Boating boom

A recent survey shows boating is New Zealand’s favourite recreational activity.

21 October 2022


Statistics from the NZ Marine Industry Association show boating is New Zealand’s largest recreational activity with 1.9 million, or 40 percent of New Zealand’s population, participating in boating each year.

That’s according to the latest statistics released by NZ Marine, which have revealed a NZ$2.9 billion dollar industry, more than 1,540,000 boats in New Zealand, and annual growth of an estimated 44,810 vessels per year.

“The marine industry is New Zealand’s largest non-agricultural, manufacturing industry,” says NZ Marine CEO, Peter Busfield.

“It’s an industry built on high tech design, industry-led training and passionate people.”

The survey results show substantial growth for the New Zealand marine industry – taking the total turnover from NZ$2.3 billion in 2019 to NZ$2.9 billion in the 12 month period to 31 March 2022.


“We’ve seen strong growth of 28 percent in the domestic market, as well as export growth of 26 percent,” Busfield continues.

“Given the challenges with material supply, international freight, and distribution disruptions worldwide, this growth is a credit to the more than 500 member companies of the NZ Marine Industry Association. As an industry, we can be proud of the substantial contribution we make to the New Zealand economy.”

While further industry growth is restricted in part by staff shortages, the industry-owned Marine and Specialised Technologies Training Academy (MAST) is able to mitigate the effects of this in part. The marine industry has 270 businesses employing and training 760 apprentices nationwide via MAST, however, Busfield says more apprentices are urgently needed.

After a two-year hiatus, NZ Marine is looking forward to supporting its members once again through staging the Auckland Boat Show, from 23 to 26 March, the largest on-water event planned for Auckland in 2023.

The event is the most extensive of its kind in New Zealand, held in the heart of central Auckland in Jellicoe Harbour, the former America’s Cup bases, and acts as a showcase for the newly-released vessels, new innovations and services from the marine industry.

After a period of strong industry growth, the show is expected to be one of the biggest held in over 20 years that it has been staged.

“Our high- tech industry is known globally for its manufacturing and design, and we also market New Zealand as the main South Pacific charter and refit base to international superyachts and cruising yachts as part of our export strategy.

This double-pronged approach has us on track to achieve our export revenue goal of NZ$1.4 billion by 2030.”

The NZ Marine Industry Association is formed of 500 member companies, representing over 80 per cent of total industry turnover. It supports the growth of the marine industry through exhibition events like the Auckland Boat Show, its apprentice training academy MAST, and member support and advocacy.

The association also represents its members on the global stage through targeted marketing strategies which take New Zealand’s capability to the world, and markets New Zealand as a refit, cruising and charter destination through industry events and media campaigns.



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