New Zealand’s weather makes for some robust boating! The standards of production and service are set very high to meet the vigorous sailing conditions off the beautiful New Zealand coastline. If you are tired of exploring the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, make way to one of the most beautiful and adventurous countries in the world! India Yacht Page dropped in at the Auckland On-Water Boat Show in September this year while exploring breath-taking New Zealand. Read on to find out what’s happening in the land down under and how the culture of boating shapes the economy as well as the youth of their nation.
The Boat Show:
The Auckland On-Water Boat Show held at the popular Viaduct Harbour proved the perfect venue for the annual celebration of all things marine! Boating enthusiasts checked out the latest paddleboards, personal watercraft (PWC or jet skis), kayaks and smaller sailing yachts alongside the big yachts and trailer boats for which this event is well-known. It is New Zealand’s biggest on-water boat show and is owned and managed by the New Zealand Marine Industry Association (NZMI) which returns any surplus back to the industry. The boat show marks the start of summer for boaties!
The new venue based around the Viaduct Events Centre offers fresh new exhibitor space, lounges for meeting clients, a café, and an easy route for visitors to follow as they go through all the pavilions and on-water exhibits. Activities at Emirates Team New Zealand and its America Cup 72 Catamaran were in close proximity and charged up the atmosphere. Restaurants and cafes around Viaduct Harbour had their busiest weekend and the show date proved perfect with the holiday season approaching.
The NZMI and Government Support:
The NZ marine industry contributes significantly to the country’s exports with high value-added new vessels and marine equipment worldwide. Its quality refit and maintenance services for visiting yachts are a great boost to the industry and gain the country valuable foreign exchange earnings. Marine manufacturing represents 10% of NZ’s total manufacturing exports. On average, every person working in marine manufacturing generates $66,235 per year towards the GNP compared to an average of $35,636 generated by a person in the tourism sector. By making this level of contribution the industry enjoys government support. The Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Finance have released a plan to strengthen NZ’s export markets and Auckland’s maritime infrastructure with additional super- yacht berthage.
Infrastructure Development and Efforts of the NZ Marine Export Group:
Auckland Council has confirmed $7 million to go towards facilities at Silo Marina, in the Wynyard Quarter area. There will be additional berths including one capable of berthing a vessel upto 120m or two 60m vessels. The next stage of development will soon build six large super-yacht berths.This funding has been a crucial milestone in the 30 year plan for the revitalization of the Auckland water front. This will enable Auckland to maintain a foothold in the fast-growing, billion dollar super-yacht refit market. Promoting large-size refit facilities attracts super-yachts from around the world.
Since super-yachts are foreign flagged vessels they represent an export market. New Zealand’s location is often seen as a disadvantage, but in actual it’s a great asset. The new buzzword in the world of boating is ‘remote cruising’ – more adventurous than the soft journeys of the Mediterranean but less edgy than full-on expedition cruising to the higher latitudes. The South Pacific is perfect for super-yachts seeking bluer pastures since they are able to travel extended distances. NZ not only provides skills in refit but is also a fantastic place to explore.
Of the 4,200 super yachts worldwide, 5% come to the Pacific and only 1.5% visit NZ. Tourism dollars are often directed towards cruise ships because they bring in 400 people who spend $200 on an average for a day. However, a super-yacht stay averages four months with a spend of over half a million. The NZ Marine Export Group works at educating owners, captains, charter managers and boat management companies about NZ as a boating destination as it not only brings work to the refit industry but the non-marine sector as well.
Trade and Industry Education:
Trade skills and life skills go together and attaining an apprenticeship can bring out the best in a young person. Another proposal that the government looks at and supports is tertiary education including the apprenticeship training model already followed by the NZ Marine Industry Training Organization (NZ Marine ITO). The training program attracts apprentices from all over the world. NZ Marine ITO graduates are highly regarded and sought after around the world.
Also, from 2013, for the first time, students in NZ will be able to start a Bachelor of Engineering in Maritime Engineering on home shores. Most Kiwi yacht designers are self-taught, learn under the auspices of an established designer, or, complete their studies offshore. Many yacht design and naval architect positions with NZ super yacht builders and companies are filled in from offshore, indicating shortage for this type of training. The initiative of NZ Marine ITO aims at teaching more than a trade with full mentoring and monitoring.
The Spirit of Adventure Trust provides the youth of NZ a character development program through sail training. They have taken thousands of youngsters to sea on a voyage of self-discovery. Whether it’s a flagship 10 day program or specially designed voyages, participants are given equal opportunity to develop from each other skills in communication, leadership, self-discipline, resilience, co-operation, confidence and tolerance. 40 trainees between the ages of 15 and 18 come from all over NZ to share the challenge of 10 days. They leave with a new set of skills, a huge sense of achievement and loads of new friends.
Learning to sail a tall ship is only a small part of the program. On the last day trainees elect their own crew and work as a team to sail the ship unaided to its final anchorage. The trust welcomes support in the form of sponsorship of trainees, donations, sale of merchandise and volunteers who sail on every voyage as watch assistants and leading hands.
The NZ marine industry is well known for building award winning super-yachts. Their capabilities are far better than anyone when it comes to big boats. Auckland boatyard Yachting Developments launched one of the largest composite sailing catamarans in June. ‘Quintessential’ measures 30.48m (100 ft) in length and 14.63m (48ft) in beam.
The 67.2m (219.8ft) Vertigo, built by Alloy Yachts and the largest yacht built in the southern hemisphere was the leading winner at the 2012 Show Boats Design Awards in Monaco on 22nd June. Vertigo won the 40m plus category and the 30m Antares built by Yachting Developments won the 30-40m category.
The 2012 Olympic Games was also a huge achievement for yacht designer Greg Elliott, whose Elliott 6m became the first New Zealand design at the games, as the women’s keelboat. The leading 470 yachts at the Olympics were built by McKay Boatbuilders in Silverdale, Auckland.
To conclude, I would personally like to thank NZMI executive Ron Brown, Chairman of Refit Group, who I met at the Altex Yacht & Boat Paint stall, for his kind assistance and for providing valuable insight into New Zealand’s Boating industry. We hope to establish some profitable business networks in the near future.