Rotoiti Wooden Boat Parade

The Classic Wooden Boat Association’s 25th annual boat parade and fun weekend is scheduled for February 4, 2022, Waitangi Weekend. The organisers would love to see as many classic or wooden boats of any type join the parade to make this year’s event the biggest ever. Photos: Waitemata Woodies.

The weekend kicks off on the Friday night with a Captain’s briefing dinner at the VR Rotorua Lakeside Resort. The parade starts in the Okere arm of Lake Rotoiti the next morning.
Organisers expect around 100 boats to parade past the reserve in line, very many of them historical and well-decorated wooden launches with costumed crews, as well as every other type and size of small boat imaginable – sailed, rowed or powered –including some strange ones like the vintage tiny Personal Water Craft.
A real cannon will start the parade, which will hopefully be led by one or more Maori waka.

Following the parade around Okawa Bay, the bigger boats will park up for inspection along the beach at Wairau Bay, where everyone can enjoy a picnic and the fun and games on the beachside reserve.
There will be bobbing for lollies, sack races, egg throwing, tug-o-war and the great Rotoiti Yellow Duck Hunt for the kids. For the adults, the steamboats usually do a demonstration sail-past, and the fast boats show us what they are capable of on their special course a safe distance off the beach.
By mid-morning Sunday, the strangest possible collection of floaty things will gather together on the nearby edge of Lake Rotorua to wind their way for an hour or so down the Ohau Channel to Lake Rotoiti, accompanied by the occasional water-gun fight.
Entry is free to anything that mostly floats, so you will see every type of inflatable toy and raft imaginable, including the legendary floating settee. If nothing else, float the channel in your lifejacket!
For lots of picture albums:
For more information contact Secretary Rachel Jamieson at phone 0272812101

Expect the unusual

Kiwis short of ‘staycation’ ideas should check out the NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show. Held annually since 1999 at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park, the show delivers the quirky – as you’d expect from a boating event 640m above sea level.

Boaties tow their prized originals, restorations and rebuilds from right around the country, and each boat has a story to tell. Event organiser Pete Rainey says visitors relish the opportunity to chat with owners while the boats are displayed on the foreshore.

“You might see a historic Great Lakes speedboat with a bootlegging past or watch as a cup of tea is made in the ‘Windermere kettle’ of an Edwardian steam-launch fired on Vietnamese anthracite. Owners enjoy revealing the stories behind their restorations, such as hunting for kahikatea – New Zealand’s wooden equivalent to fibreglass – to reline a sailing dinghy.”

Judges are always out for a story as well as a good-looking boat, and the mash-up of flashy and humble is a hallmark of the boat show.

Rainey has holidayed here since he was a kid and urges people travelling south to make a staycation of it. “It’s worth booking in for a night or two in St Arnaud, an alpine village set among the glaciated ranges of the national park.

“As well as two days of Glorious Hydromatic Relaxation, visitors can check out the dawn chorus from the successful ‘mainland island’ nature restoration project and tackle the walking tracks of the park. The boat show features displays on land in the morning, a sail past, an afternoon of racing on the lake and an awards dinner on Saturday night.”