Big Game Fishing Wooden Boats


WW contributor – Scott Taylor, sent in the link to the above short film – titled ‘New Zealand’s Deep-Sea Fighting Fish’. The film comes to us via Archives New Zealand, and was originally produced by Neuline Film Studios, Auckland for the Dept. of Tourist and Health Resorts.

The film isn’t dated but both Scott and myself believe it is from the early 1950’s, can any one date the film from the footage?

There is an impressive collection of woodys featured, all looking very ship-shape, and most still afloat today.

WHO OWNS DEODAR  – Looking for the current owner of the ex Auckland Police launch Deodar – can you contact WW at the email address below – trust me its worth your while 😉




The note below (edited) was sent to me by Gavin Bradley  &Maggie Mouat, they are the new owners of Otehei & have asked for help from the ww readers. The top 3 photos above show Otehei in Otehei Bay, December 2016. The bottom two above are by Dean Wright (ex K Ricketts). More details here

“I recently became aware of the Waitemata Woody’s site which I have to say is an amazing resource and I am loving the daily posts.

I found the site while searching for old images of the Otehei which my wife and I have recently purchased from the El Dorado Foundation. We have had a reasonably long association with the boat, having largely funded it’s restoration in 1996 and therefore have good knowledge of its history.

We are however on the hunt for any surviving design drawings for Otehei and/or her sister ships – Manaaki, Lorna Doone and Zane Grey as we plan to have Otehei surveyed and without design drawings she will need to be surveyed as a novel craft. I was hoping you might be able to put out the question through your daily posts or you may even know of people with connections to the other boats or Collings & Bell.

I have a lot of information and photographs of Otehei, historical, contemporary and during restoration. I also have some interesting memorabilia including the original 1927 Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet of the Zane Grey Sporting Club showing the build cost of the 4 boats at 500 pounds each! I will share all of this with you in due course.

Incidentally, when Otehei was found on Lake Taupo in 1976 by John Chibnall, she was the M.V. Rangatira not Grace Darling, although she possibly could have been called that earlier. Would be interesting to know…The skipper at the time was Bob Colville.

Any information and images would be gratefully received!”

Updated with photos below ex Gavin Bradley that show some relevant parts of the Otehei story


Flier for Rangatira charter business



As M.V. Rangatira on Taupo as found by John Chibnall in 1976


Relaunch day off Russell 1977

UPDATE from Paul Drake – below are some pics of her at Taupo.

“The first shows her under the crane about to leave Taupo. The second shows her in Boat Harbour (Taupo), skipper Ivan Vickery. In the third, she is on the beach at Whakaiapo Bay, before she was altered by the addition of a wheelhouse. The fourth shows her alongside the “House Boat” (formerly R S S TONGARIRO, BAILEY AND LOWE 1899), again in Boat Harbour, This would have been late 1930’s. She was laid up on the hard during WW2, and the wheelhouse added when she was returned to service.
The third and fourth pic require an explanation. Recently, Taupo Museum ran an exhibition called “Times Past”. An hours worth of historic photos were screened, for 5 seconds each, on a large screen consisting of two parts. Thus the black line down the middle. I clicked away as they scrolled through. I am sure OTEHEI’s new owners will be interested, as the photos may be new to them, as they were to me. Fabulous boat.”





This Is Actually A Very Cool Idea
Russell Ward sent me the photo below & commented that zimer-frame added a new category to the boating progression – P Class > Starling > Young 88 > Farr biggie > Bridge-decker > Motor Home and now a boaty trundler!
I know a few woodys that need one 😉


12-01-2017 – Update ex Gavin Bradley

“I just bought the photo postcard below of Otehei Bay on TradeMe. That boat definitely has the right bow line and 3 portholes…”



photos & details ex Crispin Waddell

Crispin has owned the 1926 Collings & Bell launch Manaaki since 2013. Manaaki’s specs are – length: 11m, beam: 2.5m, draft: 1m & her current engine is a  1970’s Lees Marine Ford diesel 75hp. She is carvel planked, with full-length 32mm heart kauri planks over steam bent and laminated ribs, with less than 200mm spacing.
She cruises at 8knts. & tops out at around 12knts. but unlike some other boats of her era, Manaaki has more of planing hull & is flat at the stern & could do up to 16knts. with the right engine.
She is one of 6 boats build for the Zane Grey fleet – Alma G, Otehei & Avalon were the names of some of her sisters. Manaaki was originally fitted with a petrol Redwing engine.

Crispin has been involved with the boat since he was a child, (now 29). He bought her off the Hunt family. Like most of us he is always keen to find out stories and collect any old photo’s and history of the boat. She lived in the Whangaroa for around 30 years & there are a few photo’s of Manaaki on wall of the pub & records of all her catches in the Game Club up there.

Electrochemical Wood Damage
Crispin came across  the ww article about electrochemical damage & the timing was great as he is having problems with it occurring on Manaaki. It’s mainly happening in the area where the prop shaft sleeve comes through the keel under the floor. The kauri fluffs up around this area and he get lots of salt crystals. Thanks to the ww article he is hoping to get on top of this as it’s just started over the last 3 years.

If anyone knows the boat or has any old photo’s send them into ww, Crispin would also be interested in getting in contact with anyone from the boats past.

24-02-2018 Manaaki was anchored alongside me today at Motuihe Island, looking very smart 🙂



Avalon – the game fisher


photos & details ex Harold Kidd

The above 3 photos of Avalon are from the Tudor Collins Bay of Islands game fishing collection*.

Avalon 36′ x 8’6″ x 3’6′ was built by Collings & Bell in December 1927 for Peter Williams of Russell for use as a game fishing boat in the Bay of Islands. She was one of Collings’ typical concave-convex square bilge designs like Alma G, Manaaki, Lorna Doone and Zane Grey also built for the Zane Grey game fishing circus. She had a 85-100hp Redwing engine and was designed for 16 knots. She was often chartered by Zane Grey who took her to Bermagui, NSW in 1936 for game fishing (sharks) there,  she came back to NZ after the expedition. Some few years ago she was exported to the US to the Zane Grey Museum, somehow avoiding the then Antiquities Act.

*the images in the collection were bought at a flea-market by Sharon Knight who has made them available via Harold for all of ww followers to relish.

Photo below from classicgameboatsnz

More photos from the Tudor Collins collection – this time taken during the 1930’s visit of the Duke of Glouster. Mailed in by Ken Ricketts