There is More to New Zealand Than Just Two Yacht Builders

Comment From Us

Micael Howorth
Michael Howorth

News that yacht builders are having a tough time in New Zealand is not new and some would say that the sell off of building machinery by Alloy Yachts is the latest manifestation of the malaise affecting the industry presenting itself.

But we have found that all is not as it first seems. While researching the subject, we have found that not only is yacht building in the southern hemisphere alive and kicking it is beginning to boom in New Zealand.

Superyacht builders in NZ were, in the past, quite insular and almost to a yard were virtually entirely focused on new construction.

When they began to build yachts the network of available subcontractors and suppliers was limited, and local experience with yachts at the level they were committing to produce was lower than elsewhere.  It is worth remembering that in the last 30 or so years the industry in NZ was forced built up their now significant internal resources from a ground zero start.

Today environment in which yachts are built in New Zealand has changed, and the network of suppliers and subcontractors is both very much larger, and very much more attuned to the needs of the superyacht market than in the past.

Many of the workers previously employed by Alloy Yacht and Fitzroy Yachts remain in the industry.  Some work for other companies, including McMullen & Wing, others set out on their own, contracting their services on whatever project needs their skills.  In some cases these contractors are grouping together starting their own businesses offering high level expertise to the new build and refit sector in NZ and abroad.

Another thing we have become aware of while researching articles about superyacht building in New Zealand is dignified, professional and managed manner in which they have handled their wind-downs.

Alloy Yachts have for example taken care that all their obligations to their clients have been fully delivered; their redundancies have been respectful and ethical. Our research shows that not a single supplier or any employee has been left owed money. They can be proud of representing New Zealand proudly to the last.

Contrast that to abhorrent stories of unpaid staff at ISA and locked out workers at Christensen and you will find they are in stark contrast to the behaviour and attitude of those at the top of the New Zealand superyacht industry.

Leaving shipyards has represented an opportunity, for those workers who have suddenly found them selves needing to find alternative employment. The more entrepreneurial amongst them are seizing that with both hands and that can only mean that despite the closing of yards yacht building in New Zealand is as much alive and kicking as it is elsewhere around the globe