Colour­ful his­tory re­sumes on lake

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: SUPPLIED

BIG LIFT: Contractors pre­pare the Otunui be­fore it is lifted onto Lake Marae­tai.

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