3 Oct 2016
The future
Mike Lee interviewed by John Campbell.

2 May 2016
Kestrel Afloat Again
At 3pm on Monday, the Kestrel hull was again launched from the Titan slipway. Holes and leaks around the waterline had been patched and the vessel was again able to float on her own with the help of some pumps.
The kestrel now rests at a wharf behind Orams to be repaired.  Future plans are in the works.

8 March 2016
Disaster Strikes Kestrel
At 5:30am this morning the crew of SeaLink noticed that the Kestrel had disappeared from view at it's berth on Wynyard wharf. The only sign of her was about 50cm of a mast above the waterline and a little floating debris. The unthinkable had happened overnight. The previous evening everything looked normal according to neighbours and wharf security.
It is thought that a sudden large breach of the hull had caused the flooding and within hours she was at the bottom.
Salvagers and divers are currently busy recovering pieces of the superstructure to remove from the site. The hull is still on the bottom weighed down by the 17ton engine block while the upper section is floating. The future is unknown at this time.
Within the next 24 hours this site will have photos of the site activity.

Ready for action:

The Kestrel Preservation Society

Hi Kestrel Committee,

We have some good news for you.  The Kestrel has been sold to BPL Nominees (No.10) Limited.

We’ll leave it to the new owners to make an announcement about their plans for restoration and utilisation.  Hopefully it will be something wonderful !!

If you have any questions about the project in the meantime maybe Mike Lee would care to assist you.

We envisage that it will be appropriate to wind up the Kestrel Preservation Society Inc.

We’re very grateful for all of the good people that put so much time and effort into this project.

All the Best,

Mike Alston


View the
preservation plan
document here.

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.

Our Mission

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.

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