A 30-year dream of Ngati Kahungunu to own and fish with a commercial fishing vessel based in its own area has been realised with the arrival of 34m stern trawler the Glomfjord.
Berthed at Napier Port late on Sunday morning and heading for the Chatham Rise tomorrow, the Glomfjord is a factory vessel which owners Pania Fisheries, a 50/50 joint venture between Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc and Napier-based Hawke's Bay Seafoods, intend will provide up to 80 jobs based mainly in Hawke's Bay.
Built in Norway where it was launched in 1992, named after a fishing town, and bought in Denmark for $3.5 million in November last year, it arrived in New Zealand when it berthed in Nelson five months ago.
Having fished mainly the North Sea, it was refurbished for New Zealand conditions after a journey which stretched into five months with delays en route to England, in Spain and then Panama, and has fished hoki quota off the West Coast of the South Island for the last two months.
Iwi and Pania Fisheries chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana, who voyaged on the Glomfjord in the first leg of the delivery voyage, on which his son was an engineer, said the iwi had dreamed since the introduction of the quota management in 1986 that it would be able to get into significant commercial fishing with its own vessel.
And there could be more.
At the dockside yesterday Mr Tomoana said: "We know all about shellfish and diving, but what we haven't known a lot about is commercial fishing."
The iwi hopes that while carrying out its regular role of deep-sea fishing, catching up to 40 tonnes a day and capable of holding up to 120 tonnes of frozen fish or 100 tonnes fresh, the Glomfjord will be a catalyst for the training of fishermen and women and mariners from Hawke's Bay.
The delivery, including the Pacific crossing, used a minimum required complement of retired Hawke's Bay skipper Mike Fry and a crew of five, including first mate and first and second engineers.
It was delivered to Napier with a similar crew, headed by Nelson skipper Roger Connolly, who came out of a three-year retirement from a 35-year career in fishing boats to work the hoki season with the Glomfjord off the West Coast.
At peak, at sea for up to a fortnight at a time, it will have two rotating crews of about 10, including the vessel operation team and a fishing factory manager, but Mr Tomoana said at least 30 more jobs "on the ground" in Hawke's Bay would be created, because without the Glomfjord the catches would probably be increasingly discharged by other vessels in Auckland to be closer to export.
"The ultimate aim is to provide as many jobs as possible," said Mr Tomoana, whose Pania fisheries board includes Kahungunu Asset Holding Company chairman Rangi Manuel and former All Black captain Taine Randle, who both led the purchase project.
Another aim is the renaming of the trawler, to be called Kewa, but with fishing to be done that's still on the horizon. "In time," said Mr Tomoana.