Auckland ex-Navy man restores boat in labour of love

An Auckland family are preparing for their first holiday on a very special boat.

It's an old Navy ship that's just been completely restored by a man who was in desperate need of a distraction.

It was a labour of love for ex-Navy man Scott Perry, who's had a tough few years.

"I lost my wife to cancer 18 months ago after a five-and-a-half-year journey," he says.

He'd quit his job as a builder to nurse Michelle in her final years, and a month after her death still couldn't face going back to work. So he decided to mortgage the house and restore a 22m former naval vessel - the 75-year-old Kuparu.

"Rather going to counselling I've decided to rebuild a boat. And she rebuilt me. And this is like a final journey," he says.

She was in quite a state and certainly wouldn't float, but after 16 months of hard work she's finally back in the water.

His family - including the pet possums and the dog - will take the Kuparu out for her first big trip this summer - finally a holiday after all that work.