John Blaikie may have wondered what all the fuss was about but the arrival of a dredge in Port Whanganui caused a bit of a stir on Tuesday.

Resident Lynne Douglas called it "another historic moment for Castlecliff."

Both the dredge - and its tow boat - have been here before.

"This is the arrival of the Karere towing the new dredging barge for our port with our current pilot launch" Mrs Douglas said about some photos she took of the arrival.

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"The Karere was, for many years, the port's own pilot launch.

"I understand the barge may be originally a former Greymouth Hopper Barge, that left here for Stewart Island five years ago in December 2011, towed by the tug Tiro 11 for Picton, then on to Stewart Island."

Mrs Douglas said "this has been that same trip in reverse, only this time the tow vessel is the Karere. The Karere was sold years ago and I cannot recall who the present owner is."

Port manager Mr Blaikie said the wooden Karere is now owned by Doug Smith who is the co-owner of the Anatoki, a cargo ship that still visits Whanganui from time to time.


He said the dredge was originally a bottom opening dump barge and was at the port for about "five to six years."

It has now been converted to a hopper barge with a ramp.

New dredge towed into Whanganui yesterday. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
New dredge towed into Whanganui yesterday. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

It was towed up from Bluff, taking three and a half days to get to Picton and then 24 house for the last stage from Picton to Whanganui.

Asked how old it was, Mr Blaikie said "about my age."

It will be used for various jobs and general maintenance at the port from "dredging to driving a pile, to transporting a digger round to moving rocks."

The Karere (light boat) towing in the dredge with the current pilot boat in front. PHOTO/LYNNE DOUGLAS
The Karere (light boat) towing in the dredge with the current pilot boat in front. PHOTO/LYNNE DOUGLAS