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Dauntless

In 1931 Maurice Dickie had just left school.  He wanted to see Lake Taupo, and as it was his turn to have the use of the family car for a fortnight, he came up to Taupo with a friend from his home in Waverley.  At this time in the main street of Taupo, the only commercial premises were a hotel, a garage, boarding-house and shop.  Over in Nukuhau was a small boat hire firm run by Mr Short, after which Short Street is named.  Here you could hire a small clinker boat powered by a 4hp outboard and fishing gear consisting of two rods and two spoons.  Maurice and his friend caught four 5lb fish in the river mouth and it was this that sold him on Taupo.
In the early 1950s the Dickie family started coming to Taupo for the Christmas holidays. Maurice wanted a boat, so after looking around he found the Dauntless in Tauranga, purchased her and had her shifted to Taupo in 1956.
 At this time Dauntless was being used privately for line fishing out of Tauranga.  However she had had an earlier reputation because she had been chartered by Zane Grey who used her for big-game fishing out of Whitianga.  She is mentioned in his book "Fighting Fins.
 Dauntless was built in the early 1920s to cater for the then fast growing big-game fishing in the Bay of Plenty.  She is 38ft long and has a beam of 13ft.  She is an all-kauri boat and probably weighs about 12 tons.  Her first engine was a 4hp Lister with a big flywheel and she could do about four knots.  Later on a six-cylinder petrol Redwing was put in and soon after Maurice bought her, he put in a 1951 Fordson tractor diesel engine (Perkins P6).  This Perkins engine gave her a cruising speed of 10 knots.  One day after a ride back in a heavy southwest chop to Taupo, the Dickies decided to add a trolling engine both for fishing and for extra safety.
 She had only a few structural modifications done to her interior over the years.  Her ribs were broken once when she was beached at Mayor Island and new ones were put inside beside the older broken ones.  Her cabin area consisted of one forward cabin, a main cabin and a galley, fridge and toilet area in between.  Out the back was a very distinctive large cockpit from which she was driven.  Her engine was situated in the main cabin, boxed in under the dining table.  This table had extendable flaps.  On either side of the motor were long squabs and when the back of these squabs were folded up and propped up, they made beds.
 The Dickies used Dauntless for family trips on the lake. One time going round to Kinloch, the motor started playing up.  Maurice got down and found that by tapping the fuel pipes, he got fuel through and the engine spluttered back into life again.  So he got his children tapping the fuel pipes until he pulled Dauntless in to the safety of shelter and checked what the problem was.  A large blowfly was stopping the suction between the two fuel tanks.
 When television first came to Taupo, the Dickies purchased a small 8" portable and took it on holiday on board with them . They were marooned in Whanganui bay for three days because of storm conditions and ran out of bread.  After bartering with Polly, the wife of the Maori chief, they got their bread with the Maori children riding by horseback to Tihoi for it.  These children saw television that night in the Dauntless' cockpit, probably for the first time in their lives.
 Dauntless had the reputation of going out in conditions when other boats wouldn't.  It is said that her name fits the boat.  She held the New Zealand record for a mako shark (1000lb) for a number of years.  Before they could gaff this shark after bringing it in, it lunged at the boat and these teeth marks were still there years later.

DAWN

Dawn is one of the oldest boats on Lake Taupo.  She is one of the best-remembered boats because she was owned at various times by two of Taupo's well known identities of the past, George Davis and Ralph Ward.
She was built in Auckland earlier this century and plied on Lake Taupo in the 1920s and 30s. At this time there were only about half a dozen commercial boats for hire on the lake and then they only ran during the season from September to May.  During the winter months, most of the boats were taken out of the water and stored on blocks.  Like others, George Davis would do another job during the winter months.
In those days boats like the Dawn were used to take families for picnic trips to Acacia Bay, Western Bay and for day-long fishing trips.  It was the time before the family boats and outboard motors and a trip on to the lake in a boat like the Dawn was one of the highlights of a trip to Taupo.
During this time Dawn changed her name to Tuwharetoa and it is believed that at one time she was called the Rhodesia.
She was sold to Ralph Ward in the early 1940s.  Ralph, who had tuberculosis, had come to Taupo to help overcome this often fatal condition.  He bought Dawn and used her privately, often going over to the Western Bays for long periods of time.
She had a six-cylinder Studebaker car engine in when he bought her but Ralph wanted to put in a one-cylinder open crankcase engine.  He had it transported down from Tauranga where he bought it and arranged for Don McLeod to install it.
This engine arrived in boxes.  As it was so big and hefty it had been stripped down and packed in these boxes.  The flywheel weighed about a quarter of a ton and as they couldn't get that off the crankshaft, both came fixed together.  There was no order to the parts and no instructions and it took Don one winter to put it together.  He had to alter the engine beds to fit the large cast-iron crankcase.  After getting that in he put in the crankshaft and flywheel, did the bearings, and gradually the engine took shape.  Nothing was missing.  She was put back in the water and with two pulls of the crank-start, the engine started.
Dawn was 30ft long.  She was a planked-hull, all-kauri boat.  After Ralph sold her she had another engine put in and soon after left Taupo.

DOREENA

If any boat could attract trouble it was Doreena.  She was built in 1928 as a private boat for the family of a leading motor firm from the Waikato and was originally called Doreen.
Doreena was a luxury boat with beautiful walnut timber panels.  Inside she had been set up as a show boat.  30ft long, she had a beam of 9ft and drew 3ft of water.
 The first engine was a Pontiac L head six-cylinder motor.  This was replaced with a Rugby petrol engine after the war and this again replaced with a Redwing.  When they brought her to Taupo from the sea they put lead ballast in the keel to counter the well known short chop on the lake.  This would steady her and stop her bouncing about.
 Tales of Doreena are well known.  When she was called Doreen nearly 30 years ago she bumped the Whakaipo Reef and holed herself.  The hole wasn't noticed until night time when one of the people sleeping on board happened to get up and found that he was paddling ankle deep in water. They were anchored near the reef so they started the bilge pump and headed back, arriving at Taylor's wharf in the middle of the night.  Everybody living around the boatyard was wakened by the roar of her engine.
 The second tale is all about her change of name to Argument.  Twenty years ago her owner was bringing her round Tekara Point one afternoon.  He was at the wheel and his wife went to the stern to empty a galvanised bucket overboard.  In emptying the bucket she got dragged into the lake.  It wasn't until the boat was just past the wreck of the Tongariro that the owner turned to speak to his wife only to find her missing.  He knew that she was on board when he rounded the point so he retraced his steps and found her floating in the water holding on to the bucket which had air trapped in it to give her support.  This owner and his wife were always arguing so they changed the name to Argument.  Some changes were made to her about this time with her forward deck being raised to give more headroom for the two forward bunks.
 Her last owner in Taupo was Norm Pointon, who used her for taking his family on trips to the Western Bays and for fishing.  Norm fitted in overbunks by putting backs on the seats in the main cabin.  This made four berths and with two sleeping up forward she could now sleep six.
 Doreena had a nice galley, with a closed locker on one side and a sink and safe in the reasonably sized cockpit.  The engine, which was a Rugby car motor, still ran smoothly and was very economical.
 When she was sold in 1978 an Auckland buyer decided to take her back with him.  On the way to Auckland by transporter she slipped off the trailer and broke her back.  She has been restored again with a magnificent laminated douglas fir keel and is looking as nice as she was when she was first launched.
 Doreena was a beautiful boat, she was easy to drive although she would roll about a bit but her ballast would bring her back all the time.  Kauri right through, she was a very comfortable boat and left many memories for the fifty years she spent on the lake.

 

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