Monday, June 9, 2014


 Photograph Ben Bongers Kerk-Avezaath The Netherlands
If you have been reading my last few blog posts you will understand that my friend Ben from The Netherlands read a book when he was twelve years old called 'South Seas Vagabonds' that  has provided him with one of several associations with New Zealand. When the intrepid Ben came on a recent visit to New Zealand with his equally intrepid wife Renee he actually tracked down the yacht 'Ngataki' that features in Johnny Wrays book and went and took a look at it. This is his photograph of the Ngataki (above).
If my memory serves me well, Ben told me that the current owner is like himself of Dutch nationality and that their common first language helped oil their conversation. I must email Ben and get him to remind me of his meeting with the owner so I can get more full details of what must have been for Ben a closing of the circle of sorts for him.

What pleases me greatly about this photograph is the fact that Ngataki looks in absolutely original condition. From the outside at least there doesn't appear to be any additions that seriously compromise the way she looked when she was built and sailed all those years ago.

As mentioned in a previous blog post the Ngataki is being relaunched after restoration in conjunction with a republication of Johnny Wray's classic New Zealand book 'South Sea Vagabonds'.


Ben said...

Hi Alden,
Sometimes memory is playing tricks with us. I will fill you in on some details. The foto is made at MCN Shipwrights, owned by Marco Scuderi. At that day in January 2013, we had a lively conversation about old ships and their restorations. Marco and a former Dutchmen, Paul, who is already more than 40 years a Kiwi, are restoring an American yacht, Valiant together with a German guy.
The foto shows the finished work Marco did for the Tino Rawa Trust that owns Ngataki. Afterwards the Ngataki moved to another company to do the final work on the rigging etc.
Marco did a fine job to bring back the Ngataki in its original state with the so typical bulwarks.
Closing the circle completely would be the Ngataki being Launched again and may be even in the future sailing it for a while. As a whole, remembering the odd name (at least for a Dutchman) Ngataki, gave me many fine contacts with people in NZ that I value very much.

Alden Smith said...

Thank you Ben for that information. I was sure that there were two Dutch people in there somewhere - you and Paul - but as you say memory can play tricks with us (especially as we grow older). I am sure you gave me all this information when you visited New Zealand.
I look forward to the launching of Ngataki and will keep my eye on the yachting press to see when this event might happen.
If the Ngataki is now owned by a Trust (Tino Rawa Trust) it may be possible to go for a sail on her. Trusts that own and restore old boats tend to have sailing programs to finance the on going costs of boat maintenance.