Paddlewheels on the Wanganui

Recall the exciting days when the old paddle steamers plied their way up the two hundred and thirty nine rapids between Whanganui and Taumarunui.

In the years between 1912 and 1919, David Reid was an engineer on boats of the famous Hatrick fleet – among them being the Wairua, the Whakapai and the Wai-iti.

These vessels were the lifeline, of the pioneer farms and Maori settlements of the river valley, besides being a vital link in the booming, Auckland - Wellington tourist system.

The spectacular, - and often hair-raising - three day journey downriver, between overhanging bush-topped bluffs, and along quiet willow-lined reaches, was for thousands of tourists from all parts of the world, the highlight of their visit.

David served on all three stretches of river; Whanganui to Pipiriki, Pipiriki to the Houseboat and the Houseboat to Taumarunui, and his nephew Alec has made a vivid story of his uncle’s recollections, skilfully re-creating the atmosphere, people and events of the almost forgotten world of the Whanganui Riverboats.

  • Graeme Ernest Moffatt
    Mr Mainline Steam
  • David Reid
  • Alec Reid
  • Wayne Buckingham
  • Graeme Moffatt
  • Kate Le Comte
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 27 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Graeme Ernest Moffatt

Born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1951, Graeme grew up in the Wellington area before shifting north to the Kapiti area in 1962. His schooling was done at Kapiti College, the same school that 'Lord of the Rings' director, Peter Jackson attended, although ten years earlier.

Leaving School, Graeme joined the Royal New Zealand Airforce as a pilot trainee for a period of twelve months and after leaving the Air Force commenced training as an electronics engineer. After gaining a commercial pilots license in 1971, Graeme was offered a job instructing and managing a flying school in Nelson and as part of this job, spent two years doing aerial photography from 500 feet to 27,000 feet covering the whole of New Zealand. This gave Graeme a great insight to the beauty of his native country and was a large influence in his entering the tourism industry.

Graeme purchased his first desktop computer in 1984 and upgraded this to a Macintosh in 1989. This enabled him to undertake computer based graphic designing and he started using his acquired skills, initially in the screen printing area and eventually into making documentaries about his loves of railways, old machinery and travel. Graeme is a director/editor for his company Capital Video Productions and also holds the position of Australasian Regional Liaison for Apple User Groups, a role he has held since 2004.

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