Old trawlers still plying the waters

Pay a visit to Napier’s Maritime Museum at the port of Ahuriri and chances are you may also come across a more recent piece of Raglan’s own nautical history.

The museum’s housed in the old Ahuriri Customhouse on Custom Quay – or the Iron Pot as the spot’s best known – the same quay where a trawler once a familiar sight in Raglan waters, as a part of the Hartstone family’s fishing fleet, now often offloads her catch.

It’s about two decades since the Torea ll plied Whaingaroa’s waters: Hawke’s Bay-based fishing industry identity Nino D’Esposito recalls buying both her and the Lady Ruth in the early 2000s following a Tainui subsidiary’s relatively short-lived foray into trawling out of Raglan after acquiring the Hartstone business.

Nino reveals that while he on-sold the Torea ll after a few years, he turned the Lady Ruth into a longliner and kept her right through until last year.  

Although the Lady Ruth’s now gone to Picton, where Nino understands she’s longlining and trolling for tuna, the Torea ll’s still trawling out of Napier. The 58-footer has been owned by Star Fish Supply since 2012 and is predominantly fishing inshore species.

Forrest Brown, who’s skippered the Torea ll for about a year now, describes her as an “awesome” vessel.  “It’s a great sea boat that punches well above its weight,” he says.

Brendan Payne, a crew member for the past five years, also can’t fault the vessel.  He describes the Torea ll as “a little machine, like a hotrod” following an entire refit in which she was repowered with a 600hp marine engine.

The Torea ll was easily distinguishable until recently by its bright orange colour, but has now been repainted the same blue as the rest of the Star Fish fleet.

The boat typically unloads at Ahuriri on a Tuesday, after three days at sea catching mainly snapper and tarakihi.