A ground-breaking and blessing ceremony has marked the beginning of construction of  a new 350-metre-long wharf for Hawke’s Bay, a main export gateway.

A karakia was performed at the 6 Wharf construction site, along the northern end of the Napier Port’s container terminal, New Zealand’s fourth largest port by container volume.

Napier Port chief executive, Todd Dawson, officially turned the first sod at the western end of the wharf, where the first of 400 piles that support the wharf deck will be installed.

Mr Dawson told those gathered – port workers, HEB construction staff and others associated with the project – that 6 Wharf will be a crucial piece of infrastructure for Hawke’s Bay’s and they can be proud of their involvement with the project.

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“Over the past 10 years we have seen a 50% increase in containers and a 64% increase in bulk cargo from our region’s exporters and importers. We are also seeing more tourists visit, and last year we welcomed 94% more cruise ships than we did in 2010.

“We need 6 Wharf by the end of 2022 so we can welcome more vessels, continue improving operational performance and keep connecting our region to the world,” Mr Dawson said.

Mr Dawson also told the workers that their safety throughout the project must come first.

The project is estimated to cost $173-190m, excluding capitalised interest and overheads, and will be completed at the end of 2022.

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