Superyacht Serene making her way into Auckland in January. Every superyacht visit to New Zealand is estimated to contribute at least $1 million to the local economy. Photo: Brett Phibbs.Superyacht Serene making her way into Auckland in January. Every superyacht visit to New Zealand is estimated to contribute at least $1 million to the local economy. Photo: Brett Phibbs.

The number of superyachts arriving in New Zealand this summer has soared from 37 to 57 compared to last year with the biggest of them all, Serene, extending its stay for maintenance.

The 134m Serene has its own helicopter, and among many luxury features has indoor and outdoor pools and a machine that makes snow to allow guests to cool off after enjoying either of a hot or cold sauna.

A group promoting New Zealand as a destination for superyachts says its efforts are paying off.

Read more:
Russian vodka baron's $423m superyacht arrives in NZ
Graeme Hart orders another superyacht
Russian superyacht: New pictures
Graeme Hart's new $78m yacht launched

The figures take in different time periods, with last year's running from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. The most recent figures cover the time period from August last year to this month.

The Destination New Zealand Superyacht Attraction Initiative Group comprising Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed), Tourism New Zealand, NZ Marine and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, works to make New Zealand a desired superyacht destination.

Auckland is the hub of New Zealand's marine sector with 60 per cent of the country's industry based in the region.

The group has a target to attract 74 superyachts to our shores by 2018.


Ateed tourism manager Jason Hill said each superyacht contributed more than $1 million to the economy with each visit and in many cases more than $5million. This includes spending on tourism by the owners and crew and for berthage and marine services for the yacht.

"Auckland is renowned for its sailing and marine aptitude and valued for our internationally acclaimed superyacht new build, refit and maintenance capacity," said Hill.

If a superyacht has a major refit while in New Zealand the cost is up to $6 million dollars for a 50m yacht and around $20 million dollars for a vessel 100m or larger.

A superyacht is defined as being 24m in length and above with the average size between 40m to 50m. Hill said the figures are boosted by high performance racing yachts.

This summer's arrival total is the highest number of superyachts to visit since the America's Cup in 2000, when between 90 to 100 superyachts came to Auckland.

The $423 million Serene, owned by a Russian vodka tycoon, has visited Auckland twice during the past two months and cruised around the New Zealand coast.

Hill said the main value from visiting superyachts was from refit work and tourism spending was the "icing on the cake."

NZ Marine executive director Peter Busfield said recent regulation changes that allow visiting superyachts to stay for up to 24 months and also do some limited chartering while in New Zealand, was another incentive for superyachts to come from the Northern Hemisphere to the South Pacific and spend most of their time in New Zealand. No.

A promotional video produced by Tourism NZ 'The Big Blue'has also helped. The video, which features the visiting Mayer family from the USA aboard their superyacht, received more than 35,000 views on social media channels in just one day.

The superyacht group focuses on three key areas; promoting New Zealand as a cruising destination for private and charter yachts; promoting the expanding infrastructure and facilities within New Zealand and overseas; and promoting the capabilities of the refit, repair and manufacturing sectors.

The global superyacht fleet consists of 4896 superyachts with around 80 per cent motor yachts and 20 per cent sailing yachts.