WENNA (Rangitira)

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WENNA (Rangitira)
The 32’ c.1920’s launch Wenna has appeared several times on WW, links to those stories below – lots of details and photos.
Back in 2014 Harold Kidd shared with us that Jack Taylor had given him the good oil on Wenna. Jack used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about Wenna. Also an amusing tale as to how she got her name 🙂
She was launched as Wenna and at some stage renamed Rangitira and then changed back by Pam Cundy at the Whangateau boat yard when they restored her back in 2014. Subsequently ownership changed to Brent (sorry do not know the surname) who undertook an extensive refurbishment – as we view her above. 
1. She was built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the name ‘Wenna’ stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as ‘Peggy’ O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought Wenna back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow. 
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.



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RSVP– you and your boats name + approx. numbers to sueedwards@xtra.co.nz



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


Wenna (Rangitira)

Wenna (Rangitira)

This 32′ early 1920’s Collings & Bell classic launch would have to be one of the luckiest classics around – a few months ago I gave Rangitira, as she was named then, a big plug on ww as she was for sale on trademe at what was the buy of the year price. Then a few months ago she was ‘adopted’ by Pam Cundy at Whangateau Traditional Boats.

To use Pam’s own words she “pushed through a quick paint job and varnished hatch and mast, now for a new name board to come”. Pam will be reverting to her old name Wenna. She slipped back into the water last week. Looks pretty slick to me & Pam has a great eye for colours.

To read / view photos from her past click this link


Update from Pam Cundy

After several years of watching for a suitable motor boat this felt like an opportune time to purchase. After looking her over with the usual ‘check for …’ And with the usual ‘old boat’ problems the only thing that bothered me was this old girl had seemingly lost her real identity. Fortunately shortly after purchasing her and conducting a search Adrienne and Dave called by with some details and Harold contributed also.

Wenna ( Rangitira) – according to Dave Jackson
Dave identified her as being Wenna – 1940’s to1970’s he knew her to be Wenna.
His friends would say “when are you going to shout?”.
1967-68 Dave purchased her to tow his mullet boat down to the Ponsonby yacht club from Birkenhead.
She had a Morris Commodore petrol engine in her then.
1940’s owner was Mr O’Neil of Ring Terrace Ponsonby. He installed the raised cabin. When Mr O’Neil passed away he left the boat to William ( Bill ) McWhirter.
Bill sold it to Mr Wylie (Jacks father – Boat haulage).

Harold on Wenna
Eric Cathbart Fergus O’Neil of Ponsonby (b.1886,d.1957), engineer, owned Wenna from at least 1925.
“Unfortunately” Harold said, ” I can’t connect her back to Collings and Bell but if Dave J says Collings and Bell, that was good enough for me”.
O’Neil did a lot of game fishing with her in the mid 1920s and 1930s.
In March1930 she was attacked by a big mako off the Great Barrier, splintering some planks and then got free.

Wenna – ” maiden” or “white seas”

Thanks also to Tim Jackson, previous owner
See you at the Mahurangi Regatta!!!
An awesome blog Alan and Harold- Look what it turned up for me : )