History and craftsmanship come together on the water this weekend with a parade of unique boats on Lake Rotoiti.

A variety of boats will be on parade, including wooden kayaks, launches and dinghies made of native timber. The best place for the public to view the parade will be from the reserve opposite Whangamarino School at Okere Falls.

"It's a celebration of the past and a preserving of the heritage of the boats that were built on the lake," according to commodore Grant Cossey of the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Association.

This is the 19th year of the annual parade and the association has always held it close to Waitangi weekend to celebrate this part of the country's heritage.


"We always try to have Maori waka as part of the parade and they lead the flotilla off. Hopefully they will make it this year as it's always fantastic to have them as part of the day," he said.

Many of the boats are made from native timber, as kauri was the timber of choice for boats. Other more unusual vessels included in the flotilla are steam-powered boats and vintage aluminium speed boats.

"The vintage speed boats were made in England and are beautiful little boats," said Mr Cossey.

He said, apart from Lake Taupo, Lake Rotoiti had always had a reputation for being the place for boating and most of the boats were built for leisure and fishing. However, the oldest boat at the parade is Firefly, which was built in 1882. She operated as a ferry in Auckland, taking supplies to farms and islands and later worked at Lake Manapouri.

Anyone wishing to enter their unique boat is welcome. After the public viewing at Whangamarino, the slower boats will cruise around Okawa Bay then proceed to Wairau Bay. Speedboats will go to Otaramarae and on to Wairau Bay, where participants will celebrate with a picnic.


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* What: Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Parade.

* Where: Lake Rotoiti.

* When: Tomorrow 10am-11am.