The sheltered Waitematā Harbour has hosted trading and passenger vessels for hundreds of years, and the port has been at the heart of Auckland since the city was officially founded in 1840. The port has always been a key economic driver for Auckland city but as the city grows around us we recognise that our position can’t be taken for granted. We occupy prime CBD waterfront land and our activities can have a negative impact on our neighbours. Where once it was possible to wander down to the wharves, safety and security concerns now mean the public are kept out, severing the direct link between Aucklanders and their port.
We want to keep our external impacts low and give back to the community where we can. This is why, over time, we have opened up areas of the port that are no longer needed for freight activities. Most recently we have entered into negotiations to sell the Port of Onehunga. Manukau Harbour is too shallow for modern shipping, making the port at Onehunga unsuitable for freight operations and this land will be made available to Aucklanders, just as we have opened up Princes Wharf, Queens Wharf, the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter for public use and enjoyment.
We are committed to being open and transparent and engaging actively with our communities. We meet regularly with our neighbours on the Community Reference Group to discuss their concerns with them and tell them about port activities. This year has seen a focus on reducing noise from trucks and we are working on this in partnership with NZTA and National Road Carriers.
“We are committed to being open and transparent and engaging actively with our communities.”
As part of our commitment to help create a vibrant waterfront, we sponsor two major waterfront based events. We are proud sponsors of the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays where more than 25,000 Aucklanders – including around 900 port staff and family – run from the port to St Heliers for fun, fitness and to raise money for charities. We also sponsor the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, an iconic event which has been running for as long Auckland has existed. The port has long participated in the Regatta – most notably in the annual tug race – but in recent years we have become naming rights sponsor to give the event a firm footing.
In an effort to let more people see ‘behind the red fence’, we also host a port open weekend, SeePort, a three-day celebration of our port, shipping industry and maritime heritage during Auckland Anniversary weekend. This free family-friendly event is in its third year and attracts over 60,000 visitors to the port.
These big sponsorships are great, but it is often the smaller activities we sponsor that are the most satisfying. For example, we provide free port and harbour tours for Auckland schools in partnership with the New Zealand Maritime Museum. Some schools struggle to afford the cost of buses into town for their kids, so in a new initiative we use money raised from our paid school holiday port tours to cover the cost of transport for these schools.
Many kids in Auckland never get to go out on a boat in the Waitematā harbour and it is wonderful to see their faces when they get on the sea and up close to a big container ship for the first time.
DIRECTLY GENERATED BY THE CRUISE INDUSTRY IN 2015
Ports of Auckland also continues to play a key economic role in our city. We contribute directly as a business, generating dividends for use by the Council and providing work for around 600 staff directly and around 3,200 in the wider community. However the port’s main impact is as an economic facilitator. For example Auckland is the hub for the New Zealand cruise industry, which is enabled by the location of the port and international airport. It is estimated that in 2015 the cruise industry directly generated $119.4 million in Auckland plus a further $134.9m of value added (GDP) and 2,452 jobs in Auckland.
Overall, the regional economic role of Ports of Auckland, made up of the core activity of the business ($412 million) and the trade which is facilitated ($13.6 billion), jointly generated $14 billion in value added (GDP) in 2015, equivalent to 169,000 jobs. This represents 20 percent of economic activity in the Auckland economy in 2015.