It Is No Simple Business Naming a Dory

In November 2015, boat builders Brad Dimock and Andy Hutchinson built our two beautiful, wooden, Briggs style river dories.

For the first 12 months of their existence, these two dories were essentially nameless (though they did have working names, Zsa Zsa and Eva after the Gabor sisters).

It is no simple business naming a dory and much thought had to be put into it. Names had to be found that were not only beautiful but also meaningful.

To find and settle upon those names we decided to follow the tradition set by Martin Litton with Grand Canyon Dories 50 years ago. Martin decided that each of his Briggs style dories would be named after a natural feature that had either been lost, destroyed or radically altered by human development.

Following this worthy precedent we researched the impact that the Tongariro Power scheme has made on the Whanganui River. In total some 30 streams and rivers have been diverted or dammed for this scheme, with many of these waterways being from the headwaters of the Whanganui. In essence we looked for places where some of the “mauri” or life force of the Whanganui had been taken.

We found two streams, each diverted, each with the type of name we were after. Each of these names seemed to speak to the dories.

We shared these names with Maori river Iwi, who gave us the nod of approval.

On the 17th of December 2015, in a moving ceremony, Ratana priest, Apotoro Rehita Puruhe Smith blessed the boats and acknowledged the names at the boat ramp at Pipiriki.

These two hand built wooden river dories, the only ones of their kind in New Zealand, would from that point on be known as:

Te Whaiau – the current follower


Okupata – my mist of water

Somehow this process made the boats seem more complete, and was worth the 12 months wait to find the right names.

Brian Megaw