New Zealand Maritime Industry in the Spotlight: Kiwi Marina Growth Reflects Positive Attitude


In New Zealand, several new and ongoing marina projects show great ongoing potential for recreational boat companies. Maryanne Edwards, Global Marine Business Advisors (GMBA) New Zealand representative, says the new marina developments ensure New Zealand’s marine industry is future-oriented and able to cope with growing domestic and global demand.

“The marina and boatyard industry in New Zealand is booming,” says Edwards. “Kiwis started boating while the country’s borders were closed during the Covid years, celebrating the America’s Cup and investing in boats instead of traveling. On top of this, marine infrastructure development, which the government and private investors have prioritized as part of post-pandemic recovery efforts, has further boosted what was already a healthy sector before the pandemic.”

New Zealand has a vast coastline but a relatively small population of about 5.5 million people, who own about 20,000 50 vessels moored at XNUMX marinas from the far north to the deep south. Edwards says the industry is increasingly limited by water space and the ability to expand, and strict regulations designed to protect the environment make establishing new operations difficult, if not impossible. Nevertheless, new marinas are being built on Waiheke Island near Auckland and in Fakatana on the east coast of the North Island.

“While the Waiheke Boutique Center provides much-needed berthing for Auckland’s upscale pleasure craft fleet, Whakatāne and Ōhope are strategic investments that provide infrastructure for commercial vessels and shipbuilders,” explains Edwards. Demand for berths is high and many marinas have extensive waiting lists. Therefore, Edwards says, rather than building new facilities, it is much more common to see marinas and shipyards investing in expansions and reconfigurations. Alongside this, the industry is improving its environmental performance and finding ways to operate more efficiently to meet the needs of a growing fleet.

Chris Galbraith, chairman of the New Zealand Marina Operators Association (NZMOA), says: “Capital investment is a sure sign that the sector is in good shape, and there has been plenty of it in the last 12 months, in both on-water and onshore development, including transportation. equipment.”

Queenstown Marina enters its second phase

The $20 million Queenstown Marina officially opens at the end of 2022, a major milestone for Queenstown, a tourist town known for its natural beauty and ski slopes. Lakes Marina Projects partners Iraj Barabi from the US and Alan Kirker from Queenstown opened the first phase of the project and its 85 new berths and 17 floating buildings in November 2022.

The partners recently announced plans for the second phase, which will include about 85 more marina berths that will be available for occupation from March 2025. Construction of the first phase was completed just as the coronavirus broke, and despite the timing, interest in the moorings has been high. unprecedented over the past two years. Construction of the second phase, which includes additional moorings and electric charging for boats and vehicles, will begin in mid-2023.

“Before we built the marina, there were no facilities on Lake Wakatipu that catered to larger vessels. Marine tourism is booming and the marina has attracted affluent visitors and residents to the area because it can fully service boats over 14 meters in length,” says Kirker. Additional investment is planned to purchase a hydraulic boat trailer suitable for larger vessels, which allows boats to be pulled out of the water for necessary repairs and maintenance. Lakes Marina Projects is working with Queenstown Lakes District Council to provide a large canopy to safely accommodate boats during the works.


While marina projects signal great opportunities, GMBA notes that insurance coverage and insurance costs are a challenge for the New Zealand industry. And like its international counterparts attracting and retaining staff, inflation, climate change and supply chain costs are also challenges facing the industry. Strict environmental policies and progressive regulations may mean marinas and shipyards must adapt their approach to meet changing demands, but the NZMOA believes this is an opportunity to discover new and better ways of doing things and new business opportunities.

Galbraith says, “Marinas and shipyards are like a gateway to the environment to minimize the impact of vessels due to biofouling, maintenance and waste dumping, and New Zealand has been particularly innovative in this area, setting benchmarks under both the Clean Marina Program and the stringent environmental standards required to build or expand a new marina in recent years.” Regeneration projects continue at pace. Combined with a strong start-up culture and progressive environmental protection, the future of New Zealand’s marine industry looks bright.