Rehutai (the steamer)

REHUTAI (the steamer)
 story & photo ex Russell Ward
Here is a ship with some class.
The steamer Rehutai built for and owned (and I guess engineered) by Seagars. Who built her and when she was launched, I will leave for Harold to advise. There were several Rehutais. Scroll down to the previous post to view another.
I would imagine that she had the old faithful tandem/steeple compound that was Seagars’ stock in trade and they would have been quite capable of doing the boiler too, so I guess they did.
The first of the two pictures show her embarking and taking Lord Plunket for a jolly on the harbor. He was Governor in 1905 so that is as good a date as any. The next shows the container ship Iris moored in the harbour. You can see the craneship Mahua and some good ships around the Iris.
BUT what is this on the foreshore? A steamboat funnel? Is it the Rehutai of my dreams?
A chance glance at one of the pictures in the Matakohe museum revealed that the Rehutai was burned out at Whangaruru and lost. The records show that there was a Rehutai that was diseaslied with 50hp engines in 1934 –not sure if it is the same ship.
Bear in mind that there was an other Rehutai that became the Hauraki –looked a little like the steamer in passing. Again, I will leave to Harold to unravel.
Harold Kidd Update:
There were 3 Seagar Bros-owned REHUTAI steamers. The first was a 36 footer built for them by Bailey & Lowe in 1905. The second was a 45 footer built in April 1905 by Chas. Bailey Jr. (the one in the images above) which was sold the Government in 1910 for work at Thames and the Piako River. She had a 30hp steam engine designed and built by Seagars. The third REHUTAI was a 50 footer built by Chas Bailey Jr in December 1909 with a 35hp compound tandem engine. She was dieselised in 1926. The image on the Devonport foreshore is REHUTAI (II) with the Logan launch KARORO in front of her.

Of course it was this launch (REHUTAI II) that became HAURAKI in the ownership of the Government Lands Dept. and got dieselised in 1934.
Update from Chris Leech:
The floating crane picture looks more like the Auckland Harbour Boards floating crane – Hapai. Seen below uplifting the Devonport Ferry Co.’s Ticket office before relocating it to its new home as the Devonport yacht Club , clubrooms. C.1927. photo ex DYC centennial year book
Pages from DYC Cent Club PDF




MATAROA. Owned by Ted Ward in the 1940s & 50s, photo taken in Matiatia in 1948 by Ken Ricketts. Possibly a Baileys boat, had a 6 Cyl Graymarine petrol engine. Not been seen for many a year – anyone able to advise her current status, location?
She appeals to me, looks as if she was fast.

Harold Kidd Update

MATAROA was built by Joe Slattery as KENYA for Len Heard of Parnell in 1928 with a 40/60 Ailsa Craig. So this pic is probably taken during Heard’s ownership ie 1938 or earlier. He sold her to  Seagar and replaced her with KENYA II built for him by Lidgard Bros and delivered in early 1940.

The RNZAF took her to Fiji in1943 for towing at Lauthala Bay and put a 6 cylinder Chrysler Crown in her as the Ailsa Craig was thought to be on its last legs and for spares rationalisation.

08-01-2015 Updated Info from Kevin and Jan Price.

We owned her for a few years after purchasing her from Maurice Reynolds (of Auckland Coast Guard). I believe she is now in Wellington.
She was originally names Kenya. She was nearly named Kenya Mist after a book title that was popular during her build, but the name was considered too long so shortened.
She was designed to fit into Len’s boat shed and had a droopy sheer line forward to fit under the door lintel, but it looked horrible and false works were built to improve her forward end appearance.
When Len Heard (Heard’s Barley Sugar) sold her to the Seagers, Len kept the name for his new bigger launch and the Seagers named her Mataroa after a much enjoyed cruise on the liner Mataroa.

She saw war service in Fiji as RNZAF No W71 and was employed in the construction of the Lauthala Bay breakwater to shelter the flying boats and also the metalling of airfield hard standing for warbirds. To achieve this she towed three barges totaling 90 tons. I was told that some of her trips down the Suva river fully loaded was sometimes a finally tuned effort to keep her lined up and thru the bridge. I was told her engine was only a 30hp Ailsa Craig at that time. Her Cox was a young 18 year old with a Fijian boat boy. Somewhere at home I have a tape recording of his wartime exploits.
Under her paint forward are scribed roundel circles.
Under that paint on the transom is the imprint of a brass bowsprit star received when towing a string of yachts home following the Suva annual Pacific yacht race.
She was offered back to the Seagers after the war. When they went to look at her at Herald Is she was not in good order and considered not taking her back, but did.

I think the engine was replaced by a Crown then later by a 90hp Ford wet sleeve by the Reynolds. 8knots at 1900rpm. (One day in a fit of exuberance I pushed the throttle to the wall and the GPS recorded 14knts)

After a mishap when an accompanying launch lost her steering and rammed Mataroa broadside amidships and split her open from deck to waterline she was run up on a nearby beach. The hull was propped out with an array of timber posts and she was motored back for repairs by matching the waterline wave curve with the bottom of the broken planking
She underwent repairs and refit. During this refit her rear house top was raised 4” and her vertical shaft steering column and flat “ bus drivers” wheel was replaced with the current more conventional setup. The round ports in the saloon where changed to oval for improved interior lighting. The saloon was relined with oak paneling. The overhead was lined in white Seratone as trying to maintain any sort of finish on the underside of the cedar deck was not possible due to it’s continuous movement. This refit was during the Renold’s time.

Under the forward cabin sole is/was a large admiralty anchor, possibly an original. Under the cockpit sole is/was a spare five blade prop.

1” Carvel Kauri.
Spotted gum ribs.
Possibly Pohutakawa stem.
Cedar deck / cabin tops for light weight.
Cedar sole floor boards screwed one Kauri floors.
No frames.
Mid and aft bulkheads removable, to allow engine to be taken out aft.
Log is kauri boxed and pitch filled.
Her capstan motor was an aircraft starter motor and reduction box that finally gave up the ghost when we owned her.
300trl copper diesel tank at the transom. Copper water tanks under cockpit seating.
No ballast.

That’s all for now. When I eventually get home ( we haven’t been home for seven years) I will look for some old photos I have tucked away.

Kevin and Jan Price.