Tourism pi­o­neer, sports­man dies

Known for NZ’s first hy­dro­foil

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

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.

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