Northland-built boats head off to Aussie, Costa Rica

Two new custom-built deep-water fishing vessels leave Opua this month for delivery to owners in Melbourne and Costa Rica. The NorthCape 34 and NorthCape 40 boats were built by Bluefix Boatworks and mark a significant up-tick in business for the Northland boatyard.

Bluefix, owned by Northlanders Brad and Charlotte Rowe, re-located to Opua last year as part of a commercial rejuvenation project there supported by Far North Holdings, the commercial and economic development arm of the Far North District Council.

The move has been good for the growing Northland business, which specialises in the design and build of custom sports fishing boats. It has more than doubled the number of people it employs and is benefitting from a lot of refit and repair work it didn’t get when it was based near Kerikeri.

It moved into new, state-of-the art boat-building and paint shop facilities built by Far North Holdings. The $1 million project created a purpose-built facility with Travellift bays, accessed through roller doors 11m high and 10m wide that allow for under-cover boat-building and repairs all year round.

In addition to its boat-building and other high-end work Bluefix Boatworks provides high-quality repair, refit and maintenance service to Northland and visiting boat owners.

Far North Holdings chief executive Andy Nock said Bluefix’s presence in Opua had taken boat-building and repair services there to “a completely new level.”

“World-class boat-building, repair, maintenance and painting facilities are an important part of our long-term plan for Opua,” said Mr Nock. “They are already starting to stimulate economic development and create employment.

“And with the new-look Bay of Islands Marina about to increase berth capacity and improve beyond all recognition the usability and attractiveness of the Opua waterfront, it’s all delivering significant value to Far North ratepayers.”

Charlotte Rowe, Bluefix’s managing director, said it was important for the Far North that Opua builds a reputation throughout the South Pacific as a place to come for quality refit, repair and boat-building work. Otherwise boat-owners would simply go to Whangarei or Auckland.

“Given the immense skills that exist here, and the chance we have to generate a decent bit of economic development, that would be a huge opportunity missed,” Mrs Rowe said.

  • Bluefix Boatworks is extending an open invitation to view these two custom-built, high-end sports fishing boats before they leave the country by mid-November. Also, to take a look around their business and see what happens there. Contact Charlotte Rowe at for an appointment.

About Far North Holdings Ltd

Far North Holdings Limited (FNHL) is responsible for managing and operating the commercial activities of the Far North District Council. These include Port Opua, Bay of Islands Marina, Kaitaia and Bay of Islands Airports, Paihia Maritime Buildings and Paihia Wharf, Williams Road Car Park and the Kaitaia Education Campus.

Since 2005 all of FNHL’s trading surplus has either been distributed to the Far North District Council or reinvested in property and infrastructure within the Far North District. The Far North District Council estimates that without this financial contribution general rates would have been approximately four percent a year higher, each year, over this period.

FNHL’s mandate includes the support and development of economic activity in the Far North.

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