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Publishing • Production • Communications
  • Writer's pictureSallly Marden - Mahurangi Matters

Flotilla of mini-boats berths in Matakana

Scores of miniature marine masterpieces sailed into Matakana School on Queen’s Birthday weekend for a spectacular two-day model boat show.

At least 140 perfectly rendered scale replicas were displayed in the hall, while the school pool was transformed into a mini-America’s Cup sailing course, complete with tiny lighthouse, buoys and cute copies of local wharves, boat ramps, jetties and pontoons.

The two-day show was the brainchild of Matakana enthusiast Allan Harkin, who has built 15 scaled-down wooden classics over the past 12 years and sails model boats on a local lake with mates every Sunday.

However, he says he couldn’t have made it all happen without four other people – Geoff Hoyle, Grant McLachlan, Louise Riddell and Kim Scott.

“I might have had a good idea, but then I was fortunate enough to get a group of people who knew what they were doing and made it happen,” he said. “I didn’t run it, I got people together who could. I’m very appreciative of the good team around me.”

The show ended up being bigger than envisaged, not only due to the team’s enthusiasm, but also because more local model makers were keen to join in.

“Once people started to hear about it, I had people ringing me and saying they’d like to take part,” Harkin said. “We ended up with about 15 different makers.”

Their combined creations resulted in an extensive display of vessels of every shape, size and vintage, from tiny wooden row-boats up to giant naval frigates, and from three-masted galleons to contemporary racing craft. Each boat had its own information label and there were large panels detailing such things as the history of (full-sized) Matakana boatbuilding, naval ships and New Zealand yacht racing displayed in the school hall.

Outside at the pool, Grant McLachlan and ex-America’s Cup boatbuilder Murray McDonnell kept the crowds entertained racing their classic cup scale models around the course.

Harkin said all the efforts paid off, with an enthusiastic response from a steady stream of visitors over the weekend.

“I’m very pleased with how it all went, I’ve been getting some good feedback,” he said. “Hopefully there will be another show sometime in the future.”

Harkin added that he was grateful to ITM Matakana, New World Warkworth, Constellation Hobbies, Matakana Market Kitchen, Matakana Kitchens & Joinery and Rhodes for Roads for generous sponsorship and support.


For this project, Grant McLachlan as the curator of the exhibition, responsible for the publishing and production of all promotional material and the presentation of the exhibits. Here is a slideshow that provides examples of the works provided:


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