With ww I try to plan the posts a few days in advance, well yesterday Harold Kidd turned my schedule upside down when he sent in the above photo of Wenna. Earlier this week,
Harold was the recipient (on loan) of a photo album from Margaret Field of the O’Neill* family. One of the photos was the stunning one of Wenna above.

Wenna was recently purchased as  Rangitira & renovated by Pam  Gundy at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard (launch day photo below)

*Eric O’Neill arrived in NZ with his family just after WW1 and lived in Ring Terrace, just above St. Mary’s Bay & Wenna was built for him around 1925. Given his residence, most likely by a St. Mary’s Bay builder, the options being Collings & Bell, Leon Warne, Dick Lang (or Sam Ford who took over Lang’s yard in 1923 and used Ford’s moulds until 1924 when Lang returned).
Now two days ago I was sent a photo of Marua (below), by Dave Jackson via Adrienne, Dave’s father, (David Jackson Snr) was one of the owners of the Marua c.1955-56. Dave commented that Marua & Wenna were very similar in design, with Marua being built in 1915 for E. McKeown by Peter A. Smith who was an engine supplier and contracted out his hulls to St Mary’s Bay builders. Harold would pick Dick Lang as the builder of Marua’s hull, not Leon Warne who was still with Collings & Bell in 1915. It’s likely that Dick (or Sam Ford possibly) built Wenna too. Marua was a total loss as a result of the fire that destroyed the Baileys yard.

There’s always the possibility that Collings & Bell built both boats but Harold does not think they did much (if any) work for Peter A. Smith as they were more interested in selling their own brands of marine engines where the greater profit margin lay and weren’t short of their own orders.

All of the above aside – both Marua and Wenna are best described as typical St. Mary’s Bay – built launches of the period.

Note – when Pam’s partner George (Emtage) saw Margaret Field’s photo of Wenna, he starting looking for his chainsaw – he liked what Harold described as the slinky look – so do I.

Pam on the other hand is happy with Wennna’s tram-top, which according to Dave Jackson was built by Cyril Freeman of Ponsonby. He was working for Shipbuilders at the time, but this job was a ‘homer’. This was during the late 1940’s maybe even the early 1950’s.


 WENNA (Rangitira) 2014

07/11/14 – photo of Wenna ex Harld Kidd ex Bob Wiley