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).
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.
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.)
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.