Marina capacity in the Marlborough Sounds has been boosted by nearly a third, with the opening of a new extension to the Waikawa Marina. The Waikawa North West development, which has been a decade in the making, is already filling fast with a range of yachts and powerboats.

The addition of 251 new berths, in sizes ranging from 10 to 30m, brings the marina’s total capacity to just over 1100 boats. Anouk Euzeby, manager of Marlborough Sounds Marinas, which owns and runs Waikawa Marina, says this is a significant expansion of their marinas portfolio, enhancing its offering for commercial and recreational boaties wanting to enjoy the Marlborough Sounds.
“It’s essentially added another marina the same size as Picton Marina,” she says.
Waikawa North West was officially opened in December, with the first vessels arriving at their new home from the start of the month, and a formal welcome from manawhenua iwi Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Māui on December 15.
The Waikawa North West Marina project had been planned for more than 10 years, with construction starting just days prior to the start of Covid lockdowns in March 2020. Despite facing supply-chain challenges and other Covid-related delays, the port’s board of directors committed to completing the project due to its significance and value to the Marlborough region. Economic modelling suggests the marina will contribute an additional $2 million per annum to the local economy.
“It is hugely significant not only for boat owners and the marine industry here, but the whole community,” Euzeby says. “It means more jobs, more visitors coming through and more families holidaying in the Marlborough Sounds. It supports the wider economy, not just those whose businesses are directly involved with boating.”
The marina breaks new ground with its design and construction, being future-proofed against the potential impacts of climate change. Both the reclaimed areas and breakwaters can be incrementally increased in height if required.
“This marina was designed and built to have a long life,” Euzeby says. “All the infrastructure has been designed and built to allow for forecast sea-level rise, so it can remain functional into the future.”

The marina was also carefully designed to minimise its environmental impact, especially the effects on coastal processes. Extensive engineering and physical modelling was undertaken to ensure there would be no adverse impacts on the wider bay, particularly the Waikawa awa outlet and delta. Use of only partial-depth panels in the breakwater assists water flow through the marina basin, improving flushing and providing flow-on benefits for both coastal processes and marine ecology.
Another important aspect of the design and construction was the integration of manawhenua elements. Representatives of Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Maui worked with the port’s infrastructure team to bring various contextual cultural elements into the marina’s design.
The principal tauranga waka (waka landing and launching site) for iwi living in this part of the sounds was situated directly across the bay from Waikawa North West. During the opening ceremony, a toka manatu or remembrance stone at the northern end of the marina was unveiled by Te Ātiawa Trust chief executive Justin Carter and his counterpart at Port Marlborough, Rhys Welbourn.
Other elements include kaimoana designs on the breakwater walkway, and a narrative informational panel that depicts the rich history and traditions of Te Ātiawa, offering visitors and residents alike a deeper understanding of the heritage of Waikawa. This reflects the historical and cultural significance of the bay and its long-standing role as a key access point to Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound, Euzeby says.
“This place is very significant to local iwi and it was important to acknowledge that and to open the marina together with them.”
Another notable feature of the new marina is a ‘step jetty’, designed specifically for kayakers, swing-mooring users and swimmers to easily access the moana from the marina’s northern edge. This feature underscores the port’s commitment to making the marina a hub for various water-based activities, welcoming everyone from marina berth-holders and seasoned sailors to community outdoor enthusiasts, Euzeby says.
There was a long waiting list for berths in the extension, which filled about 80% the new marina, but some berths are still available for lease. There are also short-term casual and visitor berths for those keen to base themselves here while exploring the Sounds.

“We have lots of people visiting, coming across the strait from Wellington, or even from further afield like Auckland, wanting to check out the scenery and lodge hospitality of the Marlborough Sounds, so we’re able to accommodate them too,” Euzeby says.
The Waikawa Marina is just five minutes from Picton and half an hour from Blenheim, and is home to the Waikawa Bay Boating Club and a host of marine service businesses, including a travel lift and hardstand area. For berth inquiries, contact the marinas team at or come visit the Marlborough Sounds Marinas team at the Auckland Boat Show, where there will also be a competition prize draw to win six months’ berthage at the new marina.