3 Oct 2016

Historic ferry's 111-year-run not over yet

8:33 pm on 3 October 2016

Auckland's historic ferry, the Kestrel, which unexpectedly sank earlier this year, is to be restored by new owners.

Historic Auckland Ferry The Kestrel sank at Wynyard Wharf this morning.

The Kestrel, after is sunk at Wynyard Wharf. Photo: RNZ / Mohamed Hassan

The ferry served Auckland for decades before becoming a floating restaurant in Tauranga in 2002.

Kestrel was brought back to Auckland in 2010, and efforts were being made to restore her to her former glory when she sank in March.

The 111-year-old ferry was salvaged a month later and has been berthed at Westhaven Marina ever since.

After months of uncertainty over the ferry's future, the Kestrel has been bought and is to be restored.

Auckland councillor Mike Lee, who helped bring the Kestrel back to the city in 2010, said the sale was marvellous news for Auckland's maritime history.

The Kestrel after it sank in March.

The Kestrel after it sank in March Photo: The Kestrel Preservation Society

He said little was known about the new owners, BPL Nominees Limited, but he understood there were some creative plans for the ferry's future.

"She's going to be berthed at Westhaven East next to a commercial building. And she and the building will form a kind of boutique hotel complex. And I understand Kestrel will be made into a restaurant."

Mr Lee said the Kestrel had a long and distinguished history serving Aucklanders.

One of the highlights would have to be bringing the victorious All Blacks team back to the city when they arrived home in March 1906, he said.

Kestrel was a new vessel then and carried the team from their liner Sonoma to the city for a reception at the ferry wharf.

Mr Lee said the ferry would be berthed a short distance from where she was built in 1905 in Westhaven Marina.

It was a story with a happy ending for Auckland, he said.