Council’s work to rebuild wharves, port and marine precinct on track

Published on August 05, 2022

Te Puwaha Project Director Hayden Turoa speaks at community open day.jpg

Consents to build wharves and a marine hardstand have been granted to Whanganui District Council and the community is well engaged in a conversation on dredging and reclamation to inform upcoming resource consent, as part of Te Pūwaha: Whanganui’s Port Revitalisation.

In an update to the council on Tuesday, 2 August, the port project team outlined how the repair and rebuild of 424 meters of wharves will increase the capacity for larger vessels to berth. This is expected to bring increased revenue potential with freight, offshore working boats and fishing vessel owners who wish to make use of the Whanganui Port all showing interest.

As well as rebuilding and upgrading wharves 2 and 3 to enable commercial marine activities to safely operate, the redevelopment includes building a 3000 square meter concrete hardstand and runway suitable for a 150 tonne mobile boat hoist to enable boats weighing up to 380 tonnes to be lifted in and out of the water.

Whanganui District Council port project manager, Rosemary Fletcher, says, “With the council’s portion of work on the port redevelopment more than halfway complete, and two out of three key consents granted, our preparations to go to market and begin building the wharves are nearing completion.”

Te Pūwaha project is being delivered in a way that gives effect to the Te Awa Tupua Act (Whanganui River Claims Settlement Act 2017). This has included a strong focus on bringing the community in to be part of the project. This project is a role model for how the council, hapū and the community can work together.

Hapū collective Te Mata Pūau is leading the Te Pūwaha project in partnership with the council, and, applying Tupua Te Kawa, the innate values of Te Awa Tupua, to ensure that hapū members and the wider community are actively engaged in how the project is delivered.

Through this, community input has informed the next consent to be filed, which is resource consent for planned dredging and the proposed reclamation.

Dredging the port basin area is essential to build and maintain the port. Improved dredging capability will also enhance the local boat building and marine industry, ensuring Whanganui’s marine precinct thrives into the future.

The project partners directly engaged with businesses, community groups and people who live near the port. There have also been opportunities for the community to share their thoughts online via the council’s “Have Your Say” channel earlier this year, which saw 73 percent of respondents in favour of dredging.

Added to this, the community has joined the conversation in person in large numbers. At an open day in July more than 250 people toured the port site and met with the council and Te Pūwaha project partners: Te Mata Pūau; Q-West Boat Builders, Horizons Regional Council and the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust.

The open day was an opportunity to hear in person how Te Pūwaha as a project works in accordance with Tupua te Kawa, the value system of Te Awa Tupua. For example, indivisibility is a key strength of Tupua te Kawa and the project is committed to inclusivity and engagement with the whole community. 

Rosemary Fletcher says, “We were thrilled that so many people were enthusiastic to learn more about Te Pūwaha, and how the awa, and working in this collaborative way are integral to the project.”

“The community has been really generous in adding their voice to the conversation. This has informed our application for resource consent, which is critical to getting this work underway.”

Another key milestone is the establishment of two new entities in order to access the $12.5M in project funding that the Government (through Kānoa - RDU) has agreed to contribute. This includes the creation of a Council Controlled Organisation called the Whanganui Port Limited Partnership, which is funded by the Harbour Endowment Fund and port operations.

The Whanganui Port Limited Partnership now owns and operates the port and its assets previously owned by the council.

Whanganui District Council, chief executive David Langford, says, “The council’s work to revitalise the port, as part of Te Pūwaha, is firmly on track. In a large scale infrastructure project like this, with several partners across several sectors, setting up a clear organisational structure is important in keeping matters related to funding and finances clear.”

It is anticipated that, from later in 2022, port operations and the continued delivery of the council’s portion of Te Pūwaha project work will be managed through this entity.

The application for dredging consent is set to be filed in August. If it is approved in 2022, dredging is anticipated to begin in the first few months of 2023. The tender for the contract to build the wharfs will go to market when all consents have been granted, with work anticipated to begin building the wharves set to begin towards the end of 2022.  

Find out more about Te Pūwaha, the Whanganui Port revitalisation project


  • Te Pūwaha stands as a description for the entire Whanganui Port revitalisation project. The project is being conducted in line with Tupua te Kawa, the innate value set of Te Awa Tupua, under the leadership of its hapū toward a whole of community approach.
  • Te Pūwaha is a collaborative partnership between Whanganui hapū and iwi and the four other groups invested in the development. These are Whanganui District Council, Horizons Regional Council, Q-West Boat Builders and the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust. 
  • Te Pūwaha would like to acknowledge Te Awa Tupua and its communities, who are integral to the port revitalisation project.  
  • The total investment in Te Pūwaha is over $50 million, with the infrastructure works carried out over three tranches or phases. This includes a $26.75 million government investment managed by Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit, with the remaining cost and resources covered by Whanganui District Council, Horizons Regional Council, Q-West Boat Builders, and the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust (Port Employment Precinct). 
  • Upon completion of Te Pūwaha, Whanganui will have a modern purpose built marine precinct, securing the Whanganui Port as a community asset for the next 50 years, and beyond. 


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