top of page

Please note this page is under development.

Projects to find, restore and preserve jet boating heritage items are going on all the time.  Here we'll feature some of those projects and heritage stories worth sharing in the hope it might inspire others to join our mission.


Whio III replica Jet 50


Colorado Uprun boats - info coming soon

No Miss - info coming soon



A jet boat like no other

Aurora Specifications...

Construction: Glass-over-ply

Length: 20ft LOA

Beam: 7ft 2in BOA

Engine: Ford Zephyr MkII (triple carbs) Waterjet: Hamilton Quinnat

Speed: 24mph

Displacement: 1000kg


Restoration Team...

Tony Kean, Greg Lye, Dave Madeley, Jason Ennis, Colin McCall, Roger Abel, Gordon Common, John Sexton, Neville Reeve

Built in 1955 by Gisborne mechanic H. W. (Bert) Grundy, Aurora was the first waterjet powered boat in the North Island. A 20ft long glass-over-wood hull fitted with one of only seven Hamilton Quinnat waterjet units ever built and powered by a Ford Zephyr MkII engine, she was reportedly capable of about 24mph and used mostly for recreation and waterskiing on the lakes near Rotorua.

In the early 1960s Aurora was stored in a workshop at Lake Rotoma, where she remained until 2008.


HamiltonJet purchased Aurora and brought her South to Christchurch where she has been restored by a team of volunteers and contractors, with the help of several sponsoring companies. Her official relaunch was at the

NZ Antique & Classic Boatshow at Lake Rotoiti March 2010.

Projects Aurora

Who III Replica Jet 50

First jet boat exported to the US

Built in 1958 for Bill Austin, a friend of Bill Hamilton's from America in New Zealand as part of the US Deep Freeze operation.  Hamilton took Austin for a spin in his Jet 50 "Whio III" after which Austin allegedly said, "I'd like one exactly the same."  So this boat was built and shipped to the US.

In 1959 the boat was used by Bill Hamilton and Bill Austin to explore the lower reaches of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado in preparation for a major up-run attempt the following year.  It was later used for demonstrations of the Hamilton Jet unit concept to help boost US sales of jet boats. 

This “Whio III” replica was last used in the USA in 1972 and, in December 1999, was returned to New Zealand and put back in running order by Jon Hamilton.

Jet 50 Specifications...

Construction: Diagonally planked sides on a fibreglass bottom

Fibreglass bottom by Glassex, Christchurch
Hull by Mahn Marine, Christchurch
Fit-out and trailer at Irishman Creek Station
Engine: Ford Zephyr 6 mk.2, high compression head 7.8
Jet Unit: Hamilton Chinook 3-stage


Performance Test – 14 November 1958:

    Static thrust        694lbs
    RPM                      3100
    1-up                      33.5 mph (53.6 kph)
    4-up                      30.8 mph (49.3 kph)
    6-up                      28.4 mph (45.4 kph)

Projects Whio III


Racing jetboat that turned heads in the 1970s

Jetmark was built in the late 1960s by Hamilton Marine, primarily as a means to promote water jet propulsion to the offshore boating community.  Based on a design for an 8.5m ultra-deep V hull Jetmark was built in the Hamilton Marine workshop and raced by Hamilton employees - normally Alf Dick or George Davison at the helm.


In her first race in July 1970 Jetmark beat off over 100 challengers to win the Southern Lakes Marathon by 12km - averaging just 45 knots.  However Jetmark suffered engine and trim issues which caused her to pull out of a number of offshore events, before winning a race in New Plymouth in 1972.  Jetmark's top speed was around 90km per hour, though she was sunk twice (by Jon Hamilton near Sumner and by Alf Dick in Lyttleton Harbour) and badly damaged (by George Davison on Auckland Harbour).

The great tragedy to the modern jet boating world is that Jetmark as intentionally incinerated in the mid 1970s as it was seen as too dangerous and temperamental to continue racing her, and thus she was lost to future generations.

A little bit more information about Jetmark can be found in "Hamilton's Jet" by John Walsh and in "The Jet Boat" by Les Bloxham but not a lot more is known about this piece of jet boating history so if anyone else has information the Heritage Trust would love to add it to our archive collection.

bottom of page