Paint sales frame bigger picture

Opua-based Bay of Islands Marine Painters has been recognised by a leading supplier of anti-foul paint for “unheard of” growth in the use of its product, an indicator of significant growth in the region’s marine services sector.

Propspeed, which supplies an anti-foul paint for boat propellers and running gear, says Bay of Islands Marine Painters has nearly doubled its use of the product to become Propspeed’s third-largest customer in New Zealand.

The manufacturer last month presented Bay of Islands Marine Painters with its NZ Growth Award for 2016. The award was handed to paint shop team leader Chad Holmes by Propspeed’s Robert Aukett, who helped develop the product 20 years ago in the very same yard.

Chad said the development was down to a significant increase in the number of boats coming to Opua for work in the expanded, new-look marine services hub there.

“I honestly thought 2016 was going to be a quiet year for us as competition in Opua has increased and the marina expansion project has been moving ahead at a fairly decent clip,” he said. “But there are more boats here than ever before, and more than enough business for us all.”

Development of the Bay of Islands Marina and the Opua marine services hub has been a priority for Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of the Far North District Council.

“The Propspeed award might seem like a little thing on its own,” said Far North Holdings chief executive Andy Nock. “But it tells us, along with other indicators, that our strategy of growing and modernising the array of marine services at Opua, around an expanded marina, is starting to deliver the results we wanted for local businesses and communities.”