The “Kestrel” Faces an Uncertain Future

Posted by on Jul 30, 2010 | Leave a Comment

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The Kestrel in its berth in Tauranga

Iconic Kestrel Ferry Up For Sale

Devonport’s beloved Kestrel ferry is now up for sale on Trade Me after a new tenant could not be found for the 105-year-old vessel.

Owner of the historic vessel Mark Scapens says there are so many options for a new owner.

“She could remain a floating restaurant or be transformed into a creative and eye-catching office space. She just needs someone with a great vision who can see her fantastic potential, ” says Scapens.

The Kestrel, which was the last working survivor of Auckland’s historic ferry fleet, has become an iconic part of Tauranga’s CBD waterfront since it first arrived in 2004. It was re-fitted as a floating restaurant but since the previous tenant moved out two years ago the ferry has been untenanted since.

However, Scapens points out that even if the Kestrel were tenanted locally, the need for on-going maintenance could no longer be done in Tauranga. Also, the 10 year lease agreement signed with Tauranga City Council expires in 2014 and an extension looks unlikely.

“There is no longer a slip in Tauranga to provide the on-going hull maintenance that a timber ferry like this requires and because the Kestrel’s engine was decommissioned as part of her placement on The Strand waterfront, she would need to be towed to another port for maintenance. Auckland is now the nearest slip that can maintain a vessel the size of the Kestrel,” says Scapens.

Scapens says his goal is to do the best by the Kestrel as she is an important part of New Zealand’s ferry history.

“She’s a wonderful vessel and this sale will be a great opportunity for someone else to add to her long and colourful history.

“Hopefully by listing the Kestrel for sale on Trade Me we will be able to find a practical solution and give her a gracious exit and open exciting new doors,” says Scapens. The Kestrel sale can be found at

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