RECOGNISING AND FOSTERING CLASSIC AND WOODEN BOATS, AND ENHANCING FACILITIES ON LAKE ROTOITI

HISTORY OF WOODEN BOATS ON LAKE ROTOITI

The use of wooden boats on Lake Rotoiti goes way back in history to the arrival of the great Waka Arawa, on the shore of Maketu. It did not take long for these first Maori explorers to discover the beautiful lakes of the Rotorua area. The lakes soon became the main method of travel between the sub-tribes of Arawa, in particular Ngati Pikiao, who settled around Rotoiti and who used waka of all shapes and sizes for trade and travel.

Thus was born the rich history of wooden boats, especially on Rotoiti, which was probably the main Maori settled lake in the district.

European influence was first felt in the 1930s as city dwellers from Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton were able to purchase small lakeside parcels of land for holiday homes. Many well known old merchant families including the Winstones, Rendells, Stevensons, Hellabys, and many others came to regard Rotoiti as their summer playground and they needed boats. In those days they were nearly always displacement launches, built to last.

It is no surprise that many of these fine old craft are still alive and well tucked into sheds around the lake shores.

THE CLUB

In 1997 two neighbours on the Te Akau peninsula, Gillian Marks and Lindsay Brighouse decided this living history was too good to waste. These fine old boats needed to be gathered together for at least one day each year.

So was born the concept of the Parade of the Wooden Boats. A foundation committee, which also included longtime lake personalities Morrin Cooper and John Barrowman, was set up. Brentleigh Bond and Phil Cunningham soon joined this enthusiastic group. Gillian and Morrin are no longer involved in the parade organisation but their enthusiasm and energy was largely instrumental in its success.

The first Parade, held on Waitangi Day 1998 had 40 entries. Since then, attendance has grown to around eighty wooden boats of all shapes and sizes.

The parade is now recognised as one of New Zealand's most significant inland waterway marine occasions. It is also a day of enjoyment for lake people who love their boats.

Most importantly, it is also a day where two cultures can meet. Magnificent Maori waka often lead the Parade off making a great spectacle.

Lake Rotoiti is now firmly established as a mecca for vintage wooden boats within New Zealand.

Of particular interest to the Parade organisers are any old photographs or articles of boating on Rotoiti. We wish to establish as part of this website a historical section to further enhance our knowledge of our lakes wonderful history. If you have anything of interest please contact one of the committee members.

All committee members are honorary, enthusiastic wooden boaters and are doing this for the enjoyment of all. There is also a willing band of enthusiastic helpers who all do their bit to make a fun day. Unfortunately there are costs involved and any fees charged will be kept to a minimum to cover the basics.

THE COMMITTEE

COMMODORE: Grant Cossey
VICE COMMODORE: Grant Wallace REAR COMMODORE: Fraser Wilson
LIFE MEMBER & TREASURER: Brentleigh Bond
SECRETARY: Rachel Jamieson
WEBMASTER: Hannah Prior
COMMITTEE: Robin Sinclair
Eric Cameron
Aaron Martin
Paul Prior
Warwick Jamieson
David Wilson
Noel Nicholson
Rod Prosser
Tracey Mackay
Brian Stamp
LIFE MEMBER: Lindsay Brighouse

BECOME A MEMBER

A classic or wooden boat is not a requirement for membership, anyone with an interest in classic or wooden boats and the well being of our lakes is welcome.
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PAST COMMODORES

FRASER WILSON (2014)
MARCUS WILKINS (2012 - 2013)
CHRIS LAIRD (2010 - 2011)
BUZZ RATHBONE (2007 - 2009)
GRANT COSSEY (2005 - 2006)
LINDSAY BRIGHOUSE (2001 - 2004)
MORRIN COOPER (1998 - 2000)