What happend to the Hawea Cup

For what it’s worth, next year being a year full of anniversary’s relating to the WWI, from a ex communicators point of view, it is also the 50th anniversary of a group of 6 young lads from CS 82 (trainee Comms ratings from the Achilles Divison at HMNZS Tamaki) who in 1965 ( around April/May) achieved a first in the RNZN. This was worth challenging for, and winning of the rowing race for 27 foot naval whalers – the Hawea Cup. A training division crew had never taken part in this race (so we were told) let alone put a challenge for it. It was always frigates, and/or cruisers that raced for it .

We became the first Training Division crew ever to win it and this was mainly due to our coach –Chief Shipwright Rosie Hawthorne and our then instructor PO Yeoman Herb Anscombe.  We then achieved another first when in August 1965, now down at Philomel and training at North Head, the same crew defended the Cup and won it for a 2nd time. This time we were trained by Chief Sol Whaanga and I do not think this feat was ever repeated by any other training division crew.

I have attached a photo of the crew when we won for the 2nd time and it is sad to see that two of those crew are no longer with us and that is Butch Kingi and Kerry Brooker – both great guys, but the rest of the crew are still alive. Blackie Blackmoore now lives in Oz, Frank Lewis is up Northland way and Murray Nash was living in the Wellington area I think).

Hawea Cup Second Time Winners 2 Aug 65

Standing: Kerry Brooker, Richard Blackmore , Murray Nash
Kneeling: Frank Lewis, Neill Dorset, Butch Kingi

I have always wondered what ever happened to that Cup. I had heard that the Cup race became a forgotten affair over the years and I think was last raced for back in the 80’s but no-one seems to have any idea what happened to such a great event or Trophy. For something that had been around for a long time before we joined up, to carry such a history and now to be forgotten seems a bit sad. It would be nice to know what happened to the Trophy . If you were able to let me know sometime an answer to that question it would be nice to know.  Neill Dorset

Murray Nash added – I remember we won it as trainees at Tamaki, and a few weeks later we were posted to Philomel as ships company. So, we immediately put in a challenge and of course Tamaki fielded a new crew, and we creamed them.  Great memories.  We once rowed across the harbour on sports afternoon, tied up at the wharf and someone raced to the bottle shop and picked up some supplies, and we then went and tied up to a harbour bridge pylon and had a relaxing time. However, an ex Admiral or some high rank was watching us through binos and potted us to Philomel. So, next sports afternoon we had to row back and forth just in front of Philomel.  Thanks Murray.

 History of the HAWEA Cup – At the Mediterranean Fleet’s annual regatta at Malta in 1950, the whaler crew from HMNZS HAWEA won the premier pulling (rowing) race, for the Hamilton Cup. On the ship’s return to New Zealand the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander T.W. STocker, RN, donated the Hawea Cup to the Royal New Zealand Navy. It became the prize for the annual whaler pulling race until whalers were phased out of service in 1990.

HMNZS ships HAWEA and TAUPO were serving on exchange with the Mediterranean Fleet at this time and had won several trophies at an earlier fleet regatta in Marmarice in Turkey. When HAWEA won the Hamilton cup it was the first occasion in which the crew from the shore base, HMS ST ANGELO had been beaten.

Last raced/presented on Auckland Anniversary day 1990, Won by HMNZS MANAWANUI. Blue Book number 1226/6, Defence Negative number GN 1724/91.  The cup is currently held by the Naval Museum.

Capture

 

Frank Lewis provided another photo of the winning crew and this information – Being one of the crew I have a few memories of not only the training but of the racing for the Hawea Cup. I was bowman (being the skinny one), Neil Dorset was the coxswain, Butch Kingi or Murray Nash were stroke with Kerry Brooker and Richard Blackmore the remainder of the crew. As bowman I had the smallest oar and the prime position in the whaler plus I was always first over the line. I never did work out why Neill Dorset became coxswain. Perhaps being the only bunting had something to do with it – the sparkers being the intellects of the Comms branch were the engine room. I don’t know how we got selected for the crew but I do remember some great experiences while training.

A couple of things I do remember was which whaler to have. When we went down to Torpedo Bay were the whalers where moored, you could see that they sat at various heights in the water. I always remember No 2 sat very high and that was the whaler to get and I remember in the drawing of the whalers we got No 2. I believe that No 2 was the most recently built whaler, built by the dockyard apprentice shipwrights.

On race day we where towed to the start line – six whalers in a line – behind the liberty boat, Taharoa. Quite an exercise to get 6 coxswains to all steer in the same direction and in a straight line.  Rotoiti was meant to have had a gun crew but in the end it was CS82, the Comms training class of 1965 that won it twice and won it well. I would be interested to know if the trophy was engraved with the winners name on it.

I guess we will never see the current navy racing whalers ever again. I sometimes wonder what happened to those whalers and of course the big brother the 32′ cutters. The skill of the seaman who handled a whaler as the ships sea boat was to be admired and they did it in plastic sandals, shorts and a life jacket. No crash helmets in those days.  (Webmaster Note – The whalers were disposed of to sea cadet units, the Maritime Museum and the Naval Museum is holding two for prosperity.  The 32′ cutters were all disposed of with the exception of one which is held by the Naval Museum.)

Hawea Cup Winners 15 May 1965 Resize

L – R  Rosie Hawthorn, Murray Nash, Frank Lewis, Richard Blackmore,  Keith Walsh, and Butch Kingi

From Neill Dorset –  That is the photo of our 1st win at Tamaki. The person holding the cup is Chief Shipwright “Rosie” Hawthorne our coach and it was taken on the Training Jetty in Philomel . If my memory is still correct the ship behind is the old “Kaniere”.

He had taken my place as cox’n of the crew for the day of the race. I had forgotten that I had been the Royal Marker, who know the guy who marches out and “Dresses the Guard” in the Royal Guard. If Frank remembers it , I had had my left fingers sliced open by a bayonet by some silly bugger the week before and he had had his bayonet sticking out behind his back and when the ‘dress right’ order had been completed and our hands came down, mine was caught on this guys bayonet and was neatly skewered!!!!! I can vividly remember being verbally abused by Joe Murray (then just a GI) who accused me of being ‘sloppy’ in getting my hand down ….until he and Chief Ihaia saw the blood pooling on the ground!!!!!!!   – because my left hand /fingers had been stitched and bound up I would not have been able to hold the tiller let along steer /control the whaler…. hence the Coach stepping in to crew the team for the race.

The 5th person is Keith “Wally” Walsh who was in the original crew but who was replaced for the 2nd time round win by Kerry Brooker.  I have a feeling that Wally left the Navy after we graduated from Tamaki but before we finished our training in Philomel. I can remember he came from the West Coast and I have a feeling his father or mother was pretty ill after we came back off our leave. I can’t recall seeing Wally after Dec 1965 so wouldn’t know where he is.

It is amazing how something like a photograph can jog memories all these years later. Thanks for keeping the photo all these years Frank L – what else have you got in your box of photos?

Frank R – thanks for following up on this stuff. It’s good to get things ‘correct’. I had had a funny feeling with the photo I had sent you that there had been someone-else in the original crew and was missing and thought of Wally Walsh but was not sure at the time.

Thanks and keep the Blog going because it keeps reminding us of what a great life (and experiences) we had back then.

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29 Responses to What happend to the Hawea Cup

  1. Murray Nash says:

    Hi, it was Richard Blackmore. I

  2. Neill Dorset says:

    Gidday Murray, and I think that officer was the ex Commodore Valiant!!! – good row that day though!! Thanks Frank for letting me know what happened to the cup and its current whereabouts. Blackie now lives in Brisbane and we met up last month to celebrate our 45th w.annvsry. Pity the remaining crew couldn’t have a reunion and try our hand at rowing the whaler again!!! Too often trophies get forgotten about over the years, lie around gathering dust and then get discarded. Its a pity the Navy can’t resurrect the Cup and race for it with different craft and keep a fine tradition going….or is tradition a thing of the past these days??
    Regards Neill

  3. Jim D says:

    Vallant – Valiant was the name of a cartoon pigeon…

  4. Tony Marsden says:

    That’s the bloke!
    Joffrey Paul Sinton Vallant

  5. Jim D says:

    Vallant wouldn’t have presented the Cup in 1965 as he was skipper of Royalist which was on the Far East Station that year.

    • gunther says:

      from memory the commodore back then was a pom who had a little dog that always went with him, he used to come down to the intership and watch and sit on his shooting stick with the dog on a lead.

  6. Jasper Robertson says:

    Raced for the Hawea Cup quite a few times over the years. On Kiama (Murray Charles Verran) we were dropped into the ocean daily and the ship then steamed off over the horizon leaving the whaler to catch up. You got the weight Jim Lyons, Kiama is a single operator ship until I get back.
    They were carried as a ship’s boat and at sea was readied davits slewed outboard ready for the whaler to be lowered and slipped (Robinsons Disengaging Gear) while the vessel was still underway (by the book at between 3 and 5 knots).
    A bow rope was run to the ship and the tiller was lashed so that the boat would steer away from the ships side when it hit the water. You readied oars, unlashed the tiller, pulled the pins on the RDS, and slipped the bow rope and gave way together.
    Kiwi crews were without peer at doing this. When serving in the FES they would be away and pulling hard while the rest of the fleet was still getting onto the water. Perhaps the RNZN ignored the 3-5 knots thing.
    You might remember the call ‘away seaboats crew”. And later ‘Clear lower deck to raise seaboat”, PO of the watch or Buffer calling “Marry the falls, heave roundly”.
    Our seaboat was holystoned and polished to a state of perfection ready for FO2FEF inspection when during a RAS a fitting not made properly parted and topped up the seaboat with sticky black FFO. Can’t remember if the Buffer and Chief Stoker were in the same mess.
    A 27 foot Whaler could also be sailed. To sail a 27ft whaler you rigged was known as a Montague rig (some RN Admiral), aka a yawl, and on the right day could go like a cut cat.
    The famous RNZN sailing cup was the Diomede Cup. Held annually around the inner islands of the Gulf it was for whalers and 32 ft cutters. In latter years the 3 in 1 whalers were included but they sailed like a dog, as should be expected from something designed by a committee.
    I skippered my first Diomede Cup whaler as a 16-year-old down the Rock and continued to race them until they were taken out of service.
    In the latter years they were raced under sail from Russell to Auckland.
    Word is that the RNZN Museum is going to open up the boat ramp workshop by the jetty to the public next year. Suggestion is that the whaler we know they have will be on display.
    A group of ex RNZN Sailing Club members is gathering information for the display.
    Perhaps we should include the Hawea Cup participants.

  7. Neill Dorset says:

    It is amazing what you find out about things when you put something into this Blog. I think its great and thanks Jasper for all that info – I was not aware of those other bits and pieces and Jim- re your comment about Vallant- You are probably correct about him not presenting the trophy in ’65, or being the one who ‘potted us’ with him being on the Royalist as he was still CO when we joined as Trainees Dec 65/Jan 66 when the ship came home from the FE. So I am now not too sure who that officer would have been except he was up in the Officers area along Calliope Rd at the time and he was a short fellah so I assumed it was Joffre-sorry my error!
    Good idea about the display Jasper but not sure about the participants unless the Navy wants to ‘shout’ me and & Blackie ( along with any other participants) a trip back to take part! Yea right I thought so!!!
    Regards
    Neill

  8. Geoff Brindle says:

    I rowed in Black Prince’s crew in the early to mid 50’s and can proudly say we were unbeaten in all fleet races we entered. Cant recall us ever being beaten. Beat the Poms, the Aussies and the Canadians. As well as being well trained the general view was that our whalers were better built and lighter. Can someone tell me whether they were actually built in New Zealand or did they arrive with these ex RN ships? I can attest to the fact they were bloody heavy to pull up on the beach at Motuihe, though not as bad as a cutter.

  9. Jim D says:

    Was the Hawea Cup also known as the race for Cock of the Fleet, or was it a different race? When Waikato was in refit 1970/71 after the Engine Room fire, there was a Cock of the Fleet race in 1971. Waikato entered two teams including one from the Comms crew. The winner of these races was entitled to hoist a cut-out of a rooster (rather than saying the “other” word) up the Foremast.

  10. John Titmus says:

    Done some research on who was Comauck at the time and came up empty handed but re jogging my memory I seem to remember it may have been Commodore Roe Royal Navy

  11. Frank Lewis says:

    Being one of the crew I have a few memories of not only the training but of the racing for the Hawea Cup. I was bowman (being the skinny one), Neil Dorset was the coxswain, Butch Kingi or Murray Nash were stroke with Kerry Brooker and Richard Blackmore the remainder of the crew. As bowman I had the smallest oar and the prime position in the whaler plus I was always first over the line. I never did work out why Neil Dorset became coxswain. Perhaps being the only bunting had something to do with it – the sparkers being the intellects of the Comms branch were the engine room. I don’t know how we got selected for the crew but I do remember some great experiences while training.
    A couple of things I do remember was which whaler to have. When we went down to Torpedo Bay were the whalers where moored, you could see that they sat at various heights in the water. I always remember No 2 sat very high and that was the whaler to get and I remember in the drawing of the whalers we got No 2. I believe that No 2 was the most recently built whaler, built by the dockyard apprentice shipwrights.
    On race day we where towed to the start line – six whalers in a line – behind the liberty boat, Taharoa. Quite an exercise to get 6 coxswains to all steer in the same direction and in a straight line.
    Rotoiti was meant to have had a gun crew but in the end it was CS82, the Comms training class of 1965 that won it twice and won it well. I would be interested to know if the trophy was engraved with the winners name on it.
    I guess we will never see the current navy racing whalers ever again. I sometimes wonder what happened to those whalers and of course the big brother the 32′ cutters.
    The skill of the seaman who handled a whaler as the ships sea boat was to be admired and they did it in plastic sandals, shorts and a life jacket. No crash helmets in those days.

  12. Frank Rands says:

    All, I can confirm that the Commodore Auckland was Commodore R.E. Roe RN appointed 10 Jun 1964 – 1 Mar 1966. He was replaced by Commodore L G Carr who I am sure most communicators will remember.

  13. Chook says:

    I seem to recall that CS65 won a whaler pulling race from Narrow Neck to Torpedo Bay in 1964. Now I don’t know if this was the Hawea Cup or something else but I DO know that Algie Walton was livid that a bunch of Communicators had beaten his seaman boys. I think the crew was made up of Bob Ohlson, Don Mihaere, Lionel Tuhiwai, Derek Lawford and me. Don’t remember who the coxn was, although it could have been one of the above mentioned.

  14. Jim D says:

    Derek Lawford was probably the ‘Swain – he was the smallest. Yes, Communicators were good at pulling, except in one instance during a pre-Armilla patrol in 1982. The Canterbury After Chiefs were invited onboard RFA Grey Rover for a Sports Afternoon in the POs Mess in appreciation for looking after their PO Steward. This gentleman was a dour Scot who was dubbed Jock by us and had been flown over to Canterbury after he had taken ill. He spent about a week with us and slept in the sickbay but enjoyed the hospitality of the After Chiefs which was right next door. Anyway, the time came for us to go over to Grey Rover to participate in cards, darts, pool and even bathe in their swimming pool (a proper one – not like the circular canvas one we had on the quarterdeck). Had an enjoyable day and Canterbury’s whaler came over to pick us up. Climbed down the Jacobs Ladder, sat in the boat and the engine wouldn’t start. The coxswain radioed back to the ship to this effect and the XO said that the Chiefs would have to row back. After several dismal attempts of tossing oars and missing the rowlocks, the XO (who had been watching this fiasco through binoculars) radioed that he would bring the ship over to us. As the whaler was being hoisted inboard, the XO came out on the Bridge wing and said that he would like to see me on the Bridge. Upon arrival, he took me out of earshot of the Bridge staff and in no uncertain terms told me that it was not the best effort he had seen by Chief Petty Officers in a whaler. Therefore, the following day, we would give a pulling demonstration for the ships company. To which I replied “Yes Sir. Will that be in or out of the boat….”

  15. Albie Cross says:

    Sometime about May 1954 , Pukaki in company with HMS’s Crane, Modeste and Opossum set sail from GZO ( Honkers) to a secluded inlet about 50 miles North where a whaler’s rowing regatta was to be held. After numerous round-robins in which our Officer’s crew were totally vanquished , it came down to a showdown between us Comms crew and the Electrical Branch.
    We were neck and neck until a bod seated on thwart No. 3 caught a crab about 200 metres from the line . According to Admiralty Instructions, he should have abandoned ship but managed to regain control of his oar, not before the EM’s had left us in their wake. I was’nt very popular when we got back on board. The final race was for the Officers only and they completely blew the opposition right out of the water and even “tossed their oars” as a signal of defiance to all comers. We returned to HK after about 7 days and our chippie has fashioned a large “Cock” out of plywood which was placed on the roof of the wheelhouse abaft the bridge. According to tradition (or so I am told) we lead the 3rd Frigate Squadron into Victoria Harbour and received a great ovation from all the ships present (including the French carrier “Aromanches” which was getting a few band-aids for service in near-by French Indo-China). We tied up alongside HMS Birmingham at Tamar and correct me if I am wrong but I believe that if the “Cock” is “knicked” , then one loses the honour. There is one stipulation though and this “knicking” must be done before colours at sunset. It was not long before the trophy suddenly appeared above the bridge of Birmingham and our whole ship’s company went into damage-control to get it back. An enterprising bod came up with the ultimate solution :- he got one of those long bamboo poles that the side-party girls used to fix a paint brush or scrubber on and with assistance from our Laundry Firm, tied a bag of incense on one end and ignited it. This was shoved through one of the Birmingham’s scuttles and the aroma quickly found it’s way into the punkah louvre ventilation system. It was not very long before we were once more the “Cock of the Fleet”

  16. FRANK MACLEOD ELLIOTT says:

    FRANK ELLIOTT
    A WHALER GOING LIKE THE CLAPPERS ? I RECALL TAKING ALL SUNDAY TO CIRCUM NAVIGATE MOTOHEI ISLAND .

    • Albie Cross says:

      Frank Mac Elliott . you above all people should have known that “pusser’s duff ” and “spotted dick” are an invaluable commodity if you do not have the prevailing sou’wester up your freckle …

  17. Frank Rands says:

    Additional Information – The HAWEA CUP is not in the Museum but is now presented to the Basic Common Trainee who displays great Mariner Skills. The cup was not originally engraved and will not be engraved in the future.

  18. Frank Rands says:

    It would appear we may have a possible challenge already from the 1964 Communicators – Chook Fowler writes I seem to recall that CS63 (Jan 1964) won a whaler pulling race from Narrow Neck to Torpedo Bay in 1964. Now I don’t know if this was the Hawea Cup or something else but I DO know that Algie Walton was livid that a bunch of Communicators had beaten his seaman boys. I think the crew was made up of Bob Ohlson, Don Mihaere, Lionel Tuhiwai, Derek Lawford and me. Don’t remember who the coxn was, although it could have been one of the above mentioned.
    Bob Ohlson recalls Chook is correct we did win the whaler pulling race. From memory Derek Lawford was the Coxn, I seem to think Des Sanson was in that team and maybe Glenn Parry. Memory is fading – how many in a whaler rowing team ?
    Derek Lawford recalls from that time 50 years ago we did in fact win a Whaler race against several other teams and I do believe as I was the runt of the litter, I was the coxn.
    Great times.
    Don Mihaere recalls Yes you are quite right us pooney skinny lot beat their muscle
    men I think bud abbot was in team as well , just better technique won it for us on the day, good memories.
    Des Sanson recalls – I recall the day but like you Bob I cannot recall if it was for the cup??
    There were four boats competing, Comms, Seamen, Tiffies, make up of Electrical/stokers. Cannot remember being presented with any such trophy but the
    usual dunking of the Coxn Derek, you and I were the stroke pair Tui and Glenn Chook Don was hard yakker, good times
    and Chook says – I reckon there were no photos that day cos Algie was so pissed off his seamen were beaten he wouldn’t have allowed it. I recall he mentioned me as bowman didn’t appear to be putting as much effort into it, hells bells he should have been in my body!!! I’ll try to remember to ask Glenn Parry if he was part of it next time I see him. Happy days indeed.

  19. Jim D says:

    Bud Abbott wasn’t in CS63 – he had joined before as a seaman boy.

    • Jim D says:

      …Bud was, however, in the same watch as Don on the Royalist. Bonga Crengle was the RSOW with Joe Aranga, Abe Seymour, Don Mihaere, Lionel Tuhiwai and Bud Abbott. Known as the “Black Watch” – Bud was English, but because of his swarthy skin, had the same pigmentation as the rest of his watch.

  20. Chook says:

    RIP Bud……

  21. Neill Dorset says:

    Thanks everyone for all the info on the Cup, especially from Chook and John T. I hope it brought back a few memories for everyone about those whalers. Nice to hear Frank R, that the cup isn’t hidden away but is being presented to a Trainee for ‘ best Mariners skills’. Sometimes trophies just get hidden away and forgotten about.
    Jim D -nice to receive such ” kind words” from you and Frank L- I’m not sure either why I was picked as the cox’n, possibly because the two coaches realised that the Buntings were always the brains of the crew , the “engine room’ needed a guiding hand!!! Seriously though, it was good to be part of the effort and even better to part of a proud Branch- the Comms Branch regardless of what part-trade/path we all took.
    Kindest regards
    Neill D

  22. Robert Ivor Woodroofe NZ15286 says:

    How delighted I was to read the above and realise that I am not the only person wondering (in my old age) whatever happened to the Hawea Cup.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to add a little more to the early history of the cup, as detailed above, from after HMNZS Hawea returned to NZ from the Mediterranean. Initially any ship or establishment could challenge the current holder to race for the cup – usually raced over 7 cables at (ideally) slack tide up or down harbour from approximately the Devonport Ferry Buildings to Ngataringa Bay. Shortly after the first entry of RNZN Artificer Apprentices into HMNZS Philomel in January 1952 they challenged for, and thereafter regularly and repeatedly held off monthly challenges from all ships and other departments, including occasional challenges from visiting Naval and Merchant Navy ships. On the odd occasion that the Art. Apps. lost a race all effort was applied to training the current crew to ensure the cup was recovered at the next opportunity. I still have vivid memories of pulling at No. 4 in such crews from Jan 1955 to June 1956 before going on to further training in UK.

    In 1965 the RNZN decided that all future training of Art. Apps. would be undertaken at a new school at HMNZS Tamaki and I was privileged to be appointed as the OIC of the new scheme. Upon joining Tamaki in Jan 1967 I was disappointed to find that Art. Apps. no longer held the cup and it was not long after CERA Terry Martin, Lt. Tom Sawyers and I set about training up a crew that the new Art. Apps challenged and regained the Hawea Cup.

    I suppose that it is inevitable as time passes and wooden vessels such as whalers are phased out of service that the competitions of our early service (and youth) are lost or replaced and I am therefore delighted to read from the comments above that the cup is still being put to good use to encourage endeavour amongst the trainees of today.

    Best regards to all those named above with whom I had the privilege to serve.

    Bob Woodroofe
    Commander RNZN (Rtd)

  23. Ray Lucas says:

    I own a 32ft ex navy cutter which I believe to be built at Devonport naval workshop(Auck.north shore) about 1952. According to one entry on the internet these vessels where constructed from Canadian Elm risers and Mahogony planking however I am sceptical of this as there are NZ timbers which could have been much easier sourced to build these here in NZ.
    Q; Is there anyone out there who knows something of the building of these boats or might have actually been part of building one. Ray Lucas. raylucasnz@gmail.com

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