Tourism pioneer, sportsman dies
Known for NZ’s first hydrofoil
The man who launched and operated Queenstown’s unusual hydrofoil, has died.
Frank Haworth passed away last week, aged 92.
He was a descendant of Queenstown’s founder William Gilbert Rees and a tourism pioneer in his own right.
Son Bevan said that after being a Tiger Moth flying instructor during World War II and flying in the South Pacific, he settled in Queenstown with then wife Beatrice and worked as a surveyor for the Department of Lands and Survey.
In 1950 he purchased a small tourism boat called the Meteor I and began running 20 minute Lake Wakatipu trips for tourists around the Frankton Arm. He surprised everyone by repaying the cost of the boat after the first summer of operation.
In winter he would run snow trips to view mountains further up the lake and would provide services to the various farm stations on the lake.
In 1959 he built a larger boat, the Meteor II, and in the mid-1960s he ordered what is believed to be New Zealand’s first hydrofoil to be built in the United Kingdom – the Meteor III.
However, it wasn’t covered on its trip aboard a ship to New Zealand and arrived full of rust. It took him the next year to prepare the boat for use and he worked at the Post Office to pay the bills.
Tragedy struck in the 1960s when he was driving the hydrofoil and hit a dinghy killing a father and child fishing aboard. Sun strike was blamed but it was devastating for his father, Bevan said.
He continued to operate the hydrofoil until retiring in 1982.
Frank was a man for facts and figures and known for being fastidious,’’ he said.
‘‘Everything was immaculate – the boat was cleaned when he finished every day.’’
A keen sportsman, he was also a Coronet Peak ski instructor, a tennis player and a sailor.
Frank retired to Wanaka and continued playing sport and enjoyed model planes also. His flying friends from WWII would visit every second year for the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow.
Bevan said he retained an oldfashioned sense of honesty.
‘‘You could do things on a handshake and he would stick by it. He was true to his word.’’
He is survived by wife Alwyne and children Bryan, Pam and Bevan.
★ Memorial services will be held at Wanaka Presbyterian Church at 2pm on Saturday and Queenstown Bowling Club at 2pm on Sunday.
Frank Haworth in his flying uniform at the 2015 Anzac Day parade with daughter Pam Haworth.
Frank Haworth owned and operated the hydrofoil on Lake Wakatipu for about 16 years.