20 April 2017
Kestrel Preservation Society winds up

At a Special General Meeting in Devonport tonight, the attendees of the meeting moved to unanimously approve the winding up of the society.

The motion was as follows:
"As the Kestrel has now been sold an application be made to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies for the Society to be dissolved"

After the tragic sinking of the Kestrel, the hull and remnants were purchased by BPL Nominees (No.10) Limited.  The society is no longer in a position to participate in any future plans.  The society wish the new owners sincere good wishes in their restoration plans.


The Kestrel Preservation Society

20th April 2017

Today it is appropriate that we wind the Kestrel Preservation Society down.  The vessel has been sold to BPL Nominees (No.10) Limited for $1000.
The new owners have not discussed their plans for the Kestrel with us.  All that we have heard through the grapevine is ….
“the new owners and Development Auckland - Panuku (incorporating the former Waterfront Auckland) are now working on plans to locate Kestrel as part of a development by the Vos shipyard complex. She will be used as a restaurant and possibly boutique accommodation. Kestrel will not be restored to working order as a harbour ferry but will be restored to the appearance she had when she sunk. She will be berthed permanently alongside”.
The only financial debt that we owe is $2900 to Lindsay Subritzky for his work attending to the vessel and keeping her afloat.  We have $1200 cash and I would ask supporters to help pay the $1700 balance.  Please arrange your contribution with Hugh Gladwell who will ensure that Lindsay is paid, as he should be.
The last 6 years have been challenging for the active members of Kestrel Preservation Society and we are grateful to the many people that helped us attempt to save the Kestrel.
I have nearly 4000 emails that are a testament to how difficult it is to get a project like this off the ground.  At the end of the day the we couldn’t succeed because the Auckland Council, CCOs and Maritime Museum would not agree on the final utilisation nor grant the Kestrel a specific berth when she was restored.
They could not even agree to meet to discuss it.  No institutional funder would grant us funding when we would need to subsequently lobby for a berth after we had completed the restoration.  Somehow the concept that berth and utilisation should be agreed before restoring the vessel was beyond decision makers understanding.   It is a sad reflection on the lack of vision and leadership that Auckland has suffered over many years.
In particular we are grateful to Hugh Gladwell for his sage advice and tenacity.
Special thanks is also offered to Kurt Marquart for the many hours he spent tending the vessel.
For the record here is short history of the Kestrel since 2010 …
  • MV Kestrel was unwanted in Tauranga and in danger of being taken out to sea and scuttled.
  • Kestrel Preservation Society formed in October 2010 and granted Charitable Status in March 2011.
  • Kestrel was towed back to Auckland in December 2010 by volunteers using $15,000 assistance from ARC discretionary account (Mike Lee) and berthed at Queen’s Wharf.
  • By mid 2011 the Kestrel committee had decided that the best plan, given Auckland Council’s stated desire to be the world’s most liveable city was to restore her to working order to be used on the harbour for the benefit of the whole community.
  • Kestrel was moved to Silo Wharf to make way for the Rugby World Cup.
  • Kestrel was slipped at Titan Marine in October 2011 and an initial survey by Curly Hayter found her to be in remarkably good condition, given her age.  Waterfront Auckland gave the society about $85,000 to enable this. Kestrel was waterblasted clean and 3 coats of antifouling applied.  Minor under waterline repairs were made.
  • We appointed Dunsford Marine as our Safe Ship Management Company. Another preliminary survey was carried out by Robin Williams of Marine Consulting and Inspection Ltd.  Both Bob Hawkins of Dunsford Marine and Robin are well qualified and have many years of practical experience working with historic vessels.  Robin had surveyed the Kestrel many times before under the old MOT.
  • In November 2012, after many months of trying, we managed to get a pragmatic ruling from Maritime NZ that would allow her to be restored taking into her age into account.  If not for this ruling the Kestrel would have to be treated as a new vessel and impractical to restore.
  • In 2013 we had qualified people estimate the cost of restoring the Kestrel to working condition and back in survey.  This estimate was $7 million.  After discussing the project with many stakeholders it was widely considered to be too expensive to be viable.
  • In mid 2014 we changed the plan to a more realistic plan to restore the vessel as a static exhibit.  The cost of this was estimated to be around $500K depending on configuration.
  • In 2014 the Maritime Museum confirmed that they were unwilling to offer the Kestrel a berth after she was restored.  Waterfront Auckland and Ports of Auckland would also not agree to any specific berth for the restored Kestrel.
  • 12th March 2016 – the Kestrel sank on a still night.  The likely cause was worm damage near the waterline exacerbated by a very porous hull just above the waterline.
  • The Kestrel was refloated on 14th April.
  • The Kestrel was sold to BPL Nominees (No.10) Limited in September 2016.

Mike Alston


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