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New Zealand Power Boat Association History Page
If you have anything to add to the page then Email the Secretary Hopefully this page will feature lots of Pictures and some Information from the Past of the NZPBA.

NZPBA Historian
The New Zealand Power Boat Association is pleased to be working with Merv Sowden. If you have any NZPBA historical memorabilia including club newsletters, magazines, photos or other related material that we can have or borrow, copy and returned to you, please contact the Historian nzpbahistorian@nzpba.com

4th April 2016 - "Albert Irvine"
"Hot Spot".
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Albert 'Alby' Irvine grew up in the Leeston/Southbridge not far from Lake Ellesmere. After finishing an auto mechanic apprenticeship in Southbridge he bought a sheep/cropping farm, selling the farm in the mid '80s to retire to Ashburton.
Alby was a member of the NBPBC & had three boats all of which he built himself. His 1st, Hot Spot, was a stepped hydro built from Carl Augustin plans. Whilst the boat was designed for a motorcycle engine Alby powered it with a Ford 10. The 2nd boat Powerflite was again built from Carl Augustin plans, this time the ubiquitous Grey Nurse design which Alby powered with a Ford Consul engine. Powerflite was sold to John Stokes also of the NBPBC who raced it as Juella.
Alby is most proud of his last boat which he not only built but also designed himself powering it with a Mk 1 Ford Cortina engine which had 4 Amal carburettors & Cosworth cam. Alby cites winning the 1965 S.I. 75 cu.in. Vee Bottom Championship at the Waiho Box in South Canterbury as the highlight of his racing career. Alby sold Powerflite to the Harker's family of Southbridge in the 70's who have it today.

POWERFLITE. Albert Irvine.

POWERFLITE, Albert Irvine, 1200cc Ford Anglia engine.

POWERFLITE, Albert Irvine, Ford Consul engine

24th September 2015 - "Wasp Too"
"Wasp Too".
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"Wasp Too" - Ernie Nunn
Pictures supplied by Glenn Turvey

In the 1962 - 63 NZ Racing Season Ernie Nunn made a successful trip across the Tasman to win the Masport Cup and then the EC Griffiths Cup which was defended in NZ for the 14 years previous. These Images are from the Ernie Nunn Collection supplied to us by his Grandson Glenn Turvey.

1960s Deep Water.

WASP TOO 17FT 1962 Masport CUP NZ.

Wasp Too and Air NZ


WASP TOO 17FT 1962 NZ.

WASP TOO 17FT 1963 EC Griffiths CUP NZ

20th August 2015 - "Autobeat"
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Autobeat - Voo Doo IV
By Lester Connor & Merv Sowden

During early 1962 Dave Ager of Edgecumbe was commissioned to build two hydroplanes using the plans from Jack Nicholsons boat “Medea”. This was designed by John Colcock , a well known American boat designer. These boats were 18ft long and 8ft wide which was the common dimensions been used at the time.
These two new boats were for Lionel Fussell, “Tramp” later renamed “Gold Mist” (Gold Mist later went with the group to Canada to represent NZ) and George Butler “Autobeat”
This new hydro was a replacement for George’s Jaguar powered V-Bottom of the same name.
George used the same motor and had it bored out to 3.8 litres. Not performing as expected, the Jag was soon to be replaced with the now more common Corvette engine. George quickly picked up one of the two Corvettes that became available when “Polaris” was converted to the Allison aircraft engine.
Autobeat did 93.2 mph with this motor over a kilo and slowly over the years it got faster. Autobeat was one of the most travelled boats and raced in both the North and South Islands but never won any major Trophies though a consistent finisher over the years it was raced.
From 1963 “Autobeat” raced The Griffiths Cup and all the Masport Cups until George’s untimely death in 1968 when his fishing trawler was wrecked on the Port Ohiwa Bar in poor weather.
George was a “race for fun” type of person and avoided into getting into run at all costs. George was a well respected and popular with every club he raced at and with every driver he raced against.
His estate later sold his boat to Bill Stokes and was renamed Voo Doo IV in the late 60’s and effected a number of changes, more significant of which were the addition of 2 feet to the boat’s transom, altering its sponsons and swapping its carburetted 283 cu in Chev for an injected 350.
Miss Print IV a sister boat to the Frank McLeod-built Air New Zealand (II) and following a disastrous fire with Miss Print IV, owner Doug Cameron gave Bill the destroyed boat’s trailer & steering gear. In remembering their close friend, Bob Denson reflects on Bill’s determination to have the best gear and Neil Stuart said that Bill “…was always more dedicated than us.’’ !
Later on, successfully securing financial sponsorship, Bill change the boat’s name first to Lexington IV then in the latter period of Bill’s racing career to Miss Areo.
Bill and his crew campaigned the hydro widely throughout New Zealand securing his 100mph Gold Badge in 1970, winning the 1971 Masport Cup and took the boat to Australia as part of an unsuccessful Kiwi bid for the Griffiths Cup that same year. Serious spinal injuries sustained in a fatal car accident finished Bill’s racing career & the boat was then raced by John Hawkins who raced it as Stingray then Leopard Coach Lining. Brian Railton then raced the boat and renamed it Cool Changes. Bill had recovered a bit from his accident and was part of Brian’s Team and eventually with Ted Sagar they raced the boat a couple of times as Voo Doo, eventually selling it to Invercargill’s Mike Harvey in 1991. Mike first raced it in 1992 as Liquorland and finally renamed it to Voodoo Again.
Mike powered it with various small block Chevs, most memorable being a 377 cu in. The boat finished 3rd in 1994 GN Hydro Nationals, securing 100 MPH Gold Badge same year, set a Southern Zone GN Hydro record of 113 mph 2000 and was last raced at Lake Kanerie, Easter 2002.
Keenly aware of the boat’s historical significance, Mike intends to restore the boat and run it in classic events.”

Building 2 Boats.

1967 March.



Griffiths Cup Regatta, Epalock, 1971.


Bill Stokes, Rotoiti,1969.


17th May 2015 - Southland Power Boat Club
Southland Power Boat Club.
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“Some Photos of the boats on the walls of the Southland Power Boat Club”

12th May 2015 - Belair III
The Restored Bel Air III.
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“Bel Air iii is the only remaining boat of the four boat NZPBA team to compete at the 1967 World Championships in Valleyfield near Montreal, Canada. The first hydro to be built by Peter Knight snr, it has been rebuilt by son Peter jnr. The 13 foot 6 inch boat was retired from racing in 1970 after losing a sponson at a NBPBC regatta at Lake Ellesmere; since then the hull had hung aloft in the Knight’s central Christchurch garage until recent times. Peter snr cites this boat (and the first The Boss) as his favourite boats. The pushrod Ford Zephyr V6 powered boat was built in 1965 and at one stage held the 150 cu in hydroplane record at 114mph, set on the NBPBC Estuary.
The rebuild quality reflects the level of innovation, teamwork and dedication it took to realise Bel Air iii’s achievements.”

Rotoiti, 1965.

Rotoiti, 1965.

Picton, 1970.

Ellesmere 1970.

Ellesmere, 1970.





History Archive
Click on the Images Below to see more of the History Photos and Articles.

NZPBA History Video Page

New Brighton Power Boat Clubrooms Scans

History Images & Articles Page One

History Images & Articles Page Two

© New Zealand Power Boat Association 1947 - 2016

All pictures in these Gallery's are either the Property of the New Zealand Power Boat Association or have been Loaned to the New Zealand Power Boat Association for use in the Gallery and for Promotions. Any Image or Text can not be reproduced for commercial use without the express permission of New Zealand Power Boat Association and the Owners of the Images and Information. Some Information and Photos published on this site have been provided by Power Boating Teams or extracted from public web sites. If you believe you hold copyright on any of these photos and would like us to remove them please contact the Webmaster or Secretary of the NZPBA.
Secretary Raewyn Palmer
P.O.Box 30-833
Lower Hutt 5040
Phone (04) 586 0919
Fax (04) 293 7034
Mobile 027 416 5070
Email: raewynpalmer@xtra.co.nz