It was a stern test, but they got there in the end.
The 23-tonne stern section of the historic Te Whaka
steamship was moved from its Steamer Basin berth in Dunedin
to a new home yesterday.
But, the four-hour operation, which started at 9.30am, was
anything but plain sailing.
''It only cleared the overhead bridge by 100mm.
We had a permit for 5.5m high, but it was about 5.9m, so the
Delta boys came out and lifted some power lines for us,''
Zeal Steel owner Lawrie Forbes said yesterday.
The restoration project would not have been possible without
the help of Port Otago, Titan Cranes and Fairfield Transport,
''Everybody's got right behind it and been really generous.
Fairfield Transport quoted me $500 for this.''
The project had cost ''about $50,000, so far'', but Mr Forbes
said he was motivated by saving a unique piece of history.
''Heritage is so undervalued and we'll never see anything
like this again. There aren't many 1910 steamships about
anywhere in the world. Once it's in the wrecker's yard, it's
gone; it's over.
''Te Whaka was two years old when the Titanic
sank. We can't always restore these things, but we can
preserve them in some form. People can still benefit from
understanding and respecting the ship.''
The stern would be stored at Zeal Steel in Devon St, while a
design was finalised, Mr Forbes said.
''It would be lovely to see it back in Glasgow or Lyttelton
one day, where its history is.''
Te Whaka was built in 1910 by Ferguson Brothers
Shipyard, in Glasgow, for the Lyttelton Harbour Board, where
it served as dredge until 1987.
In 1993, the vessel was bought by the Te Whaka Maritime
Heritage Trust in Dunedin, with the aim of converting it into
a passenger steamer for Otago's 150th anniversary in 1998.
However, fundraising efforts failed and the 324-tonne hulk
sat rusting at the Steamer Basin until late last year, when
it was sold as scrap to Dunedin metal recycling business