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Ruru: Salvaged from a hulk

Ruru is a most remarkable craft. With her subtle and wholesome lines, she captures people!

Ruru was built in 1920 by the well known Picton boatbuilder Ernie Lane for John Brownlee, the son of the timber milling tycoon William Brownlee of Havelock. After several years, Ruru moved on to the local Havelock butchers, Johnny Bunkumbe & Horace Pickett and she remained moored in the Havelock estuary among the rushes. Many of the local children played in her as she sat among the reeds, one of them was a young lad named Noel Johnson, but more about him later!

In 1948 Ruru changed hands to Mr Len Holdaway who operated a market garden beside the Opawa River in Blenheim. For 50 years, she providing a whole generation with enjoyment until 2003 when as a virtual hulk, she was given to a considerably older Noel Johnson with the intention of being restored. Noel remembered Ruru from his childhood and was determined to save her. However, due to the huge task and poor health, Noel very kindly, and with remarkable wisdom and forethought, gifted Ruru to the Picton Clinker & Classic Boating Club whereupon Roy Jones took on the task of returning her to her original condition.

You may begin to sense, that Ruru casts a spell over anyone who is involved with her. You may not understand it, but you realize there is something special and wholesome about her. Somehow, Ernie Lane imparted into her a personality or soul, he managed to craft into her planking and lines an ethereal spirit that triggered something in the eye of so many people over several generations.

At first glance, Ruru is nothing special, but if you take the time to study her you will become aware of her mysterious attraction, a sense that, like the smile of Mona Lisa, you don't know what it is but it's there! It captured the butchers, the Holdaways, Noel Johnson and Roy Jones, and if you let it, it will probably get you!

She has a strong and proud provenance and, due to a number of remarkable events, has survived and is now prepared for yet another 96 years of life.