Kōpū marine servicing and business precinct

Operation Kopu banner

Kōpū has the potential to play a major marine servicing/supporting node for the north island with a strategic advantage leveraging off its location, cheaper land, and a well-established supporting industrial area, highly accessible by a large labour force

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

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,


This project sits within Councill's wider "Productivity Plan" aimed at improving the economic outcomes for our District. Some of the outcomes is to produce tangible benefits for the community, including employment and improved use of Māori assets. .  

Other key objectives of the business case investment met:

  1. Sustainable investment opportunities that are alihged with iwi cultural values.
  2. Environmental improvements
  3. Adaptive design for climate change
  4. Complementary and supporting existing aquaculture industry
  5. Well defined infrastructure supporting a range of users
  6. Future proofed infrastructure

The Kopu Marine Servicing and Business project fulfils a purpose which is will be complementary to the expansion of the Sugarloaf Wharf (led by the Coromandel Marine Farmers Association (CoroMFA) for commercial aquaculture . You can read more about this project here.

Building business in Kopu - the background

Kopu is the gateway (Kaiwhenua) to the Coromandel and is centrally located to three major cities (Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga), New Zealand's two busiest ports and Auckland international airport.

This area has the potential to become:

  • A perfect location for small to medium commercial and industrial businesses
  • An attractive service and information centre upon entry to the Coromandel
  • A worthy recreational destination with access to the Hauraki Rail Trail, Waihou River walking trails, the Kopu marine precinct, heritage features (Cooks memorial and old Kopu Bridge (subject to its future) and other recreational facilities

Kopu Business Ad

(Click on image to open larger version)

If you're interested in setting up a business at Kopu or want to talk business opportunities on the Coromandel, email our Economic Development Programme Manager Colleen Litchfield, colleen.litchfield@tcdc.govt.nz


Project timeline.

2020 - A revised application submitted to the Provincial Growth Fund.

2019 - Business case completed, A second Provincial Growth Fund application submitted towards consent and build was declined.

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

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

2014 - With input from the Working Group, BECA produced a draft Kopu Development Concept Plan - Stage 1 Report which was presented to Kopu 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 Kopu to Thames Structure Plan.

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