Colourful history resumes on lake
New Zealand’s oldest operating paddleboat is now on Lake Maraetai.
The Otunui was launched on November 3, relocated from the Waihou River, Te Aroha where it was based.
The Otunui has been brought to Mangakino by its new owners where they will offer scheduled and charter trips for up to 48 passengers on the waters of Lake Maraetai.
Built as a kitset in the UK in 1907, the Otunui was shipped to Whanganui where she was assembled and finished.
She operated on the Whanganui River until being wrenched from her moorings during a storm, sunk and subsequently abandoned in the 1960s.
Refloated and rebuilt in the 1980s the Otunui worked again, carrying passengers on the river before being moved to Lake Okataina, then again to the Waikato River at Aratiatia, carrying passengers to the base of the Huka Falls in Taupo.
In April 2003 a suspicious fire burnt her to the waterline and she was removed to Coromandel. After a three-year refurbishment the Otunui was once again returned to the water, this time on the Waihou River and operated from Te Aroha.
BIG LIFT: Contractors prepare the Otunui before it is lifted onto Lake Maraetai.