Not only were winged and wheeled modes of transportation shipped aboard the Wimmera, but also other watercraft.


Amongst the imports of the Wimmera to Sydney from Wellington in October 1907 were two motor cars and the yacht Mawhiti. Aboard the Wimmera on that same voyage was the yacht’s owner Berkley Clarke. It had been Clarke’s intention initially to sail the yacht to Sydney where he was to take up residence and there had been a rush to crew the vessel. However, time did not permit this and so the yacht was consigned for shipment aboard the Wimmera.

This yacht was built in Wellington in 1898 by William Moore, E Silk, A Penty and M Beck.

Sculling boats

A four-oared rowing boat. Postcard. Author’s Collection.

On Wednesday 18 March 1908 the SS Wimmera departed Dunedin for Sydney via northern ports. Aboard were seven members of the Akaroa Rowing Club who were en route to Napier to compete in the Napier Carnival’s Championship Regatta. Amongst the Wimmera‘s cargo from Dunedin were the Club’s boats including a new four-oared outrigger to be used by the Club’s champion fours’ oarsmen, Kearney, Clements, Westenra and Ditely.

Unfortunately, a south-westerly gale and heavy seas were encountered by the Wimmera during her Wellington to Napier leg. The four-oared boat, which was stowed on the ship’s deck was struck by waves coming aboard and both ends of the boat were smashed rendering it useless for the races for which it was intended.

Akaroa Boating Club
Akaroa Boating Club. Postcard.
Author’s Collection.

Another sculling boat, built by champion sculler George Towns for Cecil McVilly, arrived in Hobart from Sydney aboard the Wimmera on Monday 9 February 1914. The dimensions of the boat were:
Length, 23ft.; beam, 12in.; depth forward, 4½in.; depth aft, 4in.; weight, 20lb, Spread, 4ft. 9½in.

McVilly, the amateur sculling champion of Australia, had represented Australia at the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.


Another purpose-built craft, a canoe, was constructed by the Peterborough Canoe Company of Canada for Dr J. N. Bell, Government Director of the New Zealand Geological Survey Department, and was landed at Wellington from the Wimmera on 4 April 1906.

The most well-known watercraft however, appears to have been the famous Maori war canoe or wake ‘Taheretikitiki’.


"Mahuta Te Teko" Maori Chief
“Mahuta Te Teko” Maori Chief
Postcard. Author’s Collection.

The Maori war canoe Taheretikitiki was acquired on loan from Chief Mahuta to be displayed at the Christchurch exhibition. It was constructed from a single kauri tree about … and owned by …

It was first conveyed south from Auckland to Christchurch / Lyttelton aboard Huddart Parker’s steamer Victoria.

“The famous Waikato Maori War canoe Taheatokitiki [sic] arrived from the North by the Victoria on Saturday, and was landed at the pa on the exhibition ground.
To-day the craft, which presents an imposing appearance, was transhipped in three sections (the largest being 50ft 9in in length), and was put together in the afternoon, un the direction of Mr. A. Hamilton. The canoe is rapidly being prepared for launching upon the waters of Victoria Lake in view of the aquatic display to be made by the natives early next month.”

Auckland Star, Volume XXXVII, Issue 241, 16 October 1906, Page 5

During the exhibition it was displayed at the Maori Pah and used to convey special guests on the … lake including …

Following the closure of the exhibition in … 1907 the canoe was abandoned, its fittings stripped and the canoe left exposed to the elements. Eventually, in 1908 the canoe was finally claimed and shipped to Auckland in pieces aboard the SS Wimmera. Together with its canoe cargo the Wimmera departed from the port of Lyttelton and, proceeding via Dunedin, she arrived in Wellington on 9 July 1908 and then in Auckland on 12 July where her cargo was discharged.

After a long lay-up in Hagley Park, Christchurch, the famous war canoe Taheretikitiki came up from the South by the Wimmera to-day on its way to Auckland. The canoe and its like history have already been referred to in these columns. Taheretikitiki will be used in the aquatic display to be held on the Waitemata in connection with the visit of the American Fleet. It will then probably be returned to Waahi, on the Waikato River, whence it was sent to Christchurch for the Exhibition.

 Evening Post, Volume LXXVI, Issue 8, 9 July 1908, Page 6

Taheretikitiki was re-assembled and used again in Auckland harbour during the visit of the United States Fleet. At some time she was broken up and parts of the canoe used in the construction of (whare ?) houses at..

Per Press Association.
AUCKLAND, August 14.
Surrounded by a warmly interested gathering of Maoris, the big native canoe, Taheretikitiki, was put together near the rowing sheds on the King’s Drive this morning. The craft, which was displayed at the Christchurch Exhibition, was brought back to Auckland in sections, and considerable delay has ensued in its re-construction. After lunch to-day, the canoe, manned by 60 warriors from the Waikato, with an other craft of smaller dimensions, the Tehiki, with 42 oars, left its temporary moorings to cruise around the visiting warships. The two craft proceeded right round the fleet, and hailed each of the vessels in characteristic greetings of typical Maori warmth, meeting with a hearty response from the bluejackets. In charge of the Taheretikitiki was “King” Mahuta, while Kiri Opa, the noted chief, captained the Tehiki.

Taranaki Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 13726, 15 August 1908, Page 5

© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021

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