A ceremony steeped in tradition was held in Nelson yesterday to celebrate the launch of a boat that will change the face of commercial fishing in New Zealand.
The Santy Maria has been built for Ngati Awa fisherman Roger Rawlinson and is named after his mother, who started the business with his father Bill more than 25 years ago.
The state-of-the-art vessel is the first in Moana New Zealand’s $25-30 million fleet renewal project.
It has been designed by Australian company OceanTech, with the technical expertise and fishing experience of Westfleet CEO Craig Boote, and constructed to the highest specifications by Aimex Service Group in Nelson.
Moana supports fishers and the sustainable future of the commercial fishing industry initially through transitional funding, and in the long term through quota parcels, in the biggest fleet renewal of its kind since the 1970s.
Designed specifically to suit New Zealand’s conditions, the new vessel is more fuel efficient, powerful and stable, and will improve productivity as well as minimise the environmental impact of trawling.
The new vessel will use cutting edge Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH) technology and has been specifically designed with the most advanced bird protection measures on any vessel to date. It will also use fully synthetic, environmentally-friendly hydraulic fluid which breaks down in seawater in case of any spills over the side, and a biodegradable lubricant on the wire ropes that pull the nets from the water.
Moana New Zealand Chief Executive Carl Carrington said the Iwi-owned company is proud to be leading the fishing industry in New Zealand, with boats that fit with its ethos of being guardians of the sea for future generations.
He was also delighted that after looking around the world for design and build options the best one was to build the vessels locally, which is contributing to the economy and providing additional training and job opportunities, particularly for young Māori.
Aimex recently launched a Māori Youth Development Programme designed to provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of the marine engineering industry, and the Moana fleet renewal project is a key part of that.