A new Heritage Trust has been established to purchase the historic scow Success and restore her as near as possible to original condition as an auxiliary schooner-rigged deck scow.

It is envisaged she will offer heritage experience excursions for 80 to 100 passengers, including tourism, weddings, youth training and special events.

Success (launched as Alwin G in 1925) is one of the last small coastal trading vessels operating from river and sea ports, which she did up until World War Two. The only other original scow still operating today is the beautifully-restored Jane Gifford which operates on the Mahurangi River at Warkworth North of Auckland.

Approximately 130 scows of similar construction once plied New Zealand waters, mostly as ‘trucks of the sea’. Success is one of only three left.

Success,seen here at Auckland,

Scows were built to navigate narrow tidal rivers, estuaries and creeks beside which the country’s early communities settled. Scows were flat-bottomed, to enable them to sit upright when high and dry, making it easy to load and unload freight and stock. The first scow was built in 1873 at Whangateau and the last at Auckland in 1925.

The New Zealand scows were modified, superior versions of American Great Lakes scow-schooners and initially found favour north of Auckland. As time went on and the practical ability of these vessels was realised, they started finding their way around the country, becoming particularly common around Nelson Bays, and later, river ports such as Kaiapoi and Hokitika.

Most of these little vessels were hard used and, if not wrecked, were turned into barges, unceremoniously broken up, or just dragged up onto beaches and left to rot.


Of the three original scows that remain, only the Jane Gifford is fully restored and in survey, the Alma is in private ownership and under restoration as a houseboat, leaving Success as the only other surviving scow suitable for restoration – she has been well-maintained during her working life and substantially reconstructed over the last 30 years.

On Nelson slipway in 2016, was well- maintained during her long working life.


Success was built as Alwin G in 1925 by Davey Darroch at Stanley Bay Auckland for Alan and Winifred Glass. She traded to places like Ngunguru, Parengarenga, and later Whitianga, carting glass sand, firewood, fertiliser, building materials and other general cargoes.

Alwin G had several owners within the Glass family up until 1930 and then was co-owned from 1930 through to 1937.

Renamed Success in February 1937, she was then owned by the Alwin Shipping Company who on-sold her to Jack Hall and Company in 1950.

Sold to Barney Daniels in 1963, Success moved to Wellington to operate as a refuse barge collecting mainly from overseas ships and dumping in Cook Strait. Later the refuse was taken to Evans Bay to be incinerated.

Purchased by Peter Yealands in 1982, Success went to Picton where she was extensively refitted and used for barging pursuits initially, then in the green shell mussel industry. Sold on to Rob Pooley in 1990, Success continued in the mussel industry. Further extensive refits were carried out during this period.

Success was retired and sold to a private owner in 2008 and moved to a Nelson dockyard, where she remains. Success’ 1930s dimensions: 66 x 18.7 x 4.1 feet (20.12 x 5.70 x 1.25 metres).



The only New Zealand scow to have been successfully restored is the Jane Gifford which is very close in size to Success. She was brought back from the brink and has become a huge tourist attraction. Jane Gifford will be used as the template for the restoration of Success (Alwin G).

The other scow currently operating is the Ted Ashby. She is, however, not an original working scow but a replica that operates out of the National Maritime Museum at Auckland. BNZ

Success under sail.


The trust’s goal is to purchase and restore Success to promote the heritage legacy of the New Zealand scows and to represent the scows that served the Nelson region.

The idea for purchasing the Success goes back to the early to mid-2000s but the idea was dropped when Success was subsequently sold to a North Island owner. Success came to light once again in 2015 and it was determined restoring her was a feasible project. The North Island owner also offered a set of engines and various fittings from a sister scow that had sadly disintegrated.

A preliminary survey inspection has confirmed the vessel is extremely sound, there is an offer from a sister group, the Jane Gifford Restoration Trust, to help guide the restoration project, and a conservation plan for Success has also been drafted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE ALWIN G HERITAGE TRUST: Bruce Etwell, 0274944080, P.O Box 3834, Richmond 7020; or Darren Ball, 0210771255, 55 Feldwick Drive, Kaiapoi 7630. www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-save-a-piece- of-nz-maritime-heritage-scow