The New Zealand shipwreck given up from its sandy grave after 153 years has rolled away on the back of a truck.
The timber hull of the 17m-long sailing vessel, the Daring, whose shroud of sand was wiped away by wind and tide, has this week been transported from its 1865 resting place.
A coastal trader under the control of Captain Phipps, the Daring went aground at Kaipara Harbour's South Head, northwest of Muriwai in a February storm. Efforts to re-launch the vessel in the surf during the following weeks were unsuccessful and the it was claimed by the beach.
In May this year, the hull of what had been a two-masted boat emerged from the sand in an area now part of the Defence Force's Kaipara Air Weapons Range.
A group was soon formed to protect the rare find and now the Daring will be restored in a project expected to cost more than $1 million. The plan is to create a static public heritage display at an as-yet undecided location.
The group says the hull of the Daring has been preserved in its original state by its long years in the sand. It is the most complete vessel of the time because it ran aground in a controlled operation under anchors. It is thought to be the oldest virtually-complete New Zealand-built vessel.
John Street, of the Daring Restoration Trust, said the remains of the schooner's hull had strops slung underneath before being lifted on to a trailer by four diggers. The vessel was driven down the beach to Muriwai, then to Hobsonville, where its restoration work would begin.
Deck timbers and other parts of the vessel had been taken by scavengers, but the group had hired a 24-hour security service whose staff had managed to get all the stolen items back.
Street said a number of artefacts had been found, including a man's boot, a pair of women's shoes, sacks of grass seed, an anchor chain, smoking pipes, and bottles, some with their corks still in place and which "smelt like a polecat".