Akaroa Wharf is an important marine and recreational asset for Akaroa.

Main Wharf in Akaroa

Main Wharf in Akaroa

The 130-year-old Akaroa Wharf is owned by the Christchurch City Council and was originally constructed for coastal shipping. 

Today the wharf is used by locals, visitors and business operators for a combination of commercial fishing, tourism, cruise ship transfers and recreational activities.

Over time the function and use of Akaroa Wharf has changed as the needs and interests of the community has changed.

We're developing a plan for a new Akaroa Wharf to replace the existing one so it meets the future needs of the community.  

In June 2018 the Council approved a budget of $10.5 million as part of the Long Term Plan 2018 – 2028 to enable consultation, design and consenting to be undertaken on Akaroa Wharf renewal.   

In June 2019 we engaged with the community including business owners, residents and wharf users to ask for their ideas and feedback on what they think is important, what works currently and what could be better. 

We’ll consider this feedback as part of the process to develop options and designs for a new wharf. This will also involve what happens to the current wharf.  

The public will have an opportunity to see and comment on what’s being proposed in early 2020. Once a decision has been reached for the preferred new wharf structure, we’ll have a better idea of timeframes to complete the construction phase of the project.

Heritage, conservation and local Maori cultural considerations will be included throughout the engagement, consultation and decision-making processes.  We’ve also engaged with the Akaroa Civic Trust and Ōnuku about their involvement including a cultural narrative.

A draft Conservation Plan(external link)engineering report and the latest updates on the renewal project are available on the Akaroa Wharf Have Your Say page.

The seawalls are owned and managed by the Council, NZTA, and private owners.

We’re currently investigating the repair options and consent requirements on several sections of the sea walls.

Community engagement on these repairs will be undertaken later in 2019.

Supporting cruise ship visits

Council is responsible for the Akaroa wharf, the public toilet and local parks, rubbish removal, issuing temporary traffic management plans (required when activities vary the normal operations on a road), and managing commercial operators on Council land and facilities.

The harbourmaster’s office(external link) (administered through ECan(external link)) is responsible for ensuring the safety of navigation. To ensure safe navigation, the harbourmaster’s office has a strict set of operating criteria for all ships more than 40m in length. 

In addition, all vessels are tracked and recorded remotely as well as by staff on site. Lead lights are provided to guide a ship to the entrance of the harbour. A rigorous safety management system ensures all procedures and requirements are complied with.

Town infrastructure

New public toilet facilities are being built to replace the old facilities on Rue Jolie behind the Akaroa Service Centre.

Traffic management

The traffic management plan for the cruise ship season is reviewed every year.  The current plans allow for parking restrictions in the township between 5am and 6pm on days when a cruise ship is berthed.  A Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS) is also in attendance on cruise ship days to assist with matters such as access to homes and businesses. 

Using the wharf during visits

Anybody can use the wharf. During cruise ship visits a plan is put into place to manage cruise visitors to ensure they can safely enter and exit the wharf. At times public entry to the pontoons is managed to ensure the health and safety requirements of cruise vessels and passengers is maintained.

All other vessels can still access the wharf during cruise ship visits and Masters need to work together to ensure fair use of the wharf facilities for everyone.  Vessels must not be left unattended and can only load or offload cargo or passengers.  Commercial vessels are required to have a license to operate on or alongside the wharf.  

New Lyttelton port

There’s a general expectation that when Lyttelton Port has a cruise berth the number of cruise ships going to Akaroa will decrease.  Lyttelton Port Company is discussing bookings with cruise ship operators.  The Akaroa cruise ship schedule(external link) for the upcoming summer season is now available.