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

Manaia – Launch Day + Volvo Race Start






MANAIA – Launch Day

The above photos of Manaia were sent to me by Paul Drake – I’ll let Paul tell the story behind them.

“The first four I took on launching day. I was 15 and in the midst of School Certificate. No exam that day, so off I went on my bike from home in Balmoral, camera in my bag. 

In the second pic, Capt. Warwick Dunsford can be seen in charge on the foredeck (white boiler suit and black beret). 

In the third pic, Percy Vos himself is clearly recognizable just by the fore foot. 

The last two photos I have had since the 1960’s & most likely come from the camera of TW Collins. Great photos, especially the one from the port quarter, and show MANAIA at work.

MANAIA is certainly very original, but note that the stem now has an unattractive (to me) hook near the top. Much better straight in my view.  Also note unusual chine aft. Double ender but hard chine aft. That’s why she can do 15 knots if required!

MANAIA was about the last of the large wooden pilot vessels built for New Zealand ports. About the same time as AKARANA and 10 years after TIAKINA (Wellington – and also a Collings design). TIAKINA of course built in England and steamed out via Suez Canal.”

You can see photos of Manaia today, looking very smart & read extensive details on her past here https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/01/26/manaia/


Volvo Round-the-World Yacht Race -Auckland Start








Photos Below In The Order They Passed North Head








And a couple of Woodys amongst the sea of plastic boats


Peter Boardman – Lady Margaret


Angus Rogers – Mahanui