New marina brings new beginnings for Kaikōura

By Talisa Kupenga

A year on from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled, isolated and caused millions of dollars of damage in Kaikōura, the opening of a new marina brings a lifeline to the township to restore its vital tourism industry and hope amongst its locals. 

A new harbour, a new beginning, for the Kaikōura community. 

Rawiri Manawatu from Te Runanga o Kaikōura says, "Today is quite a big deal for the community, this place here is part of the economic infrastructure of Kaikōura." 

The quake raised seabed levels up to two metres in some places, restricting the launching and mooring of fishing ships to a small time frame and crippling businesses like Whale Watch Kaikōura. 

Whale Watch's head Kauahi Ngapora says, "We lost over 60-percent of our visitor volumes which had a corresponding impact in terms of our revenue so the last 12-months have been one of survival, adaption and challenge but thankfully we've managed to get to this point and we're looking forward to summer."

The $7mil upgrade will also allow small cruise ships to berth in the harbour. 

Kaikōura mayor Winston Gray says, "They've been saying to us over the years 'get the rocks out of your harbour and we'll come in', well we've done that now because of the quake because of the huge uplift of 1.5metres throughout the harbour, so we look forward to more tender boats off the cruise ships."

Locals say the harbour is the first step towards the communities revival and with the northern bound road due to open December 15, they look forward to the road ahead.