HISTORY OF THE RATAHI

Jerry Williams, a skipper in Tauranga, transported passengers and goods on a shallow bottomed vessel called the Omokoroa in the early 1920s. One day someone came up with a bright idea that Jerry could take them fishing in the harbour. He agreed, provided they only kept three fish each, and gave the rest to him to cover his expenses... The outing was a raving success and on the second trip, Jerry upped the price to two shillings & sixpence per person, and said they could keep six fish each.  Jerry suspected from the grins on the fishermen’s faces that their sacks far exceeded six fish....News of the trips spread, and on the third trip, he said "five bob and you can keep the bloody fish”....

The history of Omokoroa was not designed for fishing. Jerry saw an opportunity to design & build his own boat, fit for purpose. The O’Rourke Brothers in Auckland were commissioned to build his new boat - the Ratahi. Ratahi means "Day Out Fishing" in Maori. The specifications for the Ratahi were simple - 46 foot in length, a 15 foot beam, and a shallow three foot (500mm) draft. Additionally, high bulwarks, a permanent awning to give cover from sun and rain, and most importantly a toilet, were also requested. 

The Ratahi was built gradually following a down payment of 200 pounds. Jerry sent payments as he could. Eventually the boat was finished in 1939, and a motor added. The city of Tauranga then had its first dedicated charter fishing boat....

A hard working boat, the Ratahi was also involved in rescues off Whakatane,  and operated in the waters around Whakaari, White Island as well. Later, she joined Ocean Blue Charter Fishing Adventures, Tauranga, and was known as "The Fish Whisperer". 

In the Spring of 2018, Trevor Pennington, the current owner & skipper, discovered the Ratahi. He sailed her around NZ, and down to Waiuku, Auckland. Trevor spent four months restoring the Ratahi to pristine condition. And so her history continues...