Rere Ahi started life in a Davenport shed with designer Mr. John Woollacott, and built by Charlie Kemp and his son Allen in 1967. She was to be given the Maori name for the Fire-Fly, which was Ahirere. Somehow this got translated to ReRe Ahi, which translated literally means “flying fire”…which seems appropriate. They say that “Rere Ahi” has had a blessed life and this may be because of all of the lead for the keel came from Devonport Catholic Church. As the story goes – it just so happened that the church was being re-roofed and Charlie Kemp asked the Priest how much for the old lead f lashings? The Priest said to Charlie, “My son, the lead belongs to the Lord so I think I should offer it to him first.”How do I do that asked Charlie.
“Well my son, throw it up in the air and the Lord will take what he wants. Then you can have the rest.” Needless to say Charlie got all one and a half tons of lead for ReRe Ahi. The hull was laid up with one and a quarter inch square kauri, edgeglued and screwed with twisted bronze nails. Each plank was meticulously fitted and it took eighteen months to complete the planking. The teak came from the old Waiheke Ferry “Muratai” which was recovered from McCullums Island in the Hauraki Gulf. It was rafted up and towed back to town. Most of the teak was laid on the decks of the ReRe Ahi at three quarters of an inch thick. There are still many years of life left in her teak decks.
She is an extremely fair hull and as any inspection will reveal, she looks as good today, if not better, as the day she first launched.