) but to be able to use it.

Hope these photos are of interest to people who may be able to identify some of the mystery boats (especially the light blue launch with the chrome ventilators and light, (looks ex RNZAF ?). The yacht hidden near the big boatshed is around 45ft looks very old and has been there for many years, as has poor old Imatra, a once grand yacht which is in a very sad state and in urgent need of care (must have been there 30 yrs odd now). I have included a few other launches and yachts to show the sad state of many good looking (and once expensive) boats on the river crying out for attention, but I guess many people have other priorities and sadly their dreams are just floating slowly into oblivion. It’s pretty hard to get rid of a rusty rotten hulk, so there they will stay till it’s “business time” (flight of the Conchords) for the 20 ton digger.

I may have some of the boats names wrong as I was using a telephoto lens for most of the pics and with enhancing colour, contrast etc was as near as I could get. I’m sure someone will correct any if wrong.”

NOTE: With the photos that John has named, I have tagged the photos with those names. Scroll over the photos to view the names 😉
I could have used the individual images on WW over an extended period, but they need to be together in one spot. Enjoy 🙂

The Wellington Scene


photos & details ex Harold Kidd & Gavin Pascoe

Some Wellington launches for a change.

Harold recently bought a postcard of a “launch on Auckland Harbour” which was clearly Wellington. Harold keeps in touch with Gavin Pascoe of the Wellington Classic Yacht Trust on anything Wellington so sent him off a copy. Between the two of them they identified her as Phyllis but in passing discussed images of two other similar craft, Doris and Wai-iti.

You can see that they all have a modest  ketch rig and similar configurations.

Phyllis was a 21 footer built at Kilbirnie to a Rudder Mag design by G. Dennis, starting in December 1910 and launching in August 1912. She was still around in early 1916.

Doris was built in Auckland as the 28ft mullet boat Dorothy but was sold to Charlie Moore in Wellington in 1912. He converted her to a deadwood keeler with an auxiliary but she became solely a power boat pretty soon. She was still around in 1929.

Wai-iti was built by Simmonds and Hutson of Wellington in late 1924 and they also built her semi-diesel engine. She was 28ft x 9ft. She lasted until at least WW2.

Harold Kidd Update

PHYLLIS certainly is very pretty, but you’d expect that of a Rudder design.
DOROTHY/DORIS’s cabintop is a bit lumpy, but it was put on in Wellington after she had been converted to a Cook Strait-capable launch from a very basic Auckland-built 28ft fishing mullet boat and form follows function most adequately.
WAI-ITI’s hull form is very sweet but I still can’t get my head around the way her cabin ports are placed, equidistant from the top of the coaming rather than in the middle between the top of the coaming and its bottom (sheer) as is the case in most boats of the time. To me, that’s a little awkward and unsympathetic. This has been commented on before in WW in relation to a possibly amateur-built Wellington launch.