Thursday, August 14, 2014

Voor Ben Mijn Nederlandse Vriend (4)

Ben. When I was looking around at all the Ngataki memorabilia that was being displayed in various glass cases within the display tent I heard someone beside me say, "Hi Alden! what are you doing here? why aren't you at work?" - It was the voice of Ann Marie a teacher from Whangarei who had often done teacher relieving in my classroom when I was teaching at my previous school, Parua Bay School. We got talking and it transpires that her parents were the second owners of the Ngataki and Ann Marie was practically born on board. She remembers the time they lived on board the Ngataki with great fondness. One of the glass display cases was devoted to memorabilia donated by her family. Here is a photograph below of Ann Maries parents in a newspaper clipping of that period.
I also found out that under the command of another owner Ngataki had completed a circumnavigation of the world, which is a real testament not only to her skipper at that time but also to the strength and durability of this old boat built back in the 1930s.

Skipper and Navigator Debbie Lewis (above) bought the Ngataki and headed off in 1988 with her partner and son Jason aged 8 years old. In South Africa she bought out her partner and completed the rest of the circumnavigation alone with her young son - a very brave and competent sailor I say.
It is Debbie Lewis who has donated the Ngataki to the Rewa Trust who has completed the restoration - what an amazingly generous and far sighted gift to New Zealand nautical history! Good on yah Debbie.
Ngataki leaving for the Pacific Islands from a wharf at the bottom of Queens Street Auckland not far from where she is currently moored.
No fancy Bimini sunshades in those days, just a trusty old umbrella.
The original barometer off the Ngataki - I guess there would have been a lot of anxious looks at this trusty old barometer on their voyages.
Various photographs - I remember these old black paper photo albums - every home had one.
Ships cat - a tabby cat just like our cat here at Kohe Street - the best sort in my opinion, a tabby - the closest thing I will ever have to owning a Bengal Tiger.
Ships cat showing off at the end of the Ngatakis bowsprit.
 Johnny Wray with his mum - I bet he caused her a few worries over the years.
 Island life - when in Rome do as the Romans do - as the saying goes.
 Teaching the ships cat to steer the boat - cat not all that interested.
Blowing the conch shell - it makes a long low sound if you are able to grasp the technique of blowing it....... and that shipmates is the end of this edition - I still have photos of Johnny and his Polynesian wife and the second boat that he built - a motor launch - which I will blog about next time.


Ben said...

Thanks Alden, these blogs are the next best thing to being there myself. Ann Marie: a coincidence again. Sometimes NZ seems to be one family with all types of unknown connections.

Alden Smith said...

I am glad you are enjoying my current Blog Posts Ben - It's interesting how actions that become known (often through the writing of books) have a ripple effect - As when ripples move ever outward in concentric circles when a stone is thrown into a pool - The Ngataki story works in this way - the influence of the ripples reaching as far as The Netherlands!

Meeting Ann Marie was a coincidence, I must talk to her again some time - I am sure she has photographs that would be interesting to see, and Ngataki stories to tell.

For myself I still have one more Blog Post to make about the Ngataki which I will post soon.