Pontoon – Opua
Far North Holdings was asked by the local organisers of the 2019 Tuia – Encounters 250 commemorations of the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s first landfall in Aotearoa to provide a hosting and events platform for the regatta.
This is a legacy project which will support and encourage other revenue-generating events in the Bay of Islands, such as the recent Tall Ships Regatta and the Millennium Cup superyacht racing event held in conjunction with NZ Marine and ATEED.
It will also extend the way in which the Opua community is able to use the wharf. Far North Holdings intends for it to become another venue option for Opua community events and initiatives of all sizes.
“Along with the new and improved facilities at the marina we hope that the pontoon will become another drawcard that enables the local community to make better use of, and get improved enjoyment from, the Opua waterfront,” Mr Nock said.
The facility would also be a significant step forward in Far North Holdings’ strategy of developing the port into one of the South Pacific’s leading marine service hubs, Mr Nock said. This would generate additional and long-lasting employment, wealth creation opportunity and social benefit.
The pontoon will also enable the Bay of Islands to host and service superyachts to an extent that is simply not possible today.
The absence of purpose-built regional facilities limits the interest in New Zealand as a destination among superyacht owners and skippers and discourages them from cruising New Zealand waters.
Demand for this hosting and servicing is expected to be substantial in the lead up to, and during, the America’s Cup. There are more than 30 superyachts already registered to attend, and seeking berthage for, the America’s Cup build-up.
Around 160 superyachts are predicted to pour into New Zealand in the 2020-21 summer; each spending on average $2.7m during their stay, according to a report carried out by NZ Marine, the industry association.
It forecasts an injection of $436m into the New Zealand economy from superyacht owners, staff and guests during the Cup period.
The new concrete pontoon will be 120 metres long and four metres wide. It will sit to the eastern side of Opua Wharf and will extend out as far northwards as the existing boardwalk on the western side. Work is expected to be complete by the end of the year, subject to contractor availability and the programming of construction at Paihia and Russell wharves which will be the priority.
Mr Nock said it was “wonderful” to see meaningful, consultation-led regional investment and thanked the Minister and government officials for the confidence they have demonstrated in the district’s potential.
“For many years now there has been a lot of talk about how to address the economic imbalance in the regions, which included the Far North, and it is great to see this being addressed by government. And, more importantly, followed up on so quickly in a direct attempt to counter this imbalance,” he said.
In addition to managing Far North infrastructure on behalf of ratepayers, Far North Holdings promotes investment and employment across the district. It uses its assets and expertise to help local businesses and communities identify commercial potential and make the most of opportunities that come their way. Its focus is on maximising the economic potential of the Far North, for the benefit of all ratepayers.
For more than a decade 50 percent of FNHL’s trading surplus has been distributed to the Far North District Council or reinvested in property and infrastructure. Without this income general rates across the District would have been about four percent higher each year.