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Steam crane makes way for Hobson wharf improvements

Published: 23 November 2018

New Zealand Maritime Museum is preparing to permanently remove and dismantle the floating steam crane Rapaki, currently moored at Hobson Wharf. The move will take place in consultation with marine engineers Titan Marine.

The decommissioned heritage crane has been a static display feature at the Wharf for over twenty years and acts as a breakwater. Due to its poor condition, it has been closed to the public for close to a decade.

According to NZ Maritime Museum Director Vincent Lipanovich, construction for America’s Cup has brought the timing to exit Rapaki forward.

“This has been a very difficult decision and one we did not take lightly,” he said.

“As kaitiaki (guardians) of this heritage vessel, the Maritime Museum and Regional Facilities Auckland have explored all other practical options to save her.

“In her current condition Rapaki is uninsurable and the costs to restore her are prohibitive. As well as the estimated cost of up to $10 million for full restoration of the whole vessel, there would be significant maintenance required every ten years.

“While it is not practical to save Rapaki in her entirety, we are committed to meeting our heritage obligations and our duty of care to retain and store what we can for a future industrial maritime display. We are also working with the Heritage Trust of Wellington, the Steam Engine Society and the Toroa Society to identify items of interest.”

Lipanovich puts the estimated cost of exiting Rapaki up to $1.2m ̶ this includes the cost of a temporary breakwater to protect the marina.

As part of the America’s Cup Hobson Wharf extension, a permanent breakwater will be built at the end of the wharf – to be completed as part of the AC36 programme of works.

This is set to be a major improvement for the marina which is home to several heritage vessels.

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