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Lamorna was built in 1936 for the Blundell family who were the proprietors of Wellington's newspaper. Colin Wild built her in Auckland. He seldom built a boat to a price, instead he would tell you afterwards how much it cost, but the price would always be satisfactory for the workmanship.
At the time the boat was being built the Blundells were on a trip to England. Down on the Cornwall coast they found a small cove. Nearby there was a little monument to a boat that had been wrecked there many years before and apparently all the crew saved. It was called Lamorna Cove, Lamorna meaning "refuge from the deep".
With her light silver grey hull Lamorna was a distinctive sight on Lake Taupo. She was 42ft long and had a beam of 12ft. She was powered initially by two 45hp Thornycroft petrol engines which were a feature because they were situated in mid-cabin, clearly visible and surrounded by chrome guard rails around which you could walk. Also in mid-cabin were the cooking facilities.
Lamorna was a nice classy boat for her time, being the first twin-screw boat on the lake. The Blundells used her privately for a number of years before selling her to Mr MacFarlane from Christchurch. Not long after Jack Edlin, the proprietor of the Edgewater Lodge, bought her.
Jack replaced the two Thornycrofts with Parsons PKE diesels. To get these engines in place they had to cut a hole in the cabin top. This opening was converted to make a hatch and skylight. The engines had large brass water-cooled exhausts which were always kept polished and were a beautiful sight. Lamorna's three fuel tanks held 160 gallons.
In the main cabin there was a table and two long seats, the backs of which could be swung up to make two sets of bunks. Also the cockpit had two roll-up canvas sides so it could be used for sleeping as well. At the stern were two davits on which a dinghy could be hoisted.
Lamorna was sold to Mick Savage and left Taupo for Whitianga where she was based for a while, being used for sword-fishing. Her large stern easily accommodated two outriggers.
She has also been based at Whakatane and while fishing out of there in 1971 she was caught in a terrible storm and had to take shelter north of White Island. Her lifeboat was battered and damage done to her superstructure. Listeners on shore, keeping in touch by radio with the two fishermen on board, could hear the howling of the wind. She survived, maybe the luck of her name got her through, and she is still working the waters of the Bay of Plenty carrying the memories of the many who have sailed aboard her.
In the 1920s the tourist fishing boat started to become very popular on Lake Taupo and Lapwing was one of those early boats.
With the increased use of the motor car more families were having their holidays in Taupo and part of this holiday would be to hire a tourist boat, along with two or three other families to share the cost and to have a day's fishing and sightseeing.
Apart from a few outboard motorboats there were few privately owned small boats on the lake. Donald Hunt was an Englishman who came here in the 1920s. He was a motor mechanic by trade and when he first came here he ran a taxi. He then began to get into boats. He had two outboard motorboats and two outboard motor dinghies. He became the Johnson agent. In 1929 he bought his first launch - Lapwing. Lapwing came from Rotorua, had a narrow beam and was 27ft long. She was powered by a Stirling 4-cylinder petrol engine which gave her a top speed of about 12 knots.
Probably built in Auckland, she was quite a powerful boat in her time and was the fastest ordinary launch on the lake in those days. Lapwing was quick for that sort of boat - a displacement hull. She had no self-starter, but was started with a crank handle.
Donald Hunt had a little wharf of his own just ahead of where the main wharf is now for the pump- out station. He also had a little shed on the shore. He had a petrol pump at his home on Lake Terrace near where the fire station is now. He would take petrol down to his boat in two gallon tins.
Lapwing had its name changed to Pandora in quite unusual circumstances. Donald had a party out and he had nosed Lapwing on to the beach as he used to do, Unfortunately, the passengers all ended up on one side of the boat for some reason and Lapwing keeled over and tipped them off. Some of the passengers fell into the water and it gave them a terrible fright. It was just an accident and there was nothing wrong with the boat but it gave the boat a name and so she was named Pandora.
She plied for hire for many years after that and then became a private boat passing through many hands before leaving Taupo.
Little Angeline was one of the early time Bailey and Lowe counter stern boats. She was built at the turn of the century and was a yacht before being converted to being power driven. Before coming to Taupo she was owned by Kinross White in Napier. He used her for sailing as then she did not have a cabin but was an open boat with a small deck up front. She had a mast in the middle for the sails and also had a little single banger engineas an auxiliary. The petrol tank was stored under the deck up front.
Little Angeline came to Taupo just before the war. She was brought here by the father of Don McLeod. The trip then would have taken six hours from Napier on the back of a Hawkes Bay Motor Company Dodge truck over pumiceroads that had many potholes.
The McLeods added the distinctive looking cabin and put a four cylinder petrol driven Rugby motor. The cabin was built out of yellow pine which, unlike white pine, is durable for marine purposes. The yellow pine comes from the heart of white pine. The outer white pine was well known in the early days for being used for making butter boxes.
Little Angeline is 24ft long with a beam of 8 feet. She is a double ender and with her counter stern was a very good boat in following seas. A big wave would come up from behind, go under the stern so giving a gentle ride to those on board. She is a wooden carvil built boat with a triple diagonal skin. She was a pretty boat when she was a sailing boat and even with her unusual cabin she still maintained her graceful lines.
Little Angeline's four cylinder Rugby petrol engine was a very smooth running, quiet, reliable motor. It gave off 40 HP which allowed her to ahve a cruising speed of about six miles an hour. Most of these Rugby engines were originally from cars although later models were specifically made for marine purposes. This particular engine was known as the Red Seal Continental motor. The engines were easy to repair but high speeds couldn't be attained. They were also very economical only going through about a gallon of petrol an hour. Safety was always on the mind of those taking boats out then and one good check was to make sure that the carburettor was in good condition so that it wasn't dripping. In fact safety on the lake also led to another visible feature of Little Angeline and that was her box like raft on her stern. This was a copper tank with timber built around it and ropes around the edge to hold onto.
Little Angeline was once the subject of a search & rescue mission on LakeTaupo. The McLeods were coming across the lake from Whanganui when the lake started to get very rough. They hadn't left the bay so they secured themselves to shore below the cliffs by using some No 8 fencing wire lying on the shore. For some reason they had got a lot of water into the engine and into the petrol tank. When the weather eased they decided to try and get home. After six hours they got as far as Ohuku Bay where the Maori Rock carvings are now. The weather had turned bad again and they were caught there for three days. Being well overdue a search party had set out from Taupo on horseback to search for them. Meanwhile on board the Little Angeline, Don Mcleod's sister decided to set out and walk back to Taupo to get help.
There were no roads in those days and the land was just tussock & scrub but the search party caught with her and she and her overdue crew were soon back in Taupo.
Loloma is the Fijian name for "happy days". A unique name for a unique boat as there is no other boat built quite like Loloma. At one stage she was the biggest boat on Lake Taupo. She is licensed to carry 52 passengers and has been filled to capacity on more than one occasion. She was launched in 1966.
Loloma was designed by a naval architect and her first owner was Don McLeod who had been running boats on Lake Taupo since the second world war. Loloma is 40ft long and has a beam of 12ft. The hull is all steel - 5/16" at the bottom and 1/4" elsewhere. She was built where the Suncourt Shopping Centre is now situated.
Loloma started her career by bringing the shingle barge from Kawakawa Bay to the town. At the time there was no other way of transporting the metal from Kawakawa. The shingle was even-sized metal - perfect for making concrete.
Loloma was also used at Five Mile Bay with the sand dredge which used to pump the sand on to the beach from the lake. She used to be involved in sightseeing excursions in the school holidays, and was also used for fishing trips when she was bought by Andy Lennox in 1971.
Andy Lennox used the boat for tourist fishing excursions on Lake Taupo for many years before selling it to the present owner Jock Graham three years ago.
When Andy bought the boat he spent three months doing her up, adding a flare around the bow and lining her throughout as the insides had been very austere. Two years before he sold her to Jock"Graham he removed the original two six cylinder Mk II Trader Ford engines and replaced them with two D Series Fords.
Loloma's future looks secure, she has recently had another refit and will continue to transport many more tourists and fishermen across the waters of Lake Taupo. Her passengers will no doubt retain fond memories of their excursions on "the boat with a difference"