Classic Boaters Will Be Racing To Lake Rotoiti, New Zealand This Weekend For The Big Show

March marks the beginning of fall in New Zealand. The first weekend in March also means it’s time to load up the boat, the wife & kids, and the cooler and head to Lake Rotoiti, New Zealand for the 12th Annual NZ Classic & Antique Boat Show. The big show attracts folks from all around the islands and, according to organizers, offers an action packed weekend of classic boating – something for everyone.  As shown below, these guys will race anything!

From the NZ Boat Show web site… In 2010, the Christchurch boats dominated the honours at the weekend’s NZ Classic & Antique Boat Show at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

Over 180 boats registered for a weekend of ‘Glorious Hydromatic Relaxation’ and over a thousand people attended over the two days to view the restored boats and watch the races. These ranged from the popular Seagull outboard race with its ‘Le Mans’ start down the beach, a sailing race fuelled by the moderate breeze and the family rowing race won by a heavily laden clinker dinghy.

Because of the recent earthquake in Christchurch, the boat show organizers also posted an update on their NZ Boat Show web site today…

The 2011 show is going to go ahead this weekend (5&6 March) as scheduled.
Although we have received correspondence from some Cantabrians saying they will not be able to join us this year, we have heard from others who are looking forward to an all to brief distraction from the unbelievable situation they have found themselves in this week.
To those of you who are unable to join us, be assured that we are thinking of you, and wishing you all the best as you bravely move forward. To those who make the journey north, we sincerely hope you find comfort in our classic boating community.

(We have held all payments received from Christchurch this week, and we will return payment next week to those of you who don’t make it to the lake this year.)

The NZ Classic & Antique Boat Show In March Is A Popular Autumn Event

Bruce Judge from nearby Wellington, NZ enjoying a day on the lake aboard “Calliope”.

We touched on this on Monday’s NZ Boat Show story, but it’s worth mentioning again. The diversity of classic boats in New Zealand is remarkable. We had the opportunity to view hundreds of photos from the NZ Boat Show archive courtesy of and this was a real eye opener. Skinny has been shooting the NZ Boat Show for over 10 years, and plans to be on hand, with camera in hand, again this year.  So we decided to show a series photos from his archive to demonstrate what we mean by diversity. No geography lessons today, just cool classic boats and cool, enthusiastic folks which once again is what makes this hobby so great – worldwide no less.

The classic launches always bring a certain amount of character and charm to a local boat show. They look so stable in the water, gracefully going about their business.

I have had the privilege of attending quite a few antique & classic boats shows over the last 10 years, but I can honestly say that I have never seen one of these before. Kind of strikes me as a smooth water boat with limited storage capacity. But he sure looks like he’s having fun and that’s all that matters. I guess in this case, size doesn’t matter guys…

As long as it floats and you have a PFD your welcome to join the party.

The Jens Hansen Cup is awarded annually to the overall show winner.

The judges will be considering many things when making decisions about boats … the way the boat looks, the story behind the boat, the condition of the boat, the way the boat is constructed and engineered.

Remember it’s not necessarily the most valuable or expensive boat that wins the ultimate prize at the show, it’s the boat that stands out for the judges as being special, or memorable. All in all there are a lot of factors that go into judging the winner of the Jens Hansen Cup and other trophies up for grabs

“Bootlegger” was awarded the coveted Jen’s Hanson Cup in 2009 (pictured above and below at speed).

"Bootlegger" Cruising Lake Rotoiti

“Pooh Bear” powered by 6 burley fellows all rowing in perfect harmony, and having fun.

The steam launch crowd appears to be a competitive bunch, burning up the lake in 2010.

Action From The Popular Steam Boat Race - Leader's Smokescreen

“Ripple” R18 racing around the outside for the lead, in the clean, fast water just like the hydro guys.

"Ripple" Racing for the Lead

Skinny captured a nice shot of these folks enjoying a quiet ride across Lake Rotoiti in 2010 in a traditional wooden sail boat… Very cool.

"Tirimoana" is a 500 HP Chevrolet big block powered 29' 6" triple cockpit runabout which is also featured on the Woody Boater banner. The boat is owned by Phillip Burmester from Christchurch, NZ. Phillip is a big time boating enthusiast in the NZ area and owns a number of different, unique crafts.Phillip Burmester and friends aboard "Tirimoana"

According to a story written for NZ Life & Leisure magazine in 2007, Phillip and a partner purchased the partly completed “Tirimoana” from an Auckland businessman who intended to build it as a luxury tender for the first America’s Cup in New Zealand.  Max Carter of Auckland drew the plans.  The solid mahogany craft, weighing 2.5 tonnes (5,500 lbs) took two years to complete in the Burmesters’ Christchurch garage.  They installed the 500 hp big block Chevrolet V-8 which was marinized in the United States.  The boat is capable of 55 knots.

To see the full story on Phillip Burmester and the big triple cockpit runabout in NZ Life & Leisure magazine click here.  It’s certainly an interesting 3 page story and a very unique and attractive one of a kind wooden runabout.

"Tirimoana" - Lake Rotoiti

New Zealand has always been famous for producing some powerful and unique jet boats over the years, and according to the organizers, the boats are always well represented at the annual event.

Benny and the Jets

“Idle Hour” What a great name for a classic row boat… I hope he doesn’t mind me calling it a row boat.

Sailboats on Lake Rotoiti - 2010

I am not up to speed with the local traditions in New Zealand, but I have to guess this is the Commodore saluting the participants, or the folks on the beach, or the organizers, or something. What ever it is, they seem to do it every year at the show by what noticed in the photo gallery. Maybe someone from the NZ club can enlighten us on the procedure with a comment – please…. Cool looking wooden runabout too.

And finally, I ran across this nice shot of “Bootlegger” that I had to include, just because it looks nice.

"Bootlegger" Resting At The Dock - Lake Rotoiti

Thanks again to Pete Rainey, the 2011 Boat Show organizer for helping us with the NZ Boat Show stories. It was so cool… when I had a question while preparing the story I would send Pete an e-mail from my iPhone and had a response within minutes. From half way around the world… Got to love the Internet when it comes to communication and information, and hey… that’s why we are here.

Also thanks once again to Alan Doak and for opening up your photo gallery to Woody Boater this week. It’s been fun. Skinny is also running his Minimax Racer at the show this weekend, so if were lucky maybe we can get some cool shots for our first ever Live-ish report from the shores of Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time). Good luck Skinny!


16 replies
  1. anonymus
    anonymus says:

    I like the head first boating technique of the helmet optional guy on the hydroplane as well as the missing 6th burly guy in Pooh Bear. With five it still displays that she is a hardy craft. Many beautiful boats with a nice lineup of lapstrakes. May the best boat win. Good Luck

  2. Texx
    Texx says:

    Anonymus – You were paying close attention to the story today and identified the missing 6th burley guy in “Pooh Bear”

    Congratulations, you have won the secret Pop Quiz for today’s story and will be rewarded with a pack of Classic Woody Boater Wieners for your efforts… If Matt still has any left in the cooler at Woody Boater head office.

  3. Texx
    Texx says:

    Yes – If in fact Matt still has some in stock, they will be frozen which is perfect. So we can ask Matt to cut the pack in half with a hack saw (because they are frozen) and mail them to you and Rick.

    In a few weeks, if you or Rick find a package in your mail box that appears to be leaking, that will be a six-pack of Classic Woody Boater Wieners… Enjoy!

  4. Rick
    Rick says:

    Unlikely they’d defrost here in NY. Will have to bring them inside for that. Just have to hope that some other desperate WoodyBoater doesn’t steal it from my mailbox! Hey……hmmm….I could have gotten them long ago! Um, forget I said that. By the way………Are the Big Woody Trophies going to be mailed to the recipients?

  5. Woody
    Woody says:

    What the he’ll. I go to bed and there are 2 comments on this and pow. There has been a wiener party going down all night.. Was Charlie sheen here to.. And the goddesses.. Wieners are in the golden freezer and will be shipped. Trophies are limited to this years events and will only be handed out in person. We have 10 of them. Email me your adress for your wieners !

  6. jeff
    jeff says:

    number six IS in the boat hes hunched over bailing out the water leaking in,,,,also cars in australia and new zealand are right hand drive, are boats driven from the opposite side as well…..

  7. Texx
    Texx says:

    HA – Thanks Jeff for clearing that up… Together, we are learning lots about NZ this week. The more we learn, the more we want to go down there and check it out in person.

Comments are closed.