Kōpū marine servicing and business precinct

Operation Kopu banner

Kopu is well positioned to take advantage of a growing marine servicing industry, situated between three major cities, and on the doorstep of a major recreational fishing playground and regionally and nationally significant aquaculture industry.

In August 2020 the government funded $8.2 million towards revamping the marine-servicing infrastructure and create new economic development opportunities.

This project is being supported from the $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ fund set aside in Budget 2020 to kick-start the post COVID-19 economic recovery.

This will not only support employment in the Thames township, it will also provide alternative marine-servicing options for vessels from the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.

It will have immediate benefits for the local community by creating up to 13 jobs in the short-term. Another 19 jobs will be created through the precinct’s construction, with potential for up to 108 downstream jobs when the project is complete.

It is estimated that the Kōpū Marine Precinct could bring economic returns of up to $58.5 million over the next 30 years. It brings fresh opportunities to the boat repair and maintenance, aquaculture, trade and transport industries.

“We’re breaking out the bubbly to celebrate,” says Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Kōpū has been a prime site we’ve been promoting for business opportunities for some time and we’re grateful to the government for recognising the potential and opportunities this area has.”

“This is not just good news for us and our neighbours, but also in boosting potential Maori economic development opportunities for Ngati Maru in the longer term as Treaty settlements are finalised over the next few years.,” says Mayor Sandra. “This also complements the Te Ariki Wahi/Sugarloaf Wharf project, which also benefitted from Provincial Growth Funding (PGF) of $19.95million to expand the wharf for the marine industry, in a joint venture between our Council, the Coromandel Marine Farmers (CoroMFA) and the Crown.”

The $8,2million funding for Kōpū will go towards planning and construction of a new access road, upgraded boat ramp and car park. A floating pontoon and mud berth – which allows boats to rest on the seabed – will facilitate in-water servicing and dismantling.

While the project provides new commercial opportunities, it also features upgrades that will benefit recreational users and will enable the continued use of Kōpū by the community.

“Kōpū already has excellent connections to Tauranga, Auckland and Hamilton and a good foundation of existing marine-related businesses. This project will enhance and diversify local economic opportunities while improving the resilience of the marine industry.

Kōpū Marine Precinct project update - 30 October 2020

A stakeholders meeting has been held with 30 individuals representing important interest groups, commercial businesses, landowners, community services and regulatory authorities.

There was strong support for the project by those who attended, reflecting the high levels of engagement undertaken over the past few months to work through a practical design.

The outcome of the workshop was agreement to extend the pile wharf “T” head section, this will increase the capacity of the wharf to allow for four boats to berth for in-water servicing and loading at all tides.

You can view the updated site plan and project scope statement on the top right-hand side of this page.

Next steps for the project is to collate documents to support a fast track resource consenting proposal.  One thing we’ll be starting is driving some test piles into the river bed to help inform the detailed wharf design.

Key dates:

  • Expressions of Interest for construction go out im November via GETS (www.gets.govt.nz) and TENDERLINK (www.tenderlink.com)
  • Lodgement of fast track resource consent application early December
  • Tender for physical works to go out in March next year
  • Construction expected to begin in August next year


In December 2018 central government through the Provincial Growth Fund approved $270,000 towards a business case began investigating Kōpū  as a centre to support marine servicing operations across the Hauraki Gulf, as well as being a connector for water-based tourism opportunities – connecting across the Hauraki Gulf as well as through to the Paeroa Wharf .

  • This project sits within Councill's wider "Productivity Plan" aimed at improving the economic outcomes for our District. Some of the outcomes of the is to produce tangible benefits for the community, including employment and improved use of Māori assets. It will focus on ensuring the protection and enhancement of our District’s natural features, while ensuring productive assets can be managed sustainably into the future, considering the potential effects of climate change..
  • Through market research and feasibility testing, talking to Iwi, key stakeholders, users, marine construction industry and others, the business case provided a robust and realistic investment ready option at a level of detail that provides high degree of certainty.  This included design plans, consenting information and on-going overhead costs.  

Other key objectives of the business case investment objectives, included:

  1. Sustainable investment opportunities that are alihged with iwi cultural values.
  2. Environmental improvements
  3. Adaptive design for climate change
  4. Complementary and supporting existing aquaculture industry
  5. Well defined infrastructure supporting a range of users
  6. Future proofed infrastructure

The Kōpū  Marine Servicing and Business project fulfils a purpose which is will be complementary to the expansion of the Sugarloaf Wharf (led by the Coromandel Marine Farmers Association (CoroMFA) for commercial aquaculture  . You can read more about that project here.

Building business in Kōpū  - the background

Kōpū is the gateway (Kaiwhenua) to the Coromandel and is centrally located to three major cities (Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga), New Zealand's two busiest ports and Auckland international airport.

This area has the potential to become:

  • A perfect location for small to medium commercial and industrial businesses
  • An attractive service and information centre upon entry to the Coromandel
  • A worthy recreational destination with access to the Hauraki Rail Trail, Waihou River walking trails, the Kōpū  marine precinct, heritage features (Cooks memorial and old Kōpū Bridge (subject to its future) and other recreational facilities

Kopu Business Ad

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If you're interested in setting up a business at Kōpū or want to talk business opportunities on the Coromandel, email communicationsteam@tcdc,govt.nz


Project timeline.

2020 - $8.2m approved by the government for the development of a marine and business precinct in Kōpū 

2018 - A feasibility study for Kōpū was completed and an application to the central government Provincial Growth Fund for a business case to progress the project was approved.

2015 -  Kōpū  Doing Business Better programme was launched. A working group was established with representation from our staff, NZTA, Waikato Regional Council ,iwi and the Kōpū  Landowners Association. In conjunction with BECA, a professional services consultancy, it has produced a draft Kopu Develoment concept plan. The draft Kōpū  Development Concept Plan which has been submitted to Council's Proposed District Plan. 

2014 - With input from the Working Group, BECA produced a draft Kōpū Development Concept Plan - Stage 1 Report which was presented to Kōpū  businesses on 5 March 2014 for their comment and submission to the Proposed District Plan prior to 14 March 2014. Thames Community Board submitted to the Proposed District Plan in favor of the concept plan. This concept plan is intended to be a development framework which will form an additional layer of detail to the Kōpū  to Thames Structure Plan.

2013  - A survey of Kōpū  business operators was conducted which helped identify infrastructure and service needs and ideas for the Kōpū  business park upgrade and gateway concept. The survey resulted in the Kōpū Concept Plan Analysis Summary.