The Kestrel Preservation Plan
The Kestrel is Auckland's most significant maritime icon with rich cultural and historical value. For over a century she plied the Waitemata serving generations of New Zealanders. She was the ultimate Edwardian verandah gliding across the jewel of our harbour.
The Kestrel was built by Charles Bailey jnr. at the site of the Tepid Baths, Auckland, and was launched on 14th December 1905.
She was built of 3 inch thick heart kauri, single skin on wooden frames with 1 inch totara sheathing. Measuring 123ft (37M) long x 28.5ft (8.7m) beam x 9ft (2.8m) draft.
The Kestrel is the last of the big double ended Waitemata Harbour Ferries still afloat.
Purpose built for the Devonport run she carried up to 20,000 passengers a day and was also used as an excersion boat.
She was converted from steam to diesel in 1952 and has a Crossley 6 cylinder 450hp diesel engine.
The Kestrel Preservation Society Inc. was formed to own and operate her, and is organising and managing her restoration with the intention of maintaining and using her for the best public benefit.
The society has charitable status and welcomes members and people and businesses who can contribute to funding or have skills and services to offer the project.
The Kestrel Preservation Society aims to restore the Kestrel to be a safe static wharfside exhibit for the benefit of the whole community. We propose that the vessel will be on display adjacent to Voyager Maritime Museum or at some other prominent sheltered berth where there is good public access. We will restore her in such a way that one day in the future she can be repowered and returned to working order and be sailing again on the Waitemata Harbour as an excursion vessel. Due to the costs of undertaking a complete restoration so the vessel can operate again on the harbour, the Society’s aim in the short term is not to repower the vessel but to preserve the hull and superstructure so the public can use the vessel alongside a wharf in a permanent berth. We will ensure that she is well maintained and self funding in operation as far as practicable.
Our Vision and Values
- Restoring the Kestrel to be a safe static exhibit and venue will acknowledge Auckland’s rich maritime heritage and aspirations to be a world class city, valuing our cultural history.
- Investment is required to restore this great ferry back into a condition suitable for the public to board and inspect her.
- We have the desire to complete this project, in reasonable time and with appropriate care.
- We are not for profit. All income will be used to maintain the Kestrel and optimise her use, for the benefit of the community.
- When restored the Kestrel could be used as a unique meeting place, historic café, bar, art gallery, folk and jazz music venue, or for private or corporate functions. At other times the public could have access on a daily basis with maritime history displays on board.
- Education will be encouraged at every opportunity, including history, preservation and restoration. If we are able to restore her to working order it will also help train shipwrights, marine engineers and operations staff. .
- We will work with all stakeholders with a view to establishing mutually beneficial relationships.