We are replacing the iconic Akaroa Wharf – originally built in 1887 – as it is nearing the end of its usable life based on a 2018 structural condition assessment.

Get updates on the Akaroa Wharf replacement project

We’ve been working in partnership with Ōnuku Rūnanga, and speaking to the Akaroa community about the replacement of the wharf – with $19.1 million funding having been included in the Long Term Plan 2021-31.

A concept design for the replacement wharf was approved at the 12 May 2022 Council meeting. A tender process to appoint a design team can now start, with construction estimated to begin in 2024 pending design and consent. The target for completion is 30 June 2025.

Discussions with commercial operators regarding temporary access and operation during the construction period are also underway.

We understand this project is of high interest to the Akaroa community as the existing wharf is an integral part of Akaroa’s heritage. It has high historical, social, cultural and contextual significance.

Keep updated about the project by signing up for our Akaroa Wharf newsletter(external link).

We will rebuild in the existing wharf’s location. 

The new wharf will not be a replica of the existing one but be its own structure – using the best materials available for the conditions, which complement the local environment and take into consideration the longer-term maintenance costs.

Key features of our approved concept design include:

  • Raising the new wharf deck height by a minimum of 500 millimetres. This is to allow for sea-level rise and storm surges and to ensure the longevity and all-weather use of the structure.
  • Increasing the height of the wharf deck, which means changes will need to be made to how the wharf is attached to the land. The original abutment, or concrete structure, that currently attaches the wharf to the land is in very poor condition and will need to be removed.
  • Using a mixture of materials such as timber, concrete and steel piles, which are durable, sustainable and will require less maintenance.
  • Increasing the pontoon number from two to three. We are working with wharf users on the best positioning of the pontoons.
  • Continuing to provide diesel for commercial operators while exploring the possibility of also providing access to petrol for them.

The existing wharf is more than timber, concrete and iron; it holds stories and memories for the people that use it.

We are keen to ensure the full history of the wharf is captured and recorded, as well as collecting its intangible heritage including personal memories and stories from the community.

We are establishing a way for people keen to share their stories about the wharf. Keep checking here to see when this process is set up or sign up for our newsletter(external link) to keep updated on the project.

Elements from the wharf which have been identified as having high heritage significance will be salvaged wherever possible. We are exploring ways that some of these can be incorporated into the new structure, or utilised for interpretation.

There may also be an opportunity for the community to access and use some of these salvaged materials for other projects in Akaroa.

We will let the community know more about the salvage project as the project progresses.

Two privately-owned buildings adjoin the current wharf and connect to the Council-owned structure.

We are working with the building owners on what the replacement project means for them.