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Marine sector hopeful tide turning on absence of superyachts

superyacht berthed in Auckland

Some skippers are keeping thier superyachts in the country for refits.
Photo: Supplied / NZ Marine Industry Association

The Marine Industry Association says more superyachts than expected have arrived since the sea border reopened just three months ago.

It has clocked the arrival of 20 such vessels in New Zealand, with many staying for refits.

The association’s chief executive Peter Busfield said many captains have decided to stop here instead of sailing to Australia.

“We’re getting the low lying fruit, boats that were in the Panama Canal, Tahiti and Fiji probably destined for Australia. Since we opened up, with our marketing we’ve been able to lure them to New Zealand.”

A superyacht berthed in Auckland

A superyacht moored in Auckland.
Photo: Supplied / NZ Marine Industry Association

Busfield said another five superyachts were expected to arrive this month, before the December hurricane season throughout Fiji and Tahiti.

He said New Zealand’s reputation as a destination for superyachts was marred by the closed border, and the fact that more than 100 vessels expected to arrive here for the America’s Cup had to return to home ports.

“New Zealand hasn’t been the favoured destination due to our restrictions so we’ve got a job to do to say we are a welcoming country and there’s no Covid restrictions.”

Busfield said many captains were not aware the country’s maritime border had reopened and Covid-19 restrictions have eased.

He recently travelled to the US and attended a boat show in Florida to help promote New Zealand as a superyacht sanctuary.

“We had meetings with influencers who then spread the news to superyacht owners and to captains that New Zealand is open and that we’ve got wineries and lodges and golf courses and trout fishing and deer hunting to excite them to come to New Zealand as an adventure playground.”

Half of the world’s 7000 superyachts are owned by Americans, and Busfield said the Marine Industry Association was aiming to attract 60 of those to New Zealand next year.

“We’ve got capacity and we’re taking it upon us to market to the world to get the boats here.”

Busfield said Auckland was one of the few cities with spare superyacht marinas, while Whangārei, Opua and Tauranga also have refit yards.

Oceania Marine this week opened a new superyacht haul out and refit facility in Whangārei.

The Oceania Marine new Superyacht haul out and refit facility officially opened in Whangarei.  Mayor of Whangarei Vince Cocurullo and MP Emily Henderson assist with the cutting of ribbon.

The cutting of the ribbon signals the opening of the facility.
Photo: Supplied / NZ Marine Industry Association

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