The Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre has been officially opened by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Economic and Regional Development Minister, Stuart Nash.
The new centre in Mount Maunganui serves as a hub for surf life saving operations in the eastern region of the North Island.
It is set up to act as a rescue coordination point for any major beach and surf rescues made under the watch of Surf Life Saving Eastern Region, which comprises 19 surf clubs from Hot Water Beach in Coromandel to Tairawhiti/Gisborne.
The 1,300 sqm building also accommodates clubrooms, offices and storage for Mount Maunganui Bridge Club, Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Omanu Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The Bridge Club has had clubrooms on the site since the 1970s.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Leonard Sampson, is delighted with the new partnership. “The Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre will provide a purpose-built, well-equipped base for the many volunteers and staff that do an extraordinary job in keeping people safe on the beach and in the water,” he says. “The Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre will be there to support these first responders whenever they need to act in an emergency or coordinate
a large-scale search and rescue.”
He says the rescue centre is a tangible way to deepen the Port’s connections to the communities living along the east coast. “We look forward to a long and enduring relationship with the community organisations that will call the Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre home.”
Donal Boyle, Trustee of the Omanu Beach Charitable Trust that developed the centre, says the Port’s support is a game-changer for surf live saving in the region. “It means we can get on with saving lives and supporting our many volunteers, without worrying about the ongoing cost of running the centre. The backing of Port of Tauranga, such an iconic company in this region and nationally, is very much appreciated by our community,” he says.
The centre will act as headquarters for up to 50 surf life saving staff and volunteers, provide storage for critical rescue equipment and coordinate communications in the case of a major ocean or beach rescue.
Port of Tauranga’s dust reduction programme has had a significant impact on air quality at the port.
The Port has installed 640 additional metres of wind break fences (to a total of 1.4 kilometres), increased wharf sweeping and improved cargo handling procedures to minimise fine dust becoming airborne from on-wharf activities, including bulk cargo handling and log yard activities.
Dust performance indicators have shown a 5.6% reduction in the past year, and a 16.1% reduction since 2020*.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has 10 air quality monitors in the area, testing a range of parameters, and monitoring will soon be expanded to new sites.
Port of Tauranga heads to the Environment Court in early March to seek resource consent to convert cargo storage land into new shipping berths (shown in the photo shaded in blue).
The project involves dredging 1.5 million cubic metres of sand and silt from the harbour floor to allow vessels to berth at the new wharves. This compares with the previous dredging project in 2015, which involved 6 million cubic metres dredged to deepen the entire shipping channel to prepare for larger ships.
Any impacts on the flora and fauna of the harbour – including native birds, marine mammals and kaimoana stocks – will be monitored and mitigated.
Water quality near the port is already tested regularly. During the construction phase, water turbidity will be continuously monitored and kept within strict limits.
Port of Tauranga’s inland port development with Tainui Group Holdings at the Ruakura Superhub is due to open in early 2023.
The Superhub, a few kilometres from downtown Hamilton, comprises the inland port (pictured in the foreground of the photo at right), a logistics and industrial hub, and associated services.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Leonard Sampson, says the new hub will better connect the Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.
“Through the inland port, Waikato-based shippers will get rail-connected access to the big ship services calling only at Tauranga,” he says. The first stage of the inland port is nine hectares and future development will see it grow to around 30 hectares. It will have two 800 metre rail sidings off the East Coast Main Trunk rail line.
The inland port will allow Port of Tauranga to grow cargo capacity as cargo volumes increase. It will be used as a cargo consolidation and staging area.
Port of Tauranga is invested in the wellbeing of Tauranga, the harbour and its people. With an eye to the future, we invest in community assets, iconic events and education. We strive to improve our performance every day while keeping our people safe and protecting the natural environment.
The Port’s presence attracts jobs, wealth and business opportunities for the Tauranga community, the broader Bay of Plenty and beyond. Dividends from Port of Tauranga give the region a stable income and platform for growth.
* As measured at the PM10 monitoring station ‘Mount Maunganui Railyard South’ during dry conditions at times when the Mount Maunganui Wharves are upwind of the monitor.