Kiwis love rugby and boating – so when New Zealand scored the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the NZ Marine Industry moved the 13th Auckland International Boat Show from its March timeslot to 15 – 18 September to ensure two of New Zealand’s favourite sports would coincide.
The boat show is one of the first events to enjoy the extensive new waterfront development near downtown Auckland, including the new Viaduct Events Centre – the centrepiece for the boat show, Wynyard Crossing lifting bridge, Gateway Plaza and new cafes and restaurants on Jellicoe Street.
Peter Busfield, executive director of New Zealand Marine Industry Association (NZMI) which organises the show, says this year’s boat show will be its biggest in 13 years.
'We have a vibrant new waterfront venue just a step away from downtown Auckland,' he says. 'We have all the energy and enthusiasm of the world’s best rugby teams at the pinnacle of their sport, plus we have the international profile around Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup World Series and the Volvo Ocean Race. You could hire the best PR companies in the world and still not bring all that together.
'It’s been hugely gratifying to see marine companies absolutely committed to this event. Many exhibitors are bringing new products and boat models to show, reflecting their investment in this opportunity. We are expecting a lot of interest in the show from Australia, too.'
Leon Grice, director of NZ2011 Office which was set up to help New Zealand industries benefit from RWC 2011, has praised the marine industry for its initiative. 'The marine industry was one of the earliest adaptors of the opportunities presented by Rugby World Cup 2011,' Mr Grice says. 'They are a fantastic partner in showcasing New Zealand innovation to the world, and I’m very impressed with their professionalism in marketing their industry during the tournament.'
Up to 200 boats will be on display including trailerboats, sailboats, launches and motoryachts up to 30m, representing brands from New Zealand, Australia, America and Europe. Four pavilions of land-based exhibits of engines, electronics and boating equipment will give visitors many opportunities to make their boats even better. NZMI is expecting 30,000 visitors to the show.
NZMI will host the Superyacht Captains Forum, on behalf of NZ Marine Export Group, on 15 and 16 September, to enhance New Zealand’s position as a major superyacht builder, refit and cruising destination.
Another major event will be the International Boatbuilding Competition in the Gateway Plaza, to promote New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation.