Maire – What Became Of Her
Woody Greg Philpott is on the hunt for the ex work-boat Maire, Greg has pulled together the below intel on the vessel but the trial drys up late 1998 >> on wards. Greg would also like more inset into when she was operating in Auckland in the 1960’s/1970’s. Have a read and let us know if your are able to close the story off.
Maire was built by Roy Lidgard, in his boatbuilding shed in Smelting House Bay on Kawau Island around 1949. She was approximately 42 feet long and originally powered by a 4 cylinder, 88hp Kelvin diesel.
Maire was used by the Lidgards for their own use, towing and workboat activity mainly to tow logs from the Coromandel and barges of ships dunnage that had been milled by the Lidgards on Kawau Island for supply to Union Steam Ship Company ships in Auckland.
She was acquired in the mid 1950’s by Alwyn (mostly called Allan) Horsfall who was then the owner of the Mansion House property on Kawau Island.
It looks like she ended up in Auckland for much of the 1960’s and 1970’s and ownership possibly rested with a Theo Brian Thomas who was based around Panmure. From there Marie was sold to Andrew Paterson who converted her for charter fishing use in the 1980s and operated her firstly out of Sandspit and later out of Whitianga. During his time of ownership of Maire, in July 1981, Paterson removed the Gardner engine and gear box to install a GM motor and also changed the wheel house windows giving them a forward rake.
Marie was sold in 1985 to Neil Hopkins who also operated her out of Whitianga along with his son Grant. Next owner was Ross Packer who owned her from 1996 until 1998.
It is at this point that the trail goes cold; she was sold and believed to have been relocated up north to either Mangawhai or Mangonui. And her name was changed. At one point, one of the previous owners was contacted by the Marine Department questioning why all identifying pieces from the boat (life rings, name board etc.) had been found on a beach at Great Barrier. She was also later apparently seen up on the hard at Te Atatu as an unfinished project.
INPUT from Grant Thomas
I had also been wondering what had happened to Maire. My Dad was Brian Thomas and he bought her off Horsfall approx. 1962.
I never realised she was originally used for towing etc but that would explain the extra lower belting etc. We owned her for 10 years and used her as a snapper fishing charter boat in the weekends plus went cruising on her in the early years. I was told that Horsfall sold her as she drew too much for the Sandspit run. Lidgards then built the Kawau Isle which looked just like the Maire but less draft.
Maire was 40 foot and drew 5 foot 6″ but 6 foot steaming. She was very slack bilged and use to roll badly. We kept her up the Tamaki River at Waipuna Rd on the jetty Dad built. We used to slip her at Owen Woolleys yard but she was 20 tons and really too heavy for that slipway. So Dad built his own slipway which is still operating today. I have a great photo of her on the slip.
We did all sorts of commercial work with her, she was a very capable vessel and she was always kept well painted.At the same time we owned the HDML Alert and so there was always a huge amount to do. I spent most of my younger years working very hard trying to maintain these two boats. We also ate a hell of a lot of fish as my Dad was a top fisherman and Maire was a popular boat to charter.
INPUT from Colin Silby
Maire was sitting awaiting repairs shall we say at the Te Atatu boating club when sold. The new owner renamed her Lola May after his mother and sailed her down to Christchurch. On her return back up she settled on a sand bank off Waihi. As the tide dropped she lay over and flooded. I was involved in her salvage and brought her to Westpark where she was on sold.