SummerReplay

This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on March 04, 2019

An 18m-long old lady of the river has made her stately progress through the streets of Whanganui.

The Otunui, built in 1907, and bought by Bridge to Nowhere Lodge owners Joe Adam and his partner Mandy Jackson in 2015, was moved to a St Johns Hill property on Monday where it will be restored.

The diesel boat carried passengers and freight between Pīpīriki and Taumarunui for more than 40 years, before sinking in a flood in 1949.

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She's been resuscitated twice since then, both times by Barree Sproule. She was first restored and used on the Waikato River and Lake Okataina, then caught fire and sank near Taupo.

The Otunui has been moved from Q-West to a St Johns Hill property. Photo/ Laurel Stowell
The Otunui has been moved from Q-West to a St Johns Hill property. Photo/ Laurel Stowell

After her next restoration she was used on the Waihou and Wairoa rivers, until her Tauranga owner put her up for auction in 2015.

Adam and Jackson saw the Trade Me auction and bought her on impulse, for $26,500.

They moved her to Q-West Boat Builders at Castlecliff and were half finished with her latest restoration when the business needed more space and she had to be moved.

"We've stripped the whole thing right out and we are just putting it back together," Adam said.

The latest move is to Jackson's property in Kawau Pl, near Virginia Lake.

When the restoration is completely finished the boat will be taken back to Pīpīriki, and could take trips between Pīpīriki and Bridge to Nowhere Lodge.

The 18m vessel weaved it way through Whanganui streets. Photo/ Laurel Stowell
The 18m vessel weaved it way through Whanganui streets. Photo/ Laurel Stowell

It's an exciting project for Adam, who wanted the Otunui back on the Whanganui River.

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"It's part of the river. It's the history of the river - one of the original boats that was first on the river."

He's not quite sure how the Otunui will eventually be used.

"We will get it up to the lodge and work it out there," he said.