Brief history and commentary by Cimino Cole editor Mahurangi Magazine (on line edition)
Mahurangi’s settlement probably dates from the establishment of Gordon Browne’s spar station in the harbour, in 1832.
The first Mahurangi Regatta is not recorded. However, as Dr Ronald H Locker writes in Jade River: A History of the Mahurangi:
Joseph Gard noted in his diary that he saw the event in progress on New Year’s Day, 1858,
while passing up-river on his way home from Auckland.
The Mahurangi Regatta effectively lapsed during World War Two but was revived in 1977, by Friends of the Mahurangi, which initially chose the earliest Saturday in January with a tide convenient for boat launching, 8 January, as opposed to the traditional Boxing Day.
The popularity of the revived regatta was such that its destiny as an annual fixture was inescapable. Coincidentally, that same year, Devonport Yacht Club moved the start of its annual Mahurangi race to the Friday evening of Auckland’s anniversary weekend—the club had been racing to Mahurangi since 1966, but on the Saturday. It took Friends of the Mahurangi and the Sandspit Yacht Club, which organised the sailing races, until 1979 to embrace the obvious synergy.
The Mahurangi and Auckland programmes are perfectly complementary:
2010 regatta program here (waiting on link)
- Friday night Mahurangi Night Race
- Saturday Mahurangi Regatta
- Saturday night Mahurangi Regatta Prize-Giving and Dance
- Sunday Mahurangi to Auckland Race
Ghosting to the Line: Renowned marine photographer Henry Winkelmann captured the 1901 Mahurangi Regatta, in this possibly the earliest extant image of the event.
Winkelmann was secretary of the Warkworth-based Coastal Steamship Company, which brought hundreds of his fellow Aucklanders to the event as spectactors.
Photographer Henry Winkelmann