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Makeover for Cook's Endeavour model revealed

17 Feb 2011

Makeover for Cook's Endeavour model revealed

A model of Captain Cook’s ship Endeavour has been rebuilt and will be put back on display early next week. It was taken down from its birds eye view on Gisborne’s Gladstone Road/Derby Street corner last year. An inspection revealed that the plywood was rotting and that there was a risk someone could get hit if parts of the model came loose and fell to the ground.

Awapuni Joinery has spent 300 hours working on the 42 year old model. The steel frame and the wooden mast posts have been salvaged but everything else has been remade. One of the more complicated parts of the remake is the rigging. Peter Pole, one of the few people in New Zealand endorsed to sail a square rig sailing boat has done all the rigging for free. “I managed to get a copy the original Endeavour drawings from England to use. The 18th century rigging was not the same as the more modern rigging styles we see now. I knew the rigging on the original model was not accurate and so when the opportunity came up I was keen to have a go at it and get the rigging as close as possible to the original.”

Two original models were designed by Derek Phillips of architects Glengarry, Corson and Pilbrow in time for the Cook Bicentenary Celebrations. The models were built by local joiners Storey and Lomas for $300 each. In May 1969 they were erected on top of poles that were placed inside giant tyres along Gladstone Road at the Peel St and Grey St intersections.

The original models were made of marine plywood, were quite lightweight and not expected to last for more than a year. But they did last until 1978 when the two model ships were taken down and completely rebuilt by teachers and students at Gisborne Boys High School. The project was over seen by Peter Pole and cost $700. The new models were installed at the Chalmers Road and Derby Street intersections this time because drivers were using the tyres at the other intersections as a roundabout at the time.

In 1999 prior to the millennium celebrations the models were refurbished and re-rigged by town criers and Council building inspectors John Dwight & John Kibble. Both were previously employed by Storey and Lomas and involved in the original construction.

To protect the model against further damage Awapuni Joinery have used electroplated steel for the framing. Marine grade ply has been used for body of the ship and all wood and ply has been coated with a marine preservative before being painted. Sails have been replicated using ply, which will last longer than the canvas sails of the original.

The refurbished model will be installed at the entrance to the city on the Campion Road and Gladstone Road intersection at 7am on Monday with the help of CR Taylor’s Crane. The second model that currently sits there will be removed and taken back to Awapuni Joinery for its turn at being made as good as new.

“I am looking forward to working on the other model, says Mr Pole. Endeavour was a square rig sailing ship and they have always been a bit of a passion for me. I sailed with the Spirit of Adventure Trust and most recently on the barque James Craig in Sydney. Previously I was on the replica Endeavour when it came to New Zealand for the first time, sailing on it from Tauranga to Gisborne. I learnt a lot from doing the rigging on the first model and am looking forward to applying that to the second model.