Choose Ranui for your Taupo boat hire requirements and you’ll soon be cruising on Lake Taupo’s longest operating charter boat! Formerly known as El Alamein, the ‘great dame’ of Taupo charter boats started her sailing career on Lake Rotorua after World War II.
Ranui was launched as El Alamein on 29 January 1945 for use by patients of the Rotorua Convalescent Hospital after the Second World War.
Named after that part of the Middle East where New Zealand servicemen distinguished themselves in action, the 32-foot kauri cabin launch was donated to the convalescent depot by the Patriotic Fund: Joint Council of the Red Cross and St John. Specially designed for use on Lake Rotorua and for passage through the Ohau Channel to Rotoiti, she was built in Auckland and was capable of seating up to 40 passengers.
For the first 4 years of her life Ranui was an open boat, with a small cabin and bunk room up forward captained by William J. Pollock. She was a familiar sight, often carrying up to 40 convalescing soldiers, many in wheelchairs, on Lake Rotorua excursions as part of their rehabilitation. She played a big part in easing the soldiers back into civilian life.
Ranui was sold in August 1949 as the numbers of ex-service patients dropped and maintenance costs rose. She was trucked to Lake Taupo on 24 August 1949 and purchased by Ron Martin – the money from the sale was returned to the Patriotic Fund Board.
Two years later one of Taupo’s old-time residents, Noel East, put on a full cabin and was first to have Ranui surveyed.
The next owner was from Hawke’s Bay and used her privately before selling her to one of Taupo’s most familiar commercial boat operators – Jim Storey. He had Ranui surveyed and used her commercially for many years, taking visitors out on Lake Taupo tours for fishing and sightseeing.
In 1980 Ranui was purchased by Graham Twiss and he continued taking visitors out on Lake Taupo tours and fishing for a further 34 years.
Maritime surveyed to carry 23 passengers, Ranui has recently been revived and refurbished by present owners Jamie and Sarah Looner. They enjoy keeping history alive by operating and maintaining Taupo’s two historic wooden charter boats Barbary and Ranui.