The story started two years ago when a derelict yacht was found in Evans Bay Harbour, run down after losing its mooring and being wedged on to rocks.

The yacht was purchased by Kāpiti College and the Rakino Pirates were created, a group dedicated to refurbishing the Rakino, a kauri hull boat with teak decking.

Ever since, the Pirates, made up of students of all levels with help from dedicated members of the public, have been working on restoring the Rakino, learning how to look after and refurbish water vessels.

After reading about the Pirates and their work, the group was recently contacted by Hugh Parsons who had a yacht, Desiree, moored in Mana Marina.


"He gave us a call, told us about his yacht and asked if we would like to visit her," said Kāpiti College teacher Clive Stephenson.

Clive and Pirates captain Luke Ferriera along with a band of Pirates went to Mana Marina to see Desiree.

"After looking over the yacht and chatting to Hugh he asked if we'd like her as he'd like to donate her to the Pirates.

"We were a bit taken aback at the offer and high-tailed it back to school in shock.

"Some weeks later we adopted Desiree into our fleet.

"Hugh's generosity was almost overpowering in itself but it didn't end there."

The boat was lifted from the water to be surveyed and antifouled and the Pirates set to work removing barnacles and growth from the hull.

"While the Pirates were at work, Trevor Burgess from CHAT Marine came over and offered to donate all the paint, tools and antifouling that we needed to restore the hull and Mana Cruising Club gave us a special deal on the lifting and hard stand," Clive said.

"It took us a week to complete the job and Colin Steel, the yard manager, put Desiree back in the water."

After successfully cleaning up the boat, Clive said the group is now looking to expand what they do, incorporating boat skills into their sessions such as knot tying, seamanship and safety on the water.

"We intend to teach the students to sail on Desiree," he said, skills which will be helped by a gift of five tickets from Coastguard for some of the Pirates to complete their radio licences.

Meanwhile, the Pirates are still working on the Rakino.

"The Pirates have doubled the ribs and repaired much of the forepeak and we are almost ready to refit the foredeck."

While there is still a lot of work to be done before the Rakino is ready to be re-floated, the group is still hard at work on her.

The Pirates would like to thank everyone for their generosity in helping with Desiree's refit.