Tiakina – A visitor from Dunedin

TIAKINA – A Visitor from Dunedin

I was sent the above photo of Tiakina by Lindsay McMorran, they took the photo of her berth in the Viaduct, Auckland.Lindsay commented that she is an ex Wellington pilot boat, built c.1952 and her normal home port is Dunedin. Tiakina is visiting Auckland for the A-Cup regatta.

Anyone able to enlighten us on her background / past?

Input from John Bullivant – another photo below of Tiakina. John also commented that she may have been built in the UK.

Input and photos below from Cameron Pollard – She was built in the UK. After being disposed of by Wellington Harbour Board she did a stint as a tuna longliner.Refit to pleasure use was done at Jorgensen boat yard.

A couple of photos below – I took today at the Viaduct

Input from Paul Drake – TIAKINA (to take care of) designed by Alex Collings and built by M,W. Blackmore and Son in Bideford England, planked with 52mm makore and powered with two ERL 5/75 Crossleys, each 250hp. She departed Exmouth on October 1 1953 with a crew of eight and arrived Wellington February 12 1954. She required slipping at Colombo after weather damage crossing the Arabian Sea. Voyage distance was about 14,100 nm (26,000km). At 83 feet LOA and 80 tonnes, she was the largest pilot boat on the NZ coast. After just two years service she required major remedial work due to ‘green’ timber being used in her construction. This work took nearly two years and was done by Wellington Harbour Board’s shipwright staff. In 1982 she was extensively rebuilt and re configured by Jorgenson’s of Picton and continued in service. In 1992 she was retired and sold to Auckland owners for a bargain price. She was used for fishing etc before ending up in Dunedin where she fell on better times and is now clearly well loved and transformed into a luxury charter boat. As a retired Wellington pilot, it is heartwarming to see a boat I knew so well still giving good service after nearly 70 years.

18-03-2021 Input from Captain Charles Smith – Like Paul Drake’s fine comments above, I am similarly heartened to see that Tiakina is being well looked after and regularly used. I can add a little to the history. I commenced a 48 year piloting career on Wellington Harbour as skipper of Tiakina in 1972 before being promoted and I experienced many severe conditions and hard knocks whilst on board. Having experienced many other pilot vessels she was firmly my favourite. Tiakina suited the robust sea conditions at Wellington entrance. She was built to last although the constant knocks alongside ships at sea eventually took their toll with framing, particularly on the shoulders. Assembling construction timbers took time. Timbers used included 52mm thick makore hull sheathing, heart pohutukawa branch was used on the stem and stern crooks and the keel was one length of heart tallowwood or ironbark. Being severely tested in daily service it took a team of shipwrights to keep her in service. Heart kauri was used in many places. The nineteen week voyage from the UK via Suez, and north Australia (30 September 1953 to 12 February 1954) was made without the benefit of radar, AIS, PPUs, gyro compass or ECDIS – just skill and a magnetic compass by the eight crew. The contract made by the Wellington Harbour Board was for a price of £35,000 with £5,000 allowed for the delivery voyage. The Harbour Board sought quotations from builders in NZ and Australia before settling on M W Blackmore in Bideford UK. Radar was fitted on arrival in Wellington at a cost of £1,590. Tiakina was constructed to operate in open water conditions off the port entrance after pilotage was deemed to be compulsory from 1 October 1952 (after a collision between two large ships in the entrance channel in May 1950). With port managers at the time having lived through WW2, Tiakina was also designed to be a cruising examination vessel in times of hostility, hence her generous accommodation.

YESTERDAYS MYSTERY LAUNCH QUIZ WINNER – Albert Birnie, Onehunga. The correct answer was – Cyrena, built in 1923 by Dick Lang for Peter Smith

Koputai – Work Boat Conversion


Requests for info on boat on WW can be a lot like paying the pokie machines – you ‘feed’ the machine and pull the handle – sometimes it spins and nothing comes up, most of the time we get a small payout, just enough to keep us motivated to keep playing – then sometimes you hit the jackpot.

Today’s story is a jackpot pay out – starts like this – over the last 5>6 years the 1939, 56′, Miller & Tunnage built – Koputai has popped up on WW and we have been trying uncover more of her history. Back in May 2015 she was for sale and the then owner, the late, Louey Sandiant told us everything you would want to know about the photo + photos. Then in Sept 2020 Keith Foster, who purchased Koputai off Louey contacted WW and supplied some updated photos and a request for any further intel on the boat.

It took a few months but Matt Siddells made contact and advised that his grandfather – Russell Bramwell purchased Koputai as a retired pilot boat and did the conversion to pleasure boat. Matt has very kindly shared the gallery above of photos from the family album. You can see and read more about Koputai at the WW links below

2015    https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/05/03/koputai-sailing-sunday/
2020    https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/09/06/koputai/

Tautane (>Centaurus)


TAUTANE (>Centaurus)

The above photo of Tautane was sent to me by her owner Clare Robinson, Clare is hoping that we can uncover more on her past.

What we know is that she is a Miller & Tunnage, completed in 1945 or 1946, operated as fishing vessel for a time and then was purchased by the Napier Harbour Board as their pilot boat and renamed Tautane. Sometime during her tenure there, a Detroit 6-71 manufactured in 1963 was fitted to replace a lower power Gardner.

She was purchased by Colin Davenport in about 1993 and was used to ferry guests out to Endeavour Inlet in Queen Charlotte Sound and for day fishing and diving charters. Colin added the canopy.

Clare bought her in June 2017 and is in the process of converting her to a live-a-board.

The photo shows Tautane as she is currently, sitting at Picton wharf next to the ferry terminal in May 2017. Clare has advised the boat is now named – Serenity.

Do we have any more information on? Russell W you must be able to help?

Input from Russell Ward – below are two photos of the ship one as originally launched – Centaurus and the other being used as she should be. More details in the ww Comments Section.

Update 15-05-2020 Line drawings below sent in by Murray Wikinson. Brian Engliss ex Miller & Tunnage foreman sent them to Brian years ago. Andrew Miller of St Leonards designed the hull for Miller & Tunnage. Murray owns a near sistership “Golden Light”.

Serenity (ex Tautane)


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Wairangi has appeared before on ww (link below) but has recently had a big dose of TLC. The above photos are a mix of some taken by owner Owen Foster (via KRickets) while anchored at Rakino Island & mine that show her over Easter anchored in Man o War Bay, Waiheke Island. The newly varnished cabin/wheelhouse looks stunning & combined with a lot of other work, she looks very special – in fact I would be happy to call her mine 🙂

Also looking very smart in one of the photos is Safari, her owner Neil took the below photo of Raindance during the Sunday afternoon squall that hit the bay mid afternoon – rain, hail, wind = boats dragging their anchor all over the bay – fun & games but no damage.



11-08-2018 Update – Photos below taken by Owen Foster using a drone, while at anchor at Oneroa, Waiheke Island. emailed in by Ken Ricketts

Update 19-07-2019 ex model maker John Whyte

Back in February I was contacted by John Whyte seeking info on Wairangi, John was doing the drawings of Wairangi for model maker Paul Berntsen (Havelock North). Earlier today John sent me the photos below of Paul’s finished model. John commented that the wharf behind it is a 1.34 scale model of the Opua wharf which measures just over 6 metres in length. John plans to build a lower wharf for the pilot boat with a ladder coming of the higher wharf.
The boat measures around 450mm long and 110mm wide.
Paul is obviously very talented, I struggle maintaining my own boat – building  something like this would be a recipe for disaster for me 🙂
Wairangi 1