2020 What a year!

In spite of Covid causing major disruption this year, 2020 has still been a pretty big year for the boat building school.

Achievements for this year are.

  • 9 Courses held.
  • 54 students achieved new skills, completed a project and were awarded an NZTBS  certificate.
  • 2 groups from Architecture and Women learned some new skills and completed a their projects.
  • 6 students aged 8-9 years built 2 John Welsford Scraps dinghies over a week.
  • 3 x Townson 2.4 clinker dinghies were built.
  • Some lovely spoon blade oars were made.
  • Numerous tool boxes, stools , caddies and other small items built.
  • Everyone came away with a smile on their face.

We have Some great plans for next year.

Heres what we are hoping to roll out in the coming year, But we will need some help to be able to achieve this.

  • Essential Skills 101, A two day Hands on course teaching lots of valuable skills formal plywood boat building. 
  • Essential Skills 102, A new two day course taking you onto the next steps in building your own small boat.
  • Half Model, A two day course lofting and then building a half model to take home with you.
  • Oar Making, A two day course making a pair of spoon blade oars to take home.
  • Steam Bending, A one day course on bending wood with steam
  • Lofting, A two day course as an introduction to lofting.
  • Introduction to hand Tools, A two day course learning all about working with hand tools, cutting, marking, planing whilst making your own tool caddy.
  • Introduction to Wood turning, A two day course teaching the skills to embark on woodturning.
  • Pond Yachts, A new course on building a pond yacht to take home.
  • Kids build program, A multi day course building and launching a small dinghy for Kids.
  • Introduction to Boat Design, Another new course on learning about designing your own small boat.
  • Professional  Development, A course especially for Woodwork teachers.

Planning is underway and course times and booking will be available shortly.


The New Zealand Traditional Boat Building School is a volunteer run charitable trust started in 2005 that has been providing Education, Skills development, Personal growth, Youth development, Community support and plays an active part in maintaining New Zealand’s valuable maritime history.

Due to increasing costs, Covid 19 and a lack of available support from other funding sources this year we are struggling to survive. We need in excess of $20,000 opex per year just to keep the doors open and the lights on. Although we charge for our courses and all of our day to day operations are provided by volunteers we simply can’t generate enough income from this to survive.

We have set up a Give a Little campaign to help us to continue the good work next  year. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and as a registered charity all donations are tax deductible.

Please click on the button below to donate.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the team at NZTBS

We hope 2021 will be a fantastic year for everyone and we would like to take the opportunity to say a big Thank You to all those who have supported us this year. Enjoy the holiday season and may the wind always be at your back.