The Right Honourable John Key opened the 13th Auckland International Boat Show at a function in the new Viaduct Events Centre on the evening of Wednesday, 14 September. It is believed to be the first time, a boat show in New Zealand has been opened by a prime minister.
The audience included marine industry representatives and members of the international superyacht arena, who have come to attend the inaugural Superyacht Captains Forum.
Taking the lead from MC Peter Montgomery, whose introduction had referred to his famous line: "The America's Cup is now New Zealand's Cup," Mr Key expressed the wish to see a new version: "The Rugby World Cup is now New Zealand's Cup."
Mr Key highlighted the research and development that makes the New Zealand marine industry an ongoing success on the world stage and said his Government was committed to supporting it. To the superyacht captains he said, "We encourage you to bring your owners to New Zealand."
The newly developed Viaduct Harbour is proving popular with boat show visitors and exhibitors, says Terry Bailey, who imports Arvor Boats from Europe. "I'm excited about the show," he says. "People have commented on the improved flow through the pavilions and the on-water marina. The venue is fantastic."
The Auckland International Boat Show has more than 200 yachts, launches and trailerboats on display, including a stunning new 55ft cruiser-racer, Equilibrium, designed by Botin Carkeek Yacht Design and built by Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders. She is built in carbon with a carbon mast, with twin helms and a lifting keel.
Another stunner and one of the biggest boats of the show is the 75ft, 40-tonne displacement powercat, Bucket List, exhibited by Alan and Karen Percy of Fibreglass Concepts in Whangarei. Powered by twin C12 705hp Caterpillar engines running through vee drives, the luxury vessel was designed by Steve Ekman and has five bathrooms, three helmstations, four decks and berths for 13 people.
Adventurous-minded visitors to the boat show will be inspired by the bright orange rowboat, Moana, due to embark on a bridge to bridge Tasman crossing from Sydney Harbour Bridge to Auckland Harbour Bridge, powered by the four-man Team Gallagher.
The team has received generous support from companies throughout the New Zealand marine industry, many of which are exhibiting at the show. This campaign aims to be the first team to row the Tasman Sea from west to east and the only human-powered vessel to round Cape Reinga.