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Watch NZH Local Focus: Revamping the Whanganui Port

Zaryd Wilson

It is currently unloved and under-utilised, but the Government is bankrolling a strategy to turn Whanganui Port into a regional hub for marine, industrial and recreational activity.

"Everyone's often looked at the port and seen this thing that's been ticking over for two - three decades, slowly declining in its infrastructure and really not bringing in a lot of money to Whanganui," mayor Hamish McDouall said.

But that could change with a $500,000 feasibility study which aims to bring life back to the port.

"I guess what this project is trying to do is come back to that time when it was a really vibrant and meaningful part of Whanganui," Urban designer Henry Crothers, who is working on the plan, said.

Q-West Boat builders say they need the port revamp to be able to grow and have committed their own money to re-locate there.

And the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce supports the public/private partnership as a way to boost the district's economy.

"I love it that you go to Auckland and you see people jumping on the ferry and it's Te Kotuku and you know it's made in Whanganui," chief executive Marianne Archibald said.
"It's really good for us, it's good for reputation, it's great for jobs."

Mr McDouall said the port project was well supported by councillors.

"The other option is you close the port and we'll never get it back.

"The fact is no new ports will ever be built in New Zealand - the sheer capital cost of that is just too great so we may as well retain what we have."

Whanganui Council has already started work on Wharf One and a plan for the port is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Made with funding from NZ On Air.

- NZ Herald

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