Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 16, June 1972
By CLIFF FURNISS
Paeroa turned on a very watery but warm welcome for the Hist. Society's guests - 40 members of the A.M.S. who arrived in the M.V. Rotoiti on 29-1-72 after a 9½ hr. trip. The following lively report is quoted from their Newsletter:
NO RACEHORSES OR BULLION: A frequent entry in the log-books of the S.S. "TANIWHA" used to read "Landed Racehorses and boxes of Bullion". No one entrusted any shipments of gold or pedigree bloodstock to us on our trip to Paeroa in the "ROTOITI" over Anniversary week-end. Nor were there any "River ports" left for us to "work as required", but otherwise our trip ran close to history. Captain Cook had experience of conditions in the Gulf during northerly weather, and we in turn poked our nose into a very dirty northerly blow as soon as we left the protection of Ponui Island. Our skipper, Pat Tierney, tried to head across to the shelter of the Coromandel Peninsula, but big seas vetoed that idea, so we turned tail and ran for it down the Gulf. Thanks to Pat's skill as a helmsman, it wasn't too uncomfortable for the passengers.
He and his crew managed to pick out the remains of the Fairway Beacon off the Waihou River after a false landfall near the entrance to the Piako. The "ROTOITI" angled across in the muddy chop and headed for the Hauraki Bridge at Kopu which was duly swung for us. In the calm of the river we were able to brew tea, dry ourselves out and take stock. Then history repeated itself again - we ran aground on the tip of a sandbank in Puriri Reach, which caused the "TANIWHA" endless troubles in the old days, judging by the entries in her log-books. Fortunately, we were early on the tide, and after half an hour, during which we launched Brian Bradney on a life-raft to take soundings with the pole, the "ROTOITI" floated off and proceeded just as the rain closed in from the west.
We carried on in the murk, closely following the charts of the river prepared for us by Mr. J.D. Bartlett, noting the cairn on the west bank that commemorates Captain Cook's landing in 1769. All went well after Puriri, and we came alongside the rather shaky jetty at Puke and moored at 5.30 p.m. - bang on schedule. We were warmly welcomed by members of the Paeroa Historical Society who had braved the rain to come down and meet us. With the aid of a borrowed ladder we scrambled ashore and made a run for our bus. After a good dinner at the hotel, we were entertained with a wonderful display of slides in the Presbyterian Hall arranged by the P.H.S. We were all tired after our long day at sea, after supper and a short get-together we were pleased to turn-in early. We had a great send-off by the residents on Sunday morning when we cast off at 8.10 a.m., ran up under the Puke Bridge, turned, and headed down-river. Some local small craft escorted us in places, and cameras clicked. We were relieved to find the Gulf in more kindly mood for an un-eventful run home under sunny skies.
(Auckland Maritime Society speakers were: Mr. W. Laxon (Pres.), Mr. C. Furniss (Sec.) and ours, Mr. K. Simpson, representing the Paeroa B.C., and Mr. F. Thorp (our Pres.) who called on Mr. Alan Beck and Mr. Phil Jones to show their special historical and mineral slides. These were augmented by the shipping slides of our guests - all much appreciated by the large audience).