Bay of Islands wins NZ marina of the year for 2019

Opua, Bay of Islands, marina judged best in New Zealand

Bay of Islands Marina in Opua has been named the best marina in New Zealand ahead of 50 other marinas and boatyards around the country.

The accolade was announced in Russell last week during the New Zealand Marina Operators Association annual conference.

Judges described the Opua facility as ”the pinnacle of the nation’s marina industry”.

They said they were impressed with its vision, forward thinking, design initiatives and focus on local and regional development.

About 100 marina operators took part in the conference at the Copthorne Hotel in Waitangi. Thursday night’s awards dinner was held at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was guest speaker.

Bay of Islands Marina is owned and operated by Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of the Far North District Council, and has just under 400 berths.

Stage one opened in 2000 as a private project with all berths quickly sold off so there was no space for boaties visiting from overseas. That meant most headed to other ports further south once they had cleared Customs, taking their spending money with them.

To rectify that, in 2017 Far North Holdings built stage 2 with an extra 149 berths, most of which are rented rather than sold. The lead contractor in the $10 million project was Opua-based Total Marine.

Earlier this year, Bay of Islands Marina was named the best marina of 2019-20 in the Asia-Pacific region by the Marina Industries Association. It was the first time the title had been won by a New Zealand marina.

In 2018, the general manager of Far North Holdings, Chris Galbraith, won the New Zealand Marina Operators’ Association award for outstanding individual contribution to the marina and boatyard industry.