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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.”
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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