The ocean has been a natural playground for generations of New Zealanders. With over a third of the population participating in boating each year, coupled with their undeniable love for the sea, New Zealanders are true marine enthusiasts. It is a mindset that has contributed to New Zealand’s long legacy of innovation in the industry. New Zealanders were first in the world to pioneer the development of water jet propulsion, and the first to develop the technology to transform all-terrain vehicles into oceangoing speed boats. Additionally, they discovered coatings to improve boat speed, fuel efficiency, and systems to keep people and property safe.
This world-leading technology is the result of New Zealand’s marine industry: the largest and most specialized manufacturing industry in the country. The industry extends beyond manufacturing, touching research and education, specialized products manufacturing, construction, as well as tourism industries. New Zealand’s marine industry currently totals $2 billion NZD in sales and employs over 10,000 people and it is forecasted to double in size over the next 10 to 15 years.
“We’re very proud of our heritage as the Innovation Nation,” said Scott Wentworth, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Business Development Manager for Marine. “While there are many companies based out of New Zealand that have carved a unique place for themselves in the global marine industry, all of them are driven by the same passion for innovation, excellence and stewardship for the environment and deliver fantastic technologies and service.”
Companies that represent innovation across the marine industry include Bowmaster, Boxfish Research and Marine Flex.
Bowmaster is recognised as the global leader in anchor deployment systems. The company has an extensive record of satisfied clients and completed projects in the military, commercial, superyacht, recreational power and sailing yacht sectors. As specialists, the Bowmaster team has a proven history of designing and manufacturing innovative, reliable, robust, and certified equipment, delivered to shipyards around the world. Flush-fitting anchor pockets, stern anchor systems, submarine anchor systems and anchor deployment arms are just some of the simple and effective anchoring systems they design and build.
Boxfish Research was founded by a group of engineers with a passion for diving and underwater photography with an objective to set the standard of underwater vision technology. In 2016, they happened to be trialing home-built ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) at the same time and location in Auckland, New Zealand. Disappointed with the results and feeling ROV technology had been stagnant since the ‘90s they vowed to build a better ROV using up-to-date control algorithms coupled with smart engineering design and software solutions. Over the course of five years, they achieved remarkable results and created industry-leading ROVs that are lightweight, user-friendly, easy to deploy and capable of transmitting uncompressed ultra-high definition 4K video to the surface from depths of up to 1000m. Their systems have been designed for filmmakers, marine scientists, inspectors and explorers. In 2021, Boxfish Research launched the 8K Boxfish Luna for professional cinematographers and natural history filmmakers. Designed and built in New Zealand, their products have captured amazing footage from the undersea world everywhere from Antarctica to remote islands in Papua New Guinea, to the Arctic.
Marine Flex became world leaders in screw-in anchor technologies starting in 1985 when the company’s first Screw Anchor was installed. Over the next 35 years, the Marine Flex team has been consistently inventing and perfecting their solutions, resulting in one of the most advanced, reliable, and environmentally friendly mooring systems on the market. Their unique construction technique allows their units to slowly stretch to twice resting length and then return to its original length in a smooth, calm movement. This, in combination with initial pre-tensioning, provides progressive resistance to both horizontal and vertical wave motion. A pontoon anchored with Marine Flex is never passive to the sea but instead offers firm resistance to wind and wave actions substantially reducing movements and swing area, resulting in a system that has never failed.
New Zealand continues to pave the way for marine tech, deserved recognition coming from North America and the rest of the world.