Kōpū marine servicing and business precinct

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Kōpū is well positioned to take advantage of a growing marine servicing industry, situated between three major cities, and on the doorstep of a major recreational fishing playground and regionally and nationally significant aquaculture industry

Latest Update March 2022: 

The processing of the fast track consent for Kōpū Business and Marine Precinct project has reached a positive milestone, with news that Option 2 (the commercial wharf and recreational boat ramp) can be built.


Minutes were published to the EPA website saying that the independent panel can consider Option 2 (the wharf and boat ramp) as Regionally Significant Infrastructure, which means it can go ahead.

The next step is the panel now provides copies of its draft conditions to the applicant and every person who provided comment on the application and invites comment from those parties on its draft conditions. There is a five-day timeframe to provide those comments.

The panel have also asked for a plan of the wetland that is overlaid with the MHWS, so our project ecology team is preparing that now.

The panel are still hoping to meet the Wednesday 9 March deadline, but depending on comments received on draft conditions, there may be a small extension of time.


Site plan:

Kopu Site Plan

Project timeline.

2020 - $8.2m approved by the government for the development of a marine and business precinct in Kōpū 

2018 - A feasibility study for Kōpū was completed and an application to the central government Provincial Growth Fund for a business case to progress the project was approved.

2015 -  Kōpū  Doing Business Better programme was launched. A working group was established with representation from our staff, NZTA, Waikato Regional Council ,iwi and the Kōpū  Landowners Association. In conjunction with BECA, a professional services consultancy, it has produced a draft Kopu Develoment concept plan. The draft Kōpū  Development Concept Plan which has been submitted to Council's Proposed District Plan. 

2014 - With input from the Working Group, BECA produced a draft Kōpū Development Concept Plan - Stage 1 Report which was presented to Kōpū  businesses on 5 March 2014 for their comment and submission to the Proposed District Plan prior to 14 March 2014. Thames Community Board submitted to the Proposed District Plan in favor of the concept plan. This concept plan is intended to be a development framework which will form an additional layer of detail to the Kōpū  to Thames Structure Plan.

2013  - A survey of Kōpū  business operators was conducted which helped identify infrastructure and service needs and ideas for the Kōpū  business park upgrade and gateway concept. The survey resulted in the Kōpū Concept Plan Analysis Summary. 


In August 2020 the government funded $8.2 million towards revamping the marine-servicing infrastructure and create new economic development opportunities.

This project is being supported from the $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ fund set aside in Budget 2020 to kick-start the post COVID-19 economic recovery.

This will not only support employment in the Thames township, it will also provide alternative marine-servicing options for vessels from the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.

It will have immediate benefits for the local community by creating up to 13 jobs in the short-term. Another 19 jobs will be created through the precinct’s construction, with potential for up to 108 downstream jobs when the project is complete.

It is estimated that the Kōpū Marine Precinct could bring economic returns of up to $58.5 million over the next 30 years. It brings fresh opportunities to the boat repair and maintenance, aquaculture, trade and transport industries.

“We’re breaking out the bubbly to celebrate,” says Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Kōpū has been a prime site we’ve been promoting for business opportunities for some time and we’re grateful to the government for recognising the potential and opportunities this area has.”

“This is not just good news for us and our neighbours, but also in boosting potential Maori economic development opportunities for Ngati Maru in the longer term as Treaty settlements are finalised over the next few years.,” says Mayor Sandra. “This also complements the Te Ariki Wahi/Sugarloaf Wharf project, which also benefitted from Provincial Growth Funding (PGF) of $19.95million to expand the wharf for the marine industry, in a joint venture between our Council, the Coromandel Marine Farmers (CoroMFA) and the Crown.”

The $8,2million funding for Kōpū will go towards planning and construction of a new access road, upgraded boat ramp and car park. A floating pontoon and mud berth – which allows boats to rest on the seabed – will facilitate in-water servicing and dismantling.

While the project provides new commercial opportunities, it also features upgrades that will benefit recreational users and will enable the continued use of Kōpū by the community.

“Kōpū already has excellent connections to Tauranga, Auckland and Hamilton and a good foundation of existing marine-related businesses. This project will enhance and diversify local economic opportunities while improving the resilience of the marine industry


In December 2018 central government through the Provincial Growth Fund approved $270,000 towards a business case began investigating Kōpū  as a centre to support marine servicing operations across the Hauraki Gulf, as well as being a connector for water-based tourism opportunities – connecting across the Hauraki Gulf as well as through to the Paeroa Wharf .

  • This project sits within Councill's wider "Productivity Plan" aimed at improving the economic outcomes for our District. Some of the outcomes of the is to produce tangible benefits for the community, including employment and improved use of Māori assets. It will focus on ensuring the protection and enhancement of our District’s natural features, while ensuring productive assets can be managed sustainably into the future, considering the potential effects of climate change..
  • Through market research and feasibility testing, talking to Iwi, key stakeholders, users, marine construction industry and others, the business case provided a robust and realistic investment ready option at a level of detail that provides high degree of certainty.  This included design plans, consenting information and on-going overhead costs.

Why is the facility being built?

The project is focused on marine servicing at the Kōpū Marine Precinct to increase productivity and reduce the barriers to entry for service providers, attracting new businesses to the area, enabling economic growth and jobs.  

The project also provides for diversification and resilience by creating all tide loading facilities for servicing vessels including (but not limited to) marine farming barges at Kōpū with excellent roading infrastructure connection to Tauranga, Auckland and Hamilton.

What does it include?

Once built the infrastructure will consist of:

  • An 80m long commercial wharf and floating pontoon enabling in-water marine servicing and vessel loading;
  • An expanded, unsealed haul out area and upgrade to Quay Street entrance, suitable for truck deliveries and boat haulage to hardstands within the marine precinct;
  • An upgraded, concrete reinforced slipway;
  • Formation of a new access road (King Street);

A public boat ramp and car park for recreational trailer boat users to provide safe separation from commercial activities.Who does it cater for?

This project primarily carers for the Marine servicing industry, providing infrastructure to enable growth of marine servicing businesses in Kōpū and further afield.  Some examples of Marine servicing include:

  • Marine engineering and manufacturing companies
  • Boat maintenance and builders
  • Boat de-fouling businesses
  • Marine electricians, upholsters, mechanics,
  • Boat haulage companies
  • Marine logistics and parts
  • Marine retail

How much did it cost?

Government have provided 100% funding for the project at $8.2M.  This funding has been allocated to the various components of the project including:

  1. Enhance marine servicing and supporting businesses to the area (40%) 
  2. Retain freight use and provide infrastructure resilience to the Aquaculture Industry (30%)
  3. Help enable tourism, recreation, emergency services to access water safely (20%)
  4. Unity of investment direction with our community, Iwi and stakeholders (10%)

Who will own and manage it?

TCDC will be the asset owner.  Management of the facility will be undertaken through a qualified maritime company.  Expressions of interest will be sought for an appropriate management company to operate the facility on behalf of Council and the users. 

Will there be space for recreational boats?

Yes, one of the key outcomes of the project is to ensure separation of the recreational and commercial operations to address health and safety risks and operational issues.  The formation of King Street will provide public access to a dedicated public recreational boat ramp and parking area.  A barrier and gate will segregate the recreational and commercial areas. 

What about commercial use?

A wharf and floating pontoon is proposed to enable in-water marine servicing and vessel loading; 

An expanded, unsealed haul out area is proposed as well as an upgrade to Quay Street entrance to facilitate truck deliveries and boat haulage to hardstands within the marine precinct; 

The existing slipway will be upgraded and sealed to help with commercial boat launching and retrieval.

Will there be any fees/charges to use it?

There will be fees and charges set for use of the new facility for both commercial and recreational users. 

What’s the benefits of having this facility?

The projected benefits to be gained from this development are identified as: 

  • Enable existing marine operations to be met 
  • Reduce the conflict between commercial and recreational facility operations 
  • Meet future demands for servicing of aquaculture and charter vessels 
  • Growth in aquaculture servicing needs 
  • Growth in recreational and charter fishing 
  • Providing resilience for the aquaculture industry 
  • Stimulate economic growth in the Thames-Coromandel and surrounding districts by: 
    • Creating opportunities for partnerships with Iwi, community, and public/private sectors 
    • Generating sustainable, skilled employment opportunities for locals and attract workers to the district, increasing productivity 

Are iwi supportive? 

The project has been in partnership with Ngati Maru who have been involved since the Business Case was undertaken in 2018.  Iwi have contributed and informed the design of the facility and are providing a Cultural Impact Assessment to help with the Resource Consenting stage of the project.