Veteran Kestrel at Wynyard Quarter

7 Dec

Have a look for the 105-year-old former Waitemata ferry MV Kestrel recently relocated to a berth near Silo Park in Wynyard Quarter. An investigation is underway to assess what needs to be done for the vessel to become fully operative. Generations of Aucklanders hold fond memories of travelling on the double-ended Kestrel and the Kestrel Preservation Society is drumming up support to continue the restoration.

At times Kestel carried more than 20,000 people daily, transporting them across and around Waitemata Harbour prior to the opening of the Auckland harbour bridge.

Some years ago I met Sally Fodie, a Waitemata Ferry master with fond memories of Kestrel. In 1983 she became the first woman mate on the Waitemata when she signed on the veteran ferry. ‘Even then it was technology from the past, with engine-room telegraph and the huge wheel requiring the heavy weight of a foot to assist steering,’ she told me. She had written her own amusing book Waitemata Ferry Tales. The veteran ferry will be an excellent companion for the Wynyard Quarter heritage trams. Hopefully, the opportunity to sail the Waitemata again aboard Kestrel will be part of the foreseeable future.

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