New Picton ferry terminal build celebrated

23 July 2022

The construction of a new ferry terminal, which will usher in a new era for the Interislander fleet, was celebrated in Waitohi Picton today.

 Local MPs, mayor, councillors and other guests came together to celebrate the start of enabling works for the new terminal. It is part of a wider project to replace Interislander’s three aging vessels with two, larger rail-enabled ferries, which also includes a new ferry terminal in Kaiwharawhara, Wellington.   

 The official event was followed by a public open day and sausage sizzle, where locals could come and learn about the project and experience a digital ‘fly through’ of the concept designs for the new Waitohi Picton terminal precinct.

 KiwiRail’s Programme Director Stephen O’Keefe says it is a big day for the ferry replacement project, and the community.   

 “This ferry terminal rebuild is part of a $1.45 billion investment in infrastructure and tourism.  Our plan is to work with our partners and the community to create something really special, that people will love and feel proud of many years from now,” says Stephen O’Keefe. 

 “The new terminal precinct and wharf we are building are crucial for the operations of our two new ferries, which are currently being built in Korea. Not only will they have greater capacity to move people, vehicles and freight across the Cook Strait, they will do so using low-emissions technology and minimise wake disruption in the Marlborough Sounds.”

 Port Marlborough CE Rhys Welbourn, said the start of construction is a significant milestone in the redevelopment project.

 “We are pleased to announce the start of construction in the redevelopment of the terminal area and surrounds. This significant project presents a “once in a generation” opportunity for our region, and reinforces Marlborough’s vital position in New Zealand’s supply chain for freight and passengers.

 “The project also adds much-needed resilience to New Zealand’s north-south connection and delivers environmental benefits in terms of decarbonisation of the supply chain.”

 Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Māui Trust Chief Executive, Justin Carter spoke to the legacy of the project.

 “When I think about the future, I think about what we will leave for the next generation. The responsibility we have now as project partners, iwi, and the community to ensure that our community and people thrive now and into the future. It is what it means to be good ancestors.”      

 The Waitohi Picton terminal build involves:

  • A new terminal building, wharf, landscaped grounds and waterfront
  • Improved connections between the ferry precinct and town centre, and roading improvements in Picton.
  • Design that celebrates the rich culture, environment and history of the area
  • Flood protection and future proofing for rising sea levels
  • Sensitive environmental and sustainable practice – with the two new ferries expected to cut Interislander’s emissions by 40 per cent.

 Construction gets underway soon with the rail turntable being moved to make way for a bigger and better private vehicle marshaling yard. This work is closely followed by an upgrade to the Waitohi Culvert and preparations for the construction of a new Dublin Street Overbridge. Main works for the terminal building, wharves and surrounds begins early 2023. The new ferries arrive in 2025 and 2026.  

 The community open day is centred around an information kiosk in the ferry terminal carpark. The event is hosted by the Waitohi Picton Ferry Redevelopment team, project partners KiwiRail and Port Marlborough NZ alongside Mana Whenua partners Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Māui Trust, Waka Kotahi and Marlborough District Council.

 The Government is contributing $435 million to the ferry replacement project.