Wooden Boats On The Hokianga – Waima and Spray



Wooden Boats On The Hokianga – Waima and Spray

I received today’s photos recently from Ngaire Slade, her father was Dick (Henry Richards) Slade. Ngaire commented that she wished that she had learnt more of the histories of the boats that had been the main transport modes in the Hokianga. The Waima was a boat that Dick owned until sold in the 1980s and retired. Waima then went over to the East Coast and Ngaire understands it was left for years in the Manukau Harbour till removed and left to decay and disrepair, unfortunately placed in a yard somewhere unknown. It was originally brought from the Subritzky family. 

Dick for many years carried the college kids to Rawene High School and did the Cream Run as well before the Dairy was closed. He also carried out the Mail Run on the Hokianga Harbour. In those days, the boats could reach the Mungamuka bridge and up to the Taheke bridge. In the last photo of Waima we see Harry Slade father of Dick and grandad to Ngaire taking a car from Kohukohu to Rawene.

The 2nd set of photos – we see the launch – Spray, owned by Harry Slade. Ngaire mentioned that there was a Sierra and Tupuwai that were other prominent boats in her family. In some of the photos we see a pet seal that mooched around for several years. In one photo the seal is watching Harry as he is cleaning some launches. Ngaire commented the seal wasn’t the friendliest and would try and bite the odd person who he disliked. She remembers her father saying he was a foul rascal as he dirtied the boat all the time.

Below we see Dick scratching Opo the dolphin with a mop, she would follow him out to the heads when he would go fishing and come up to Rawene. 

Mystery Launch – could the below be Sierra or Tupuwai?

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 🙂

CYA Patio Bay Weekend – 2017 – 50+ Photos




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CYA Patio Bay Weekend – 2017

The photos show that 2017 was another cracker Patio Bay year, but what photos don’t get across is what a great group of woodys were there. The numbers were down a little on previous years but those that made the trip will remember it as one of the best. Plenty of room to walk around & mingle without standing on someones dinner plate.

Several Riviera owners, did they bit to re-confirm that they all have big egos & small brains – motoring thru the race finish line at 25+ knots & creating wakes you could surf on. A little exciting if you are sitting in an 8’ dinghy taking photos & wondering if the Riviera is on autopilot & the skippers playing with his small willy 😦

One of the Patio Bay race traditions is the winning skipper of the A Division has to fill the trophy barrel with rum for the following years party. Last year Prize was the winner & based on dock chatter, a sample was drawn off for analyse at the Mount Gay distillery –  purity & alcohol content results to follow 😉

(remember to click on photos to enlarge)


A Woody 100th Birthday


A Woody 100th Birthday

I mentioned last Friday that on Sunday, Sierra the 1917 Joseph Fell designed & built motorboat would be celebrating her 100th birthday at the Panmure Motor Boat & Yacht Club.
Sierra’s owner Dennis Christopher (photo above) must have bribed the weather gods because the weekend was probably the best this year for classic motor boats. We made the decision to head to the Waiheke Island area on Saturday & then head over to Panmure on Sunday afternoon for the birthday party. Never made the party – see below.
Thanks to Baden Pascoe for the above photos & after speaking with Baden I can report that nearly 100 people turned up to celebrate the occasion, including members of the Fell family & the Andrews family (previous owners).
Its great to see these old work boats still being actively used & presented so well – I love the ‘beard’ on Sierra in the photo above.

Now the reason I didn’t make the party was Raindance had a mechanical oops, the 1st in 10 years that I have not been able to fix & we had to call Coast Guard for a tow. Hats off to the CC crew from Matiatia, Waiheke Island – they were on the scene pronto & had us back at Bayswater faster than I could have under her on steam 🙂 In fact the bottom probably got a good clean 😉
I spent Sunday morning cleaning 10+L of oil from the bilge – not my idea of a fun day.
A call to James Mobberley at Moon Engines will be top of the to-do list today.

(too many other classics out on the harbour to keep this below the radar – thanks guys for the txt’s 🙂  )



There is always a silver lining – after we got home, decided to have a bbq & put a match to the lounge fire, first of the year.


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Pania has had the same owners for over 25 years. She was built in 1973 using triple planked mahogany.
The get up & go comes from twin 90hp 6LW Gardeners & she measures approx. 50′.
She looks a very sea worthy vessel, no doubt one of the reasons her home port is Bluff, Southland.
Thanks to Ian McDonald for the trademe listing heads up 🙂

Can we expand on her details e.g. designer / builder & where was she from 1973 > early 1990’s ?

Input from Dick Hall

‘Pania’ was built by Jack Morgan for Rex Baldick of Picton off the extended ‘Hawaiki’ design. She was launched with a single Allis-Chalmers diesel that came out of a local fishing-boat but later when back to Jack and converted to twin screw with two four cylinder Fords. You can see the original strut with shaft hole through it in underwater photo. Rex had the Baldick families ‘Prima-Donna’ before building ‘Pania’


Sierra was designed and built by Joseph Fell of Kohukohu (Hokianga Harbour) & launched 3 May 1917. If she was a human, Sierra would be getting a letter from the Queen – as the old girl has just celebrated her 100th birthday. Owner Dennis Christopher is having a wee party for her this Sunday at  the Panmure Motor Boat & Yacht Club, 104 Kings Rd, Panmure.
Sierra will be alongside the jetty from 2.00pm on-wards. It’s a just drop-in event & any one is welcome. So woodys, if you are out & about on Sunday, call by. (photo below ex Tom Kane).

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Sierra – ‘Horse Float’


Sierra - 'Horse Float'

Sierra – ‘Horse Float’

photo ex Dave Jackson

The above photo of “Sierra” was taken in the Hokianga – no date sorry.
Now when I showed the photo to Harold Kidd, he was good, he correctly ID’ed the location as Hokianga & the Omapere Wharf and the launch most likely ex Fell’s Boatyard, established in 1905 at Kohukohu by Joseph Fell. But Harolds not that good, he did not know the names of the horses 🙂

Sierra is now in the CYA fleet, colour photo below. Any details on her past would be appreciated.

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08-01-2016 photo at Kawau Island ex Tom Kane

Sierra Kawau Jan2016

13-01-2016 Input from John Mortimer

In the late 1950’s l lived on a remote and marginal sheep and cattle farm on the Waima River in the Hokianga.
In a direct line, Rawene was only 3 miles away,by river it was 5 miles and by road 30.
The river was the obvious highway and the Sierra, owned and skippered by Fred Young was our main means of communication.
Several contracts relied on the Sierra. The school contract took children to and from Moehau school morning and afternoon. Most farmers  on the river had poor or no road communication and the cream output from farms carrying anything from 20 to 120 cows went  down to Rawene in the Sierra to Rawene for transshipment by pontoon to the dairy factory at Motukaraka. Empty cans from the previous day we loaded on board and delivered to farm jetties on the up river journey next day.
The mail was delivered three times week and the  Herald on the afternoon return trip. If there was no one on the jetty , Fred would send the rolled newspaper to the deck with a dexterous flick of the wrist.
The launch also carried morning passengers to Rawene to do their shopping. They returned when she went back to Moehau in the afternoon at 1.30.
A conversation overheard in the open cockpit in the stern on a sunny afternoon:
First Lady – I read  the Truth for the recipes.
Second lady – I read it for the horoscopes
Third lady – I read it for the scandal

A burst of laughter from all three.

When the dairy factory closed and the Moehau school roll fell her days in the Hokianga were numbered. I understand that she spent her last summer at Opononi  taking visitors around the harbour and then sailed out over the bar, round the turbulent seas at North Cape and down to the Waitemata where she was used as work boat during the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Her name was always mentioned in conjunction with the name of her builders, Fells of Motukaraka. I understand that there were three sister ships, the Sierra, the Nevada and the Santa Fe.
Sounds more like an old song to me.
She approaches her hundredth year with dignity and grace of an old timer who may well live for ever.



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words & photos from Dennis Christopher

‘Sierra’ is a general purpose workboat, designed and built by Joseph Fell of Kohukohu (Hokianga Harbour) & launched 3 May 1917. She is planked with two skins of Kauri over steam bent frames. Powered by a 120hp Ford Lees with a 2:1 twin disc gearbox. L – 42’6”, B – 11’2”, D – 3’6”.

Like most workboats, she has a very interesting history. She was built for Hokianga traders A. S. Andrews & Sons who had six stores dotted around the harbor. She carried passengers, general freight and was the official mail boat. Later on in her life she worked on the Auckland Harbour doing light towing duties and transporting men to and from the Bridge construction project. She also did general work and towing duties on the Manukau at the Glenbrook Steel Mill gas pilings.

“Sierra’s” days of hard work are over and she is now owned and cared for by Dennis Christopher of Panmure. “Sierra” is a regular competitor in the annual Tug boat race and parade on Auckland Anniversary Day and she won the Parry Trophy for the best presented retired vessel in 2009. A fitting tribute of how a piece of maritime history can be preserved and enjoyed.