Tikinui / Tiki History – Te Kinga, Lake Brunner



Tikinui & Tiki history te kinga lake brunner west coast new zealand
The “Tikinui” was the second large vessel used by Lake Brunner/United Sawmills to haul logs to the mill. The first was the “Tiki,” slightly smaller, and steam powered. There may well have been earlier attempts to haul logs with small craft. Built right here at Te Kinga, 39ft long, 12ft beam, and with a draught of 6ft. Constructed of kauri and jarrah, she was launched in 1938. 
The Tikinui approaching the punt, Hohonu. Hohonu boarding house and boilers.
The timber yards at the the Te Kinga railway station, as I remember as a small boy. A small petrol-powered tram tractor, driven by Mr Eric Velenski (Snr), was used to pull sawn timber to the railway siding. There it was stacked onto wooden “skids” awaiting loading onto railway wagons. Dry dock, about 300 metres left of the road end at Iveagh Bay. I took this shot prior to 1963, before she left the lake. The old steel rails are still visible here at this site. Te Kinga Hill in background.

The “Monica” was another steam-powered vessel used for log hauling on Lake Brunner. Here, she appears to be at Irishmans Landing. The punt, centre-right, which the “Monica” towed. Several logs are visible, lower left, on the slipway at Moana.


My great-uncle, Bob Abbott, started work for United Sawmill at Te Kinga around 1942. and worked for them around 8 years. He worked mainly with Ralph Dickson, skipper of the Tikinui, which towed the rafts of logs across Lake Brunner to the sawmill at Te Kinga.

The Tikinui usually departed Te Kinga at 8am, and wa back with the first load about 1pm. The barge had booms either side, with chains attached to logs. The usual log consisted of 20-30 logs, depending on size, mostly rimu, or red pine. The trip out, some 8 miles, took around 45 minutes, and around an hour and a half on the return, depending on the load.

The boatmen lived at Te Kinga, and about 10 married men plus 20 single men lived on the other side of the lake where the logging operations were conducted.

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