The Matakana Punt “Betty M”

For early settlers in this area any journey, whether it was for business or pleasure, was most likely by water due to the lack of roads. For this reason, having a boat was probably more important than owning a horse. Although punts can be found in many places each design has been developed to suit local needs. The Matakana punt is a variation on the Mahurangi punt. Due to our shallow waters and mudflats, it suited both family and hefty work reuquirements

The original owner of this punt was Mr Ted Woodcock of Woodcocks Road, Warkworth.  Ted owned a farm and bush property at Glen Eden Creek, Matakana.  Timber for the punt was cut and milled on this property then air dried for 12 months.  The builder was Mr Duncan Knaggs of Matakana.  As a ship builder he worked for Mr David M Darrock who had a ship yard in Omaha.

The shape was similar to others built at Matakana and to similar craft built at Mahurangi except the stern was much broader and at 20ft, was much longer.

The boat was built in 1918 and used for about six years.  It was then stored for twelve years under a galvanised roof over a small tidal creek. It was also rested on cross-bearers which allowed the spring tides to reach it.

Mr Harry Parry bought the boat in 1936 and had it transported to Dawsons Creek by Mr Bill Schedewey’s truck. Mr Parry named the boat “Betty M”. Betty was Reg Morris’s daughter, who, with her sister and father had accompanied him to collect it. 

Harry Parry died in 1977 and the boat went to Eric Barker.  Eric stored it in the Red Shed at Puka Puka landing and later gave it to the Perkinson family. It was eventually given to the Warkworth Museum.