Industry value verified

New figures show the New Zealand marine industry has hit NZ$3 billion in value.

17 August 2023


The latest statistics released at the 2023 NZ Marine Industry Association conference in Tauranga shows the marine industry is now worth $3 billion annually to the New Zealand economy, achieving around NZ$2.2 billion in local sales, and NZ$800 million in exports.

This was among new statistics that showed the size and growth of the industry released at the recent NZ Marine industry conference by Executive Director Peter Busfield.

Other new statistics showed the number of apprentices in boatbuilding and related trades has reached 650, and more than 5,500 boats are expected to be built this year – the vast majority trailer boats between 3.5 and 8 metres.

“These are exciting times, and no doubt some major developments lie ahead,” said Busfield. “One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is how much Kiwis value their boating healthy lifestyle — 1.9 million people are regularly out on the water making boating New Zealand’s most popular recreational activity.


“Our industry is in good heart, and we’re ready to push ahead into the future and build on our tradition of innovation and success.”

Experts on the Powering up Boating panel at the NZ Marine conference included John McGettigan (Earthling), Darren Vaux (ICOMIA), Michael Eaglen (EV Maritime), Chris Howard (Naiad), Lindsay Faithfull (McKay/Naut), Bobby Kleinschmit (Emirates Team New Zealand) and Colin Mitchell (Q-West Boatbuilders).

More than 130 people involved in the industry from throughout New Zealand and Australia came together in Tauranga in August for two days of presentations, panel discussions, networking, and brainstorming focusing on what boating and the marine industry will look like in 2034.

Attendees brought with them innovative ideas, and the conference vibe demonstrated the New Zealand marine industry is in good heart and is facing an exciting future. In opening the conference, President Garry Lock said, it was great to finally have so many of the industry gathered to celebrate successes and look into the future.

“Although we have remained a tight group throughout all the disruptions of the past few years, it was fantastic to finally be back together in one place, talking about all aspects of our industry,” Lock says.

“This year we had a real focus on sharing ideas and talking about the common challenges we face and opportunities — coming up with some innovative solutions to take the industry strongly into the future.”

Keynote speakers at the event included Darren Vaux, president of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), and Andrew Fielding, president of Australia’s Boating Industry Association, who shared valuable insights from a global perspective.

There was also great interest in a panel session by representatives of marine companies active in the alternative power-source field, such as hydrogen and electric power, and new exciting boating forms such as foiling.

At the NZ Marine 2023 conference were BIA Australia President Andrew Fielding, NZ Marine Membership and Communications Manager Caroline Gibson, NZ Marine President Garry Lock, ICOMIA President Darren Vaux, NZ Marine Executive Director Peter Busfield and Conference MC Ross Blackman.

“For many companies, these technologies are going to be the way of the future, so it was interesting to hear what’s already happening and what might lie ahead,” Busfield said.

That focus on the future was also evident in the Boating in 2034 breakout session, where delegates were tasked with brainstorming challenges around key issues affecting the future of the industry, such as the impacts of political, environmental, and economic issues, generational changes in boating use, and opportunities provided by new technologies and manufacturing methods.

“Some of the key themes coming through were an increase in boat-sharing, syndication or chartering for recreational use, increasing use of technology on board to enhance the boating experience, and environmental awareness,” said Busfield.

“The new generation of boaties want quick and easy access to go boating, cleaner power sources, and sustainable build materials in the boats they are using. They are also interested in maximising technology to achieve those goals.”

Also at the conference, NZ Marine presented its international and local events and promotions planned for the next 12 months, ensuring export and local sales growth opportunities for New Zealand manufacturers.

The industry is also facing technological changes in manufacturing processes, which will mean its 100 percent-owned Marine and Specialised Technology Academy training arm (MAST Academy) will continue to provide state-of-the-art industry-led apprenticeship training, providing good career pathways for school leavers and older learners alike.

The NZ marine industry is world-leading in many aspects, and the 520 member companies of the NZ Marine Industry Association continue to collaborate and work together to pioneer new boatbuilding methods and indeed new forms of boating.

The event was made possible through the support of the following companies: Headline sponsors Abbott Insurance Brokers and MAST Academy Supporting sponsors: Onfire Design, Electronic Navigation Ltd, Yessss Ltd, Manaaki Marine, Tenob Marine, Boating New Zealand Magazine, RSM New Zealand, Altex Yacht & Boat Paint, Q-West Boat Builders, NZ Marine Export Group.



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