New NZ marine hub

Tauranga Harbour Marine Precinct is an $11.4 million project that will make this waterfront destination a thriving boat building and refit hub on the Bay of Plenty.

Photography by HEB/Tauranga City Council

25 March 2017


The Tauranga Harbour Marine Precinct is a $11.4m project to deliver a purpose-built marine servicing facility at Sulphur Point. The precinct will provide a base for boat building and refit businesses in Tauranga City, and will be managed by Tauranga City Council (TCC) under the Vessel Works brand.

According to NZ Tourism, Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty and one of the fastest growing population centres in the country. It is also just a 15 minute drive from one of New Zealand’s most popular beach towns, Mount Maunganui.


By end of 2017 (stage 1 development), the Marine Precinct will include lots in a range of sizes for marine businesses, a 6300-square metre vessel storage area (hardstand), deep-water marina berths for large vessels and New Zealand’s largest vessel hoist/travel-lift (350 tonne haulage capacity and extra-wide at 12m wide and 45m long). Construction began early October 2016.
The hoist is being built by Cimolai Technology in their premises in Italy and all is going to plan with the manufacturing of its parts. Most large steel elements were completed late last year. Work is now well advanced on installing the electrics and the hydraulic systems.

The machine parts will be shipped directly to the Port of Tauranga, for final assembly at the Marine Precinct. Delivery will be timed to align with the completion of the heavy pavement hardstand.
The development of the Marine Precinct will support and boost a marine sector already leading the way internationally in craftsmanship, composites and especially innovation.
The vision is for Tauranga to become a regional hub for marine activities, with world-class facilities and services. Having the largest capacity vessel hoist/travel-lift in New Zealand will bring unprecedented opportunities to the local marine industry. The central location of the precinct and its direct connection to the strategic transport network are an added bonus, making it the ideal spot for marine businesses large and small.

After a successful tender process, six marine businesses acquired lots in the Marine Precinct, signing sale and purchase agreements with the Council on 30 June 2016. The owners of lots within stage 1 development of the precinct are Hutcheson Boatbuilders (lots 9 &10), Pachoud Yachts (lot 5), Pacific 7 (lot 4), RMD Marine (lots 2 & 3), SMF Engineering (lot 12) and Super Yacht Coatings International (lot 7).

Together these businesses cover a wide spread of specialities, from fibre-glassing to marine engineering, vessel painting and timber decking to composite building, a specialised workboat fleet and a fishing fleet. This means increased potential for collaboration among precinct occupiers and with other marine businesses in the area. This is the first step in the Marine Precinct’s strategy of providing a one-stop-shop for customers getting their vessels serviced in Tauranga.

Mount Maunganui-based HEB Construction is leading the Marine Precinct primary works.

HEB is one of the leading civil construction companies in New Zealand, and is very experienced in marine infrastructure, having worked on marinas and ports around the country, including the extension of Tauranga’s own port in 2013. HEB will deliver the 6,300 square metre heavy-duty hardstand (pavement), a new concrete wharf, a lifting bay complete with runways for the vessel hoist, seawall armour rock protection, access roads and other core infrastructure services to the new lots. HEB took over the site early October 2016.

Tauranga has just hosted the NZ Marine Industry Conference 2017, 22 to 24 March, featuring a diverse line up of speakers, attracting marine industry professionals from across the country, including Doug Leeder, chairman of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council who co-fund the Marine Precinct project, Jim McManaway, chairman of the Tauranga Marine Industry Association, Fiona McTavish, General Manager Strategy & Science at the Regional Council and Phil Wardale, Marine Precinct Project Director.

Phil Wardale is a marine consultant based in Auckland who provided input into the business case which was successful in gaining $5 million regional infrastructure funding from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the marine industry and will split his time between his consultancy work in Auckland and the Tauranga project.

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