Preserving our history does not come without major expense. Cost estimates to date are upward of $900,000. While some of this cost has already been funded, we still need to raise a large amount to complete the project.
How to donate
Donate now by direct bank deposit to the trust bank account 030104 0419797 01 record Daring in 'particulars' and your name in 'reference'.
If you would like a tax receipt to assist an IRD tax credit for donations email your name and amount donated to firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a givealittle page for donations.
Thank you to all who have already made such valued contributions toward the long term preservation of the Daring. We look forward to hosting you at the Daring in the near future.
The Daring is a carvel planked schooner built in Mangawhai in 1863 by the young Scottish boat builder Donald McInnes. She was launched for owners John Matheson and John Rattray on 1st September 1863 and moved to Canterbury then the Kaipara Harbour where she operated as a trader along the West Coast ports of the middle North Island. The original owners sold the Daring to David Kirkwood in early 1864. On the 1st of June 1864 the Daring stranded on the south side of the bar at Waikato Heads. She was reported to be a total wreck, but insurance of 500 pound enabled subsequent repair and re-floating. On 21st February 1865 the Daring was aground again in a controlled beaching after being caught in a strong wind on a lee shore. The skipper considered this the better option rather than risking loss of boat and life on the Kaipara Bar. It was this controlled beaching under anchors that has allowed the boat to be preserved in original state and makes her the most complete vessel of the time with many build features that vanished soon after when the coastal vessels changed to the popular flat bottomed scows. Relaunching into a constant surf over following days proved fruitless and the uninsured Daring was abandoned, in tact on the beach, on 9th March 1865. Presumably cargo, masts, spars, sails and light equipment were removed and reused. The boat became buried under the sand dunes where it appears to have remained covered until becoming exposed by receding sand dunes in early May 2018. On first emerging the boat appeared to be fully intact, however over subsequent months most of the decking timber has been removed and some of the beams, including the registration beam, have been souvenired by local beach goers or washed away by the relentless waves at each high tide.
An article in the Lyttleton Times dated 23rd March 1865 provides a full and informative account of the grounding and attempts to refloat the Daring. (scroll down midway through article for the Daring story)
An earlier article in Daily Southern Cross, outlines early information about the rescue involving up to 30 men.
The cutter rigged schooner sail plan was common for coastal trading vessels of the time and allowed for a large number of small sails to be easily hoisted or lowered by a small crew to meet varying conditions and manouvering needs. The Daring was a beamy vessel at 16ft 6in which allowed for large cargo capacity providing good returns for the owner. The lute stern was also a common design of the era for breaking up following seas.
The quality of craftsmanship in the Daring is stunning. The lay and set of her 2 inch planking is as good as any superbly built wooden boat of the later years of wooden boat building. The inner edges of her covering boards are beautifully scribed the full length of her decks as well as her bulwark framing. The deck and interestingly the upper planks were pitched. All joints in her timberwork were done very precisely with an array of techniques for various parts of the ship. Most of her planks are fastened with trenail or trunnel fastenings which is why she has held together so well. Some planking areas and decking are spiked onto the frames with iron dumps. the windlass has been beautifully crafted and was operated by hand with wooden spike handles. The hull was sheathed in Muntz metal to protect from the invasion of marine growth. Sawn planks and timbers have been adzed to shape to fit perfectly in position. Samples of the timbers used have been analysed by Dr Rod Wallace of the Anthropology depatment of Auckland University to identify the timbers used. All planks and minor timbers are Kauri and all framin elements (ribs, Knees and sternposts etc.) are Metrosideros (probably Pohutukawa.
The recovery Process
A Community group, "Daring Rescue", was formed in July 2018 with the ambitious view of salvaging the vessel from the beach and transporting her to storage where a preservation process could be followed prior to ultimately public display for the long term. Interest in the Daring has quickly grown throughout the wider community with interest ranging from the fact that this is likely the oldest virtually complete New Zealand built vessel, to the construction techniques used and builder, skippers, and owners histories.
The process to complete the preservation project was complicated and due to the location of the vessel involved many parties. The initial challenge was ensuring that the Daring remained as in tact as possible. Security firm Black Hawk Security has provided 24/7 security to protect the vessel from wave action (many ropes now hold the timbers together), souvenir hunters, driftwood logs and branches and recently a dead whale washing ashore. The Daring wreck lay within the New Zealand Defence Force Kaipara Air Weapons range which is out of bounds at all times. Despite this many people travelled into the Defence Force zone illegally to view the vessel. The land in the area is owned by the local Iwi Ngati Whatua o Kaipara and part is cropped by Hancock Forest Management. The Daring Rescue group obtained approval from the Iwi, Defence Force, and Forestry Company for access to the boat via forestry roads, dunes and beach.
Brent Shipman of Total Marine Services lead the recovery operation which commenced in the week 3rd Dec 2018. By the 10th of Dec 2018 machinery (4 large and 1 small excavator and bull dozer) was in place at the end of the forest roads ready to mobilise across a rough 6km sand track out onto the beach and south down the coast to where there Daring was trapped in the sand. Over the following three days four strops were pushed under the wreck using a sleucing pump and the vessel was readied for lifting using the 4 big excavators (2 eachside) to gently lift the vessel while the small excavator was use dto pull the sand away from around the vessel. The buldozer helped pull the Daring up the beach to clear the high tide mark, with the excavators holding her up and marching in convoy either side. All of this work had to be carried out through low tides and due to the isolation of the site the recovery team stayed in a tent village they set up and provisioned in the dunes.
At every stage of the recovery assigned archaelogists and archaeologists from Heritage NZ gathered the artefacts from within and around the hull. Overall approximately 100 plastic bags of artefacts with on average 10 items in each bag were collected. Each bag has been filled with water and the artefacts are now in the process of being sorted, photographed, catalogued and having preservation strategies developed.
On the 14th December a Boat Haulage transporter travelled the 43km along the beach from Muriwai to reach the boat before low tide. The Daring was lifted by the excavators and 'walked' down to the hard sand again and was ready for loading by the time the truck arrived. Following a 45 minute turnaround the Boat Haulage truck was travelling back along the sand to Muriwai at 55kph with one very precious cargo on board. The journey from hard sand to road through the soft sand dunes at the Muriwai end of the beach took almost two and half hours using track mats to slowly creep over the sand with the assistance of tractors pulling on each of the truck and trailer units.
The Muriwai volunteer fire brigade washed the boat down and wetted all surfaces to slow drying and by early morning the Daring was off to her temporary resting place in Hobsonville where a crane was used with multiple strops set up to ease her from the truck onto blocks before propping, covering and starting a fresh water sprinkling system to slow the drying process pending further asssessment to develop the next stage conservation plan.
The Daring is of significant archaelogical interest due to its importance in New Zeland boat building and coastal shipping history and it's in tact condition. The Daring was built 6 years prior to the Cutty Sark. Heritage New Zealand has a keen interest in and has been documenting the vessel through observation, photography, laser scanning and sampling to identify timbers used in the construction. Heritage NZ have supported Daring Rescue in working through the process of gaining approval to lift shift and preserve. This has involved developing an excavation and transport plan, obtaining professional conservator (HPFS Solutions) assessment and recommendations for treatment of the timbers and metals and appointing an archeologist to assist in uncovering the hull contents, monitoring the excavation process, recording and documenting observations.
On the 28th November 2018 the assigned archaeologist, Simon Best, and archaeologists from Heritage NZ together with volunteer archaeologists carried out a 'dig' on the interior of the hull (to explore and record the contents of the hull), along the starboard exterior (to explore the props used to support the boat) and the sand around the vessel (to record the anchor and chain condition and location). Two trenches were excavated aft of the private quarters. They contained in situ hessian-like sacks containing grass seed. Other objects that were uncovered include timber plank fragments, timber chips, corroded metal, window glass and slate. The excavation carried out on what was suspected to be an anchor, turned out to be chain only.
Media and community interest
Media interest has been high with several articles published in the NZ Herald, Stuff, Professional Skipper magazine and local newspapers.
Television New Zealand has covered the recovery and footage is available on their website. TVNZ is also working with Daring Recue and filming all steps of the recovery and researching history for a documentary to be aired next year.
Our Facebook page "Daring Rescue" has had a huge level of interest from all over the world.
Watts in a name?
Interestingly Daring was not an uncommon boat name in the 19th century. There was another Daring built at Matakana in 1856. She was 55ft 7in. 35.31 ton built by W R McKay. this Daring was sold to Sydney, however was purchased by Messrs Phillpotts and Baillie of Picton in early May 1863 and returned to New Zealand arriving in Wellington NZ on 27th May 1863. This Daring shared a similar fate and was declared a total wreck at Wanganui Heads 4th April 1865 (Watts Shipping Register).
Some of her journeys
After her launch in ist September 1863 the Daring sailed for Canterbury on the 7th October with 25000 feet of timber aboard. She arrived (via Cabbage Bay) in Heathcote River, Lyttleton on 28th October with a cargo of 19000 feet of timber, 14 doors and 2 stoves. On the 28th October she was advertised for sale in Christchurch. She remained in Lyttleton until the 6th November when she made her way to Wellington without cargo. From newspapers of the time she appears to have plied between Wellington, Lyttleton and Timaru for several months before heading north again. On the 6th December 1863 both the 31 ton and the 35 ton Darings were recorded as being anchored in the river at Lyttleton. Her last record in the South Island appears to be her arrival in Lyttleton on 22nd December 1863.
On the 13th January 1864 The Daring was back in Auckland, after a 13 day run in ballast only, from Lyttleton under capt. McKenzie. Upon arrival in Auckland an advertisement for cargo for her planned voyage to Taranaki was placed in the Daily Southern Cross. She departed for Taranaki with a full cargo on 3rd Feb 1864. The manifest included: 10 boxes, 1 half and 1 qr. Tierce tobacco, G.T.Lethbridge; 3 boxes tobacco, Webster & Brothers; 40 cases wines and spirits, Webster & Brothers; 2 tierces brandy, 57th regimental mess, 7 cases arms and ammunitions. C Brown; 7 cases, order; 14 gnats sugar, 7 boxes tea, 4 half-chests tea, 10 casks stout, 3 casks pearl barley, 7 cases pickles, 3 casks currants, 3 cases kerosene oil, 3 cases sardines, 3 drums colza oil, 66 bags oats, 8 mats rice, 30 bags flour, 10 cases sherry wine, 10 cases port do., 20 cases candles, 3 cases apothecary ware, 30 bags maize, 11 cases liqueurs, 7 cases merchandize, 2 cases iron. Rattray & Matheson agents
Following her arrival in Taranaki she was based at Onehunga and largely plied the central north island ports of Taranaki (New Plymouth), Port Waikato, Kawhia, Raglan and Onehunga (Manukau) until her demise in February 1865.
There is record in the Taranaki Herald that the Daring from Picton and The Daring from Manukau were once again anchored together this time in Taranaki 19th August 1864.
Owners and Skippers
The background to the owners and skippers of the Daring are an amazing story in their own right.
Donald McInnes - boat builder
Donald is a descendant of the migration to New Zealand from the port of Englishtown St Ann's Bay, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. His boat buiding partners D H McKenzie and Haswells also lived and worked in the shipping and ship building industry in St Ann's Bay which was the major port and centre for the North Altantic fishery and timber trade. A wharf in the bay was was operated by D H McKenzie and his cousin William Ross. The migration to New Zealand from Nova Scotia was lead by the Mariners of the area and their relations some of whom were primarily farmers. Effectively they moved a whole family based community to Waipu Northland NZ motivated by several factors: Potato Famine- same as Ireland devastated crops, failures of wheat barley oats, Free trade with the US - Yankee schooners fished out the area causing fishery failure. Loss of preferential timber trade with Britain, and all of the land on Cape Breton Island had been taken up so the next generation was leaving for better promises in Australia and New Zealand.
Born about 1836 (Died 16th June 1918 at Auckland) McInnes arrived in NZ with his widowed mother Flora (nee Shaw) and his 4 siblings (John, Archibald, Norman, and Roderick) on the "Breadalbane" in1858. His father, John McInnes was a builder who passed away in Nova Scotia.
Apparently the family stayed in Auckland, but Donald remained at Mangawhai for some years building boats, including the "Daring". He had built the schooners "Abeona" and the "Three Brothers" in conjunction with Capt D.H.McKenzie prior to that (1861 - 1862). He married Mary Haswell in 1867 - her family had arrived on another of the Nova Scotian migration ships (Gertrude) in 1856.
Captain D H McKenzie - Boat Builder and skipper
Six ships migrated from Nova Scotia. Reverend Norman, family members and his inner circle travelled on the first ship the Margaret. Capt McKenzie built the Ellen Lewis, filled it with relations, many of whom worked for him, and set sail arriving in Bream Bay Northland. Four further ships followed including the Breadalbane carrying the McInnes family. Capt McKenzie skippered the Daring on her travels south to Lyttleton and Timaru and Wellington before sailing her back to Auckland arriving 13th January 1864. While in the south he was presumably endeavouring to achieve a sale of the vessel per the advertisement in the Press,Vol III, issue 310 28th October 1863
Kirkwood, based in Onehunga and owner of seven coastal trading ships (Abeona, Excelsior, Daring, Fairy, Little Fred, Stanley, and Thistle), purchased the Daring from owners Mcinnes, Matheson and Rattray some time after 3rd Feb 1864 when the daring sailed with a full cargo from Auckland for Taranaki under Capt. King. Kirkwood employed many skippers on the Daring during his short period of ownership. Captain King was skipper when the Daring was wrecked at Waikato Heads in early June 1864. He remained skipper for a time after but by Sept 1864 had been replaced by Iverson then Tworsen late Sept 1865. By late November 1865 skippering alternated between Campbell and Davies , then Davies from Dec. 1864 until mid Feb 1865 when the helm was passed to Capt Phipps for his first trip as skipper from Onehunga to Taranaki then the fateful final voyage to Manukau ending on Muriwai Beach. Kirkwood lead the unsuccesssful attempted recovery of the Daring from Muriwai Beach.
Kirkwood was certainly an adventurous character who was always growing his knowledge and skills. At 19 years old he arrived in Adelaide from Liverpool on 22nd November 1854 on the vessel Dirigo with two other passengers a Jane Kirkwood (McKay) aged 25 and a 2 year old called Jane. His occupation on the ships register was listed as miner. Kirkwood arrived in Auckland New Zealand from Sydney Australia on the schooner Gazelle on Sept 12th 1857. About to turn 22 years old David next appears in the Jury list in the New Zealander of 13th Feb 1858 as a draper of Wyndham Street.
By the mid 1840's the port of Onehunga was rapidly growing with increasing numbers arriving on migrant ships, arrival of the Fencible soldiers in 1847 and in 1858 the first wharf being built. David Kirkwood obviously saw opportunity in the area and in the DSC 7th Feb 1860 he appears as a general dealer in the Onehunga Jury List and by Sept of that year Kirkwoood is recorded as a store keeper and letting agent for several local properties and stables in Onehunga.
David Kirkwood's first child Pepe Kaue Kirkwood was born to an unnamed maori woman in Mangere in 1860(Died 1918 in Papakura).
The 1861 electoral roll for Onehunga records Kirkwood as living in George Street Onehunga. From December 1861 onward he was advertising in the local Newspapers to fill freight and passenger spaces on the cutter Thistle and his other vessels.
On 24th November 1862 David Kirkwood married Jane Shaw at Onehunga. Their first child Lizzie Kirkwood was born in Onehunga on 2nd July 1863 (Died 25th March 1945 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas, USA). Their second child Sarah (Sallie) Kirkwood was born in Onehunga on 11th July 1865 (Died 27th Dec 1887 in Trinidad Rural, Las Animas, Colorado, USA) Their third child Georgina Kirkwood was born in Onehunga, the month after Kirkwood departed Hokitika for San Fransisco in his vessel the Stanley, on 1st April 1867 (Died 8th Jan 1932 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas, USA). Their fourth child John Campbell Kirkwood was born in Ardrie, Scotland on 22nd August 1875 (Died April 25th 1962 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas, USA). Their fifth child Robert Stanley Kirkwood was born in Larne, Antrim, Northern Ireland, o the 28th November 1878 (Died 2nd Sep 1920 in Garland, Arkansas). Their 6th child was born in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas on 13th Jan 1881 (Died April 23th 1940 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas). Their 7th child was born in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas on 7th October 1883 (Died 9th Aug 1949)
By mid 1863 there was concern that Onehunga may come under attack from the Maori people. Local Militia and volunteers werre appointed under the Colonial Defence Office to support the local fencibles. Ensign Kirkwood was appointed Lieutenant in the No.1 Company "Onehunga Rifles Volunteers" on 22nd July 1863 a position he resigned from on 14th March 1864.
With the opening of the West Coast goldfields in the mid 60's Kirkwood was the first to open up trade between the ports of Onehunga and Grey River with his increasing fleet of coastal trading vessels. In September 1866 his fast sailing schooner Excelsior was lost while under tow by steamer leaving port Waikato.
March 1867 saw David Kirkwood and a captain Clarke departed from the port of Hokitika for San Francisco in his vessel the Stanley. Kirkwood had withdrawn thousands of pounds of gold sovereigns from a Bank at Hokitika before departing, and left behind unpaid creditors including a secured debt on the Stanley. An earlier ship departure, the Sanglier, from Hokitika under Captain Clarke went missing and was presumed lost.
The Sanglier arrived in San Fransisco some time around April 1867 before departing to Yokohama where a Japanese troupe (the Great Dragon troupe of 24 Japanese performers) boarded for a return trip to perform in San Fransisco. The columnist newspaper of 14th June 1867 records the arrival of the Sanglier under captain Clarke in San Fransisco, but the West Coast times suggests that the vessel is actually the Stanley. Kirkwood had taken advantage of circumstances to falsify his papers and identity of the vessel. The vessel then made a return voyage from San Fransisco to Yokohama under the name Stanley. The Stanley was arrested on arrival in Japan and Kirkwood disappeared. A telegram in the Sydney Morning Herald 26th October 1868 advises that the schooner Stanley arrived in Melbourne from Singapore on the 9th October 1868 and reminds readers that this is the vessel in which the notorious Kirkwood of Onehunga effected his escape from the Colony. The Stanley may shortly be expected to arrive at Auckland.
A record of David Kirkwoods travels after disappearing in Yokohama are not clear however given his fourth, fifth 6th and 7th children were born in Scotland (1875), Ireland (1878) and Texas (1881 & 1883) respectively and that he appears in the census taken 12th June 1880 in 18th Prencinct, Bexar, Texas was clearly gobally mobile. He also appears in the British Columbia voters list of 1898 as living at 80 Douglas Street, Victoria City, occupation mining angineer. His wife and earlier children presumably rejoined him some time between 1868 and 1874.
To complete the cycle of life, David Kirkwood returned to New Zeland in 1910 where he died in 1913 aged c.78.
Kirkwood assisted some interesting passengers to escape custody as evidenced by the below extract from Early NZ Books
1925 - Morton, H. B. Recollections of Early New Zealand - CHAPTER V, p 57-74
The foregoing remarks on the escape of the Maori prisoners were published, as one of a series of extracts from the present work, in the N.Z. Herald of 16th July, 1923, and called forth a number of interesting letters from persons old enough to remember the incident. The only one which threw any fresh light of importance on the subject was one by Mr. D. B. Wallace, which is of exceptional interest, and fully confirms my surmise that Sir G. Grey was a party to the return, to their homes, of the escaped prisoners.
Mr. Wallace states that he was at the time a clerk in the employment of a Mr. D. Kirkwood, of Onehunga, who owned several small schooners running between that port and various small places on the West Coast. One of these vessels, the Excelsior, left Onehunga for Kawhia, with the owner as a passenger and en route stopped at Whatipu, on the North Manukau Head, to embark a number of Maoris, the exact number he was unable to state, for Kawhia, where she arrived next day, anchoring just inside the south head at a Maori village called Te Maeke. He states that "there was great rejoicing at the return of their friends and relatives, and Hau Hauism being rampant, dancing round the pole continued till a very late hour of the night. The tohunga, or priest, would ask in English, "Who likee speakee the wind?" and some unfortunate would jump up and run round the pole till he sank exhausted or in a fit, when the tohunga would interpret his ravings.
Some of the leading Maoris advised Kirkwood to get away and never to come back, as they would not guarantee his safety, so early next morning the Excelsior left.
In about a week or ten days after Kirkwood's return I went to Government House and received from Sir George Grey's secretary a cheque for the trip of the Excelsior."