Puke returns to Warkworth

The S.S. Puke will be back in Warkworth on February 23. Photo, Paul Gilbert, Aquapx.

Steam is returning to the Mahurangi River in Warkworth on Saturday, February 23, when the Auckland Steam Engine Society holds its biennial Warkworth steam meeting at the town wharf.

Among the various steam boats on show will be the S.S. Puke, which was formerly based in Warkworth, but now resides at the New Zealand Maritime Museum in Auckland.

S.S. Puke is the oldest operational steam vessel in New Zealand. Museum volunteers will offer short rides on the boat in return for a gold coin donation.

Steam enthusiast and event organiser Daniel Hicks says if the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust is successful in their goal of dredging the river, and making it usable on all tides, then  this kind of event could become more commonplace in Warkworth.

“As this has not yet occurred, the steam event is restricted to a few hours either side of the 11.30am high tide,” he says.

Despite this restriction, Daniel says Warkworth, with its large wharf and picturesque setting, provides an ideal venue.  

The Auckland Steam Engine Society, now in its 50th year, is a group of individuals dedicated to keeping steam alive. Members and friends from all over the North Island are expected to converge at the wharf for the day.

Anyone with an interest in steam and heritage is welcome to attend.


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