An architect’s impression of what the eventual exhibit may look like.
John Street, right, officially handed the project over to Jim Wintle, left.
A schooner that had been buried underneath the sand at Muriwai since 1865 will soon be housed in a purpose-built museum at the Historic Village in Mangawhai.
The Daring trading vessel was on its way to Manukau when she became a victim of gale-force winds, which threatened to wreck her on the Kaipara Bar.
Her crew managed to pull her clear of the bar but she was nudged ashore some 12km further south where she would remain for more than 150 years.
In 2018, a series of unusually elevated tides unearthed the vessel, which was found to be remarkably preserved.
Soon afterwards, newspapers reported that the wreck was being pillaged with planks and railings being removed.
This caught the attention of outspoken Auckland maritime heritage enthusiast, John Street, and maritime writer, Baden Pascoe, who quickly formed the Daring Rescue Group.
“The rat boy drug dealing gangs in Muriwai had begun taking bits off the ship,” John Street said at a ceremony promoting the project in Mangawhai last month.
“If we had waited to fundraise, it would have been burned or taken to pieces.”
Mr Street underwrote the majority of the $560,000 required to delicately remove the 16-metre (56 foot) vessel from the sand and return it to Mangawhai where she was built.
It was built by Donald McInnes and Donald Hugh McKenzie in 1863 at their Mangawhai shipyard, with the assistance of shipbuilders from the Nova Scotian settlement at Waipu.
The kauri planks and pohutukawa frame have been preserved by the briny sands in which it has been submerged.
Mr Street said the shipbuilders used “Muntz metal”, which contains copper, zinc and arsenic, and stops marine growth, to help keep it intact.
At the ceremony, Mr Street officially handed the rescue project over to Jim Wintle and the Mangawhai Daring Trust.
“I’m so glad it is coming to Mangawhai. We got b*ggered around by the supercity for so long. The town doesn’t know how lucky it is to be outside that boundary of morons,” Mr Street said.
Jim Wintle revealed his vision to build a world-class tourism and education facility that would be a draw to the town.
He says, all in all, the project will need to raise $4.4 million and he hopes the local community will chip in.
The Daring vessel is expected to arrive at the Historic Village in February or March and will be temporarily housed in a building made from four shipping containers.
The Daring Trust is also looking for anyone who might be able to share their expertise or volunteer their time to work on the project.
The owner of the vessel when it was wrecked was Onehunga businessman David Kirkwood.
Thanks to the research efforts of the Daring Trust, at least five of his descendants were tracked down to attend the ceremony last month.
One of them was great-great-great-granddaughter Tina Harris, who moved to Mangawhai 10 years ago and was surprised to learn of her historical connection to the town.
During his lifetime, Mr Kirkwood had one Scottish wife and two Maori wives, and so, for Tina, the event was something of an extended family reunion.