Iorana > Stella – SOS

IORANA > STELLA – SOS
Back in January 2015 Harold Kidd sent in a wee bit of a mystery quiz, a photo of a bridge deck launch (b/w photo below) and told us she was built in 1922 and measured 38’. Plus, that when launched she had a 6 cylinder Alpha engine.

There was lots of speculation but we uncovered that she was designed and built by Leon Warne and named – Iorana  (Tahitian for “Gidday”). HDK told us that Leon Warne got a lot of work out of Whangarei because he took the launch – Rosemary north every Christmas and raced her at Onerahi and Russell. Warne built Iorana for Selwyn Blake of Whangarei who had just sold Wild Thyme. Iorana was originally painted glossy black but was repainted white in her second season. Blake came to live in St. Mary’s Bay in 1924 and brought Iorana with him. He sold her to C.D. Sellars who sold her to W. Joll of Ponsonby and then she went to Whangamata and, around 1950, to George Manktelow of Paeroa, where he kept her moored in the willows on the Ohinemuri River near the Puki Bridge alongside the launch – Gleniffer. The b/w photo below was taken there.

Whist we learnt a lot about Iorana, we were not able to discover if she was still around – then SNAP early this week – WW comes good again – I get an email from Cole Gordon – see below 

“Hi there I was wandering if anyone had any information or history on my late fathers launch “Stella” , 36ft Lanes bridge decker 80 horse Ford, paragon gearbox. Possibly once named “Wendy Frances” we have had it since the late 1990’s purchased from Peter Sharp of Opua. I am unable to find any photos of her former glory days, but I have endless memories of long summer days spent on her as a child in the Bay of Islands. She was pulled out of the water around 2012 because the fastenings on her bow lost their grip. We never got the time or resources to fix her and now she’s far to gone for me to have a chance at fixing her. She has to be broken up as my family are moving off the land. I will save the bronze brass and kauri. I am interested in knowing more about her past.”

Very quickly I did two things – #1 asked Cole to grab the handbrake on the demolition #2 sent photos of to Nathan Herbert, Nathan’s reply below:

“F_ _k, I think you’ve uncovered the Leon Warne ‘Iorana’. Search WW”

So I did and it appears that Nathan is right, so woodys we have a gold nugget here that needs saving. The boat is currently sitting on a farm in the B.O.I.’s and I imagine could be acquired for a modest sum.Even if you aren’t ready for a project – can we not find a suitable home for her until the right person comes along. You would struggle to find a more original classic of her era.

Also keen to learn more about her past, there are a few big gap in time that need filling 🙂

Jan 2015 WW Story
https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/01/15/mystery-launch-21012015/

12-10-2021 Update – Cameron Pollard sent in the photo below of Iorana hauled on Waitangi slipway. The photo was posted on fb by Guy Ross Thorburn who said she was owned by his grandfather under the Stella name. Update unknown, possibly late 1970’s? This photo would have to be a good incentive for someone considering taking on the restoration. She is certainly a looker.

25-01-2022 Update ex Neil Hammond (potential next owner) who has advised that Stella was unfortunately blown off her props in that storm that hit northland a week ago. Hylton Edmonds kindly had a look at her for Neil to check on the damage. His assessment was that she is now too far gone to be able to realistically save. I very sad end to an old girl on her 100th birthday.