24 Feb 2008

Spectrum for 24 February 2008

From Spectrum, 12:12 pm on 24 February 2008

Model of Pretoria Castle.David Steemson meets Dick Hopper who is indulging his love of the sea by building in exquisite detail the ships on which he voyaged.

After five years he's almost finished. Best of all, he gets to play with them, with help from a grandson for whom he's built a miniature tug boat.

Model Of Northern Star.Dick calls his double garage 'the dock yard'. There, in dry dock lie ocean liners Pretoria Castle (above right) and Northern Star (left). There's also a third under construction. Over the years Dick has also built twenty radio-controlled warships, and he's completed a beautiful two-metre long replica of the Anzac Frigate Te Mana.

He has had memorable voyages on three ships, taking him from one life in India to boarding school in England, then on to a new career in Rhodesia, and finally to New Zealand forty years ago.

He's now nearing the end of a six-year project to recreate all three ships in perfect working order.