Pacific PowerBoat Magazine – May-June 2023
English | 182 pages | pdf | 108.11 MB


I left the Auckland Boat Show in late March with mixed feelings. Yes, it was a fabulous venue, and the idyllic weather undoubtedly helped it, but where were the people with money to spend? While those on the marina seemed to do well, with several big boats sold during the show, the same could not be said for most trailer boat exhibitors. According to NZ Marine, there were 116 boats on the water and around 250 on land, which is a record for both sectors.
“I spoke to quite a few exhibitors after the show, and most were complimentary about the show and pleasantly surprised with the results, reporting boats sold at the show and some very positive leads to follow up”, says Peter Busfield, CEO of NZ Marine. However, it is not always about the number of people who attend. It is the quality and whether or not they are looking to spend money on a new boat, fishfinder, outboard or, in our case, a pdf magazine subscription. It wasn’t our best show for sales or subs, but we did okay.
Was it the time of the year or the sign of times? Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion about Auckland having two boat shows. While they are very different, one inland and one on the water, can Auckland sustain two shows? Our financial future as a country in the next 12 months is not looking positive, with interest rates rising and our cost of living skyrocketing. Boat sales from the first quarter of 2023 are at an all-time low, and predictions are 2023 will be a tough year. Most major boat builders are still in catchup mode, delivering boats ordered up to two years ago.
The on water Auckland Boat Show certainly has appeal regarding location, with Jellicoe Harbour and the ability to put boats on the water. Busfield says that the local and central government are keen to see the Jellicoe Harbour be developed as an exhibition centre and see the Auckland Boat Show and other marine-related activities, e.g. Sail GP, as an integral part of that vision. The Auckland Boat Show has not only been given a guarantee of space until 2028 but, as of next year, will also be able to include the Events Centre back into its exhibitor plans.
“We have a lot of room for expansion both outside, in marquees, the Events Centre and on the water, so the show could double in size without causing any space issues”, says Busfield. “The Auckland Show Grounds, where the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show has been since 1956, is the only place in Auckland the show can be held in its current format”, says organiser Dave Gibbs.
Taking up 30,000 sqm of exhibitor space, on an 8 hectare purpose built exhibition centre, it would be a tall order to transfer the entire Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show to Jellicoe Harbour and the surrounding area. However, never say never, as the development of the harbour area is always work in progress.
Dave Gibbs, says that the exhibitor space was all but sold out six weeks before the show and pre-purchase ticket sales are massively up on any previous year. “We have been getting a positive vibe from exhibitors and the public, so seeing how it all pans out in the end will be interesting. It’s all about marketing the marine industry and our exhibitors making sales, which the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show always delivers on”, added Dave.
Dave admits that despite his best efforts, getting larger non-trailerable boats to the show has been a logistical nightmare and cost prohibitive for the exhibitors. So essentially, the Hutchwilco has the reputation of being a trailer boat show with all the associated accessories, engines, etc., that go with boating. It should be pointed out that the trailer powerboat market is massively bigger than the non-trailerable powerboat market, which is a plus for the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. The glory days of the pool may never return, but it is still an exceptional show, and the marine industry (including us) does good business. So, do we need two boat shows in Auckland? Right now, yes, it works, and exhibitors and Kiwi boating enthusiasts will have to make their own minds up as to whi h to support. I love both venues, but if I was, to be honest, the on-water arm makes a lot of sense and is the only way to exhibit launches and motor yachts. Will there be a consolidation of both shows? Not in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, we will exhibit at both and encourage everyone to visit both shows as that way, you will be exposed to the very best of the local and international markets.


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