Māori-owned business Whale watch Kaikoura helps fund Harbour restoration

Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced additional funding of $700,000 for the restoration of Kaikōura Harbour, bringing the government’s total contribution to $5.7 million.

Two major commercial operators, Whale Watch Kaikōura and Encounter Kaikōura, have been working with the Kaikōura District Council and the Crown and have also agreed to help fund the harbour’s restoration.

Whale Watch Kaikoura General Manager Kauahi Ngapora says, “Kaikōura is a strong community that has pulled together through the adversity of last year’s quake. Whale Watch Kaikoura is happy to play a part in supporting this essential work to ensure the Kaikōura Harbour is restored to the same functionality as before.”

Brownlee says the collaborative approach between local and central government and business operators will mean this essential facility will be better than it was before the magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

An initial $5 million government contribution to repairs was announced in December after the earthquake rendered the harbour unusable outside high tide.

Browlee says, “With this additional funding we’re well on track to getting the harbour fully up and running again by October.

“The harbour is an essential part of infrastructure for Kaikōura, providing livelihoods for the operators and supporting businesses and the platform for a world renowned tourist experience.

 “It’s been a huge job. Massive amounts of material were dredged and removed after the seabed was raised by up to 2m in places by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

“The additional funding will restore the four berths and jetty, which are vital to the operations of the whale and dolphin watching tourist ventures.

“Knowing the facilities will be restored and enhanced provides a welcome platform for operators to support further development.

Ngaropa says now that an agreement has been reached on the restoration of the Kaikoura Harbour, they can now focus their efforts on the critical task of visitor recovery, and restoring visitor flows to Kaikoura.

“We are grateful to be able to provide support for essential work, which rebuilds infrastructure that is key to the employment of many people in the region, and which provides a gateway for the tens of thousands of visitors to Kaikōura each year.”

The plan forward for the restoration of the Kaikoura Harbour provides certainty for Whale Watch Kaikōura and other operators. They can now plan for next season, safe in the knowledge that the harbour will be ready in time.