A Genuine Vintage Riverboat
Motor Vessel Wairua was built by Yarrow & company of London in early 1904 and sent out to Whanganui for A. Hatrick & company in a kit set form. She was launched in November 1904 and was put to work on the middle section of the Whanganui River between Pipiriki and Whakahoro.
For 34 years Wairua carried passengers, mail and cargo over an 80km section of river which included over 100 rapids. After years of faithful service, she was decommissioned in Whanganui in 1938 to be used as a pontoon for other vessels. Eventually neglect took its toll and she sank in to the mud of the river.
In 1987, Wairua was salvaged by a group of local men who spent 19 years restoring her to her 1913 condition. This year was chosen as it was the year her first internal combustion engine was fitted.
Wairua was re-launched to begin her second lease of life in March 2006.
Now faithfully restored to first class condition Motor Vessel Wairua offers Day Picnic Trips to Hipango Park, Scheduled Cruises to Upokongaro and Personalised Charters for all occasions.
Originally built as a steam ship with a 66hp Simpson & Strickland compounding engine, Wairua was converted to internal combustion propulsion in 1913 when a Thornycroft oil engine was installed. Over the years this was superseded first by a Thornycroft kerosene engine and later by a Gardner 6L3 Diesel. Today Wairua is powered by a Gardner 6LW-20 generating over 90hp.
Motor Vessel Wairua has a unique form of propeller configuration that is known as tunnel drive. The propeller is recessed into the bottom of the hull inside a tunnel. The water is drawn up into this and then thrust out of the stern past the vessels rudders. This system is the genesis of today’s jet boats and allows Wairua to work in only two feet of water.