Thursday, 17 December 2009

Two months left for King Kong ship...

The ship used by Peter Jackson for the movie King Kong is finally to be turned into a diving attraction, somewhere off the Wellington south coast.

The aging fishing vessel, originally named "Manuia" and built in the Netherlands in 1965, was bought for the King Kong production around 2004. It was heavily modified by the Weta Workshop to resemble an old 1890's ship, complete with smoke-stack. The original red/green colours were replaced with black, yellow and rust coloured paint, and the general shape was changed as well.

After the movie was completed, it stayed on the edge of the Miramar peninsula, where it's been moored ever since.

Now, word has it that the King Kong ship is finally going to be sunk, around mid February 2010. This has been widely expected for about three years now but the signs are pretty solid this time. Slowly, the ship is being stripped of all furnishings and non-sinkable items, and anything environmentally unfriendly. It is my expectation that it will be towed out to sea and scuttled somewhere near Wellington waters, to attract divers.

Before it's completely stripped, I hope to get a few choice souvenirs off it, if there's anything left - I know for instance that a lot of the external rivets on the hull exterior are fake, and would make great collectible items.

NB - the horizontal line of rivets is has a gap where the paint has flaked
off, taking the rivets with it - obviously glued on to the side.

Let me know if anyone is interested - I can't make any promises but I'll see what I can do!

  - Jack M


  1. Ooh Jack, I would love a souvenir if that's possible.

    I've re-watched King Kong twice in the last week for some reason... it's fun to look through the layers of detail and have stuff suddenly make sense... very PJ/Fran/Philippa if I do say so :)

  2. I'm glad I got a pic of the ship during my first time around!

  3. @Eorl:

    I'll see if I can talk to the guy in the next few days. Watch this space (or your email box).

    I agree with you on the layers and layers of details... I've recently been looking at Tolkien's works to see where Arwen's sword Hadhafang came from. Turns out, she got it from Elrond, who used it at the battle of the Last Alliance at the end of the second age.

    In the movie, he has it in the prologue, while she uses the exact same sword when she creeps up on Aragorn that first time. I've been watching this movie since 2001, but I never spotted that before. I wonder if anyone else has.

    I also wonder what other "small" details like that I'll discover in the NEXT 8 years.

    - Jack M.

  4. @Ryan:

    Yeah, good call! I started to get really annoyed with myself everytime something changes here in Wellywood. The accusation at myself is always the same - "I wish I'd taken a photo of that at the time, before it changed"! I've started photographing a lot more stuff...

    - Jack M.

  5. Hi Jack, love your updates on stuff like this. Keep on keeping on.

    FYI, I don't think the wreck is going to be diveable (not easily anyway).
    I was down at the wharf a couple of weeks ago and asked the guys who were on board and they said it's not being sunk close enough to shore for divers.


  6. @Michael,

    Thanks for the clarification - I must admit, I'm not a diver, and merely assumed when I heard "scuttled" that it would be for divers.

    For the environmentally minded here - I do know that scuttling ships is often quite good for the environment. Everything bad gets stripped off it first, and the metal hulk slowly turns into an artificial reef for the local wildlife to take shelter in, resulting in a huge increase in plants, fish, shelfish, coral, etc.

    Possibly a unique situation, where humans dump stuff and it benefits the sea.

    Last time Wellington sunk a ship, one of the local radio stations ran a compatition to see who got to push the button (linked to the remote detonator). It was the HMS Wellington, an old NZ Navy vessel. Quite impressive! I wonder who will get to sink the venture??

    - Jack M.