From recollections of Zelda Batterton (Nee, McGuire) eldest daughter of Trevor Innes McGuire.
8 December 2012
Safari was built by refrigeration engineer and inventor Trevor McGuire during World War II.
Trevor was a business ownerwho had several businesses over the years. One of these was a business making refrigerators for Bond and Bond, Fisher and Paykel and McAlpine. He also had a building business in Fiji and a sawmill in Samoa. Trevor was also a founder of the Royal Suva Yacht Club. Prior to McGuire refrigeration he owned a saw mill located in the Waitakere ranges where the firm ran a Kauri logging business.
During the war the refrigeration business manufactured sectioned coolrooms and commercial refrigerators, which were invented by Trevor. Some of these were used by the Americans to store their deceased soldiers in before they were shipped back to America. The business was originally in Manukau Rd in Epsom, with about 6 employees, and the boat was built in a field out the back of the factory. A new factory was later built at 25 Fairfax Avenue Penrose. The refrigeration business was eventually sold to Fisher and Paykel around 1947, and the Paykel families were known to be onboard Safari during for weekend excursions.
Boat designer Dick Lang was a friend of Trevor’s, the two met in Fiji and the plans used for the boat were Dick Lang’s. A sister boat, “Zephyr” was built later using the same plans. Zephyr was built by the Ellerslie Mayor at the time Horace Whyte, also a friend of Trevor’s . Zelda recalls going into the forest to collect Pohutukawa for the knees. Apparently they had to be carefully selected to be the right shape but in those days it was okay to chop up native trees. The NZ sourced kauri timber Safari was built from came from Newmarket, most likely from Odins Timber Company.
Safari was launched around 1940 in Mechanics Bay after being shipped by truck from Manukau Rd.
Trevor’s wife Madge did not like the water but she always came out on Safari to do the cooking. As “petrol” was still scarce, anyone coming out on Safari would donate war time petrol coupons. Trevor always wore a hat and had a cigarette dangling from his lips. He also had a ‘twinkle in his eye.” Zelda says they were very lucky children to have such fantastic parents and a brilliant childhood. Many hours were spent on the boat although due to the shortage of petrol this was mostly around Waiheke and Rangitoto Island.
[Just between us Zelda say’s with a smile] Safari had 26 people on board to go out and meet the NZ warship Achilles. Trevor took Safari across the bow of Achilles and a loudhailer boomed out “Will that launch please get out of the way”, whereupon Trevor apparently said “We’re smaller than them, they have to give way.” Madge was not impressed.
During the war Safari’s boat ID number was 1263. All boats had to have a large number for identification. A boom was placed from Devonport to Bastion Point to deter enemy vessels, with a small gap in the middle that was closed at night. Trevor came back too late one day to meet the curfew and had to stay outside the boom, where spotlights would be beamed across the boat during the night.
In the early years Safari was extended in length by Trevor McGuire, Zelda seems to think from 33 or 34’ to 38’