Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 2, Issue 3, 1989
For the hundreds of trampers who have walked the Abel Tasman Track, one attraction which has drawn universal interest is the remains of the old scow, Venture, decaying away in the estuary at Awaroa. The Venture was registered no.93,991 on 17 January 1906, a ketch of 19 tons and 46 feet in length. (1)
The vessel was built by the Hadfield family at Awaroa, near where her remains lie today.
William Welby Hadfield was a farmer and boatbuilder at Awaroa and, for a short time, at Port Nelson where, in 1900, he built Nelson's first motor boat, for Messrs Moore & Healy. It was 17feet long and powered by a motor-cycle engine, supplied by Mr Moore, who was a motor cycle dealer in Nelson at the time.(2).
I don't remember the size of it, but it was about fifty feet long and 14 x 10 when we squared it up. However we got it fitted and a bit of planking repaired, new sheathing over the bottom and a paint up. We sailed it to Nelson, where it was sold to Jimmie Baird, for 300 pounds I believe. The Venture could now be completed without any more worry, in 1906, some four years after it was started. There were quite a lot of people at the launching as, at that time, the population of Awaroa was at its highest, and everyone was there. Awaroa was quite a busy place at the time, with boats calling in for timber and other materials, especially flax and birch bark for the tannery at Nelson. Some of the timber was taken to Australia and Lyttelton by the Mominglight, a schooner belonging to Kirk & Co. of Takaka, but most of it went to Nelson and Motueka, carried by the Transit, belonging to Ricketts Bros. The Venture carried some later, but only when the Transit could not handle it."
The Venture traded Tasman Bay until after the First World War but, with the development of reading and motor transport and, finally, the completion of the Otira tunnel, many of the Bay sailors were put out of business. (4) The Venture was but one of many, and was laid up in the bay, where she eventually went to pieces. Her remains lie decaying, only a few metres from where she was built; over eighty ago.