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Frank Larking's boat to be restored

Published: 22 May 2018

A beloved children's play boat in Beach Haven is now getting a second shot at life thanks to funding from Kaipatiki Local Board last week.

Last year, the boat, known as ‘Frank Larking's Boat’, was deemed too dangerous for continued use as a floating pontoon in Beach Haven, so it was removed from the water until a decision on its future was made. 

“I’m pleased to confirm this much-beloved boat will be restored as a land-based play item for the children of Beach Haven at Larking’s Landing Reserve,” says local board chair John Gillon. 

“This was one of seven options we had to consider and it was the preferred option of the Beach Haven Placemaking Group, Beach Haven Birkdale Residents Association and Kaipatiki Local Board,” he says.

The cost estimate for its restoration is $150,000, assuming that the boat does not break apart when moved. The local board opted to allocate up to $280,000 to ensure adequate funding is not an issue for delivering this important project for its community.

“It’s a lot of money for sure, however, we don’t expect to need all of it,” says Gillon.

“It’s tagged to the project to ensure that there are no further delays and that nothing derails the project from being delivered,” he says.

All funds not required from the total allocated budget will be returned to the local board for investment in other local renewal projects.

A steering group for the project will soon be established and include various stakeholder and community groups, as well board members Adrian Tyler and John Gillon. 

“We will involve the community as much as possible and utilise the wealth of local skills and knowledge that has been offered to us,” says Gillon.

“This approach will also help to bring down the cost and is a model that we will look to use in future projects.”

Exact timings for the project are yet to be confirmed, but it will be delivered in the next financial year which ends in July 2019.

Beach Haven heritage honoured:

Frank Larking's play boat has been popular with local children for the past 40 years.

When it is restored and in its new location, signage will be installed to explain the heritage of Larking's Landing Reserve and the play boat.

The beach alongside Larking's Landing was created by Frank Larking. He reportedly worked for 10 years carting mud, tyres and sand to build the beach from a rocky shelf in the area.

Larking transported the materials across the Waitematā Harbour in hundreds of trips in a dinghy.

The play boat, a different vessel, was given to Larking to repair by a man at Herald Island, according to records held at The Birkenhead Heritage Society.

It was believed to be a concrete cast of a lifeboat from the HMS Niagara, which was sunk by a German mine in Northland in 1940.  

Frank Larking died 10 years ago this coming October.


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