Frequently asked questions

In 2019 and 2020 we consulted the community, iwi and key stakeholders in 2019-20 and used feedback from this to prepare our high-level designs for the consent applications.

As part of their review, the expert panel appointed to assess our consent applications is seeking comment from specific people and groups and may also ask the project partners for more information.

The project team will also continue to work closely with iwi, directly affected parties and the wider community through the detailed design process and construction of the new ferry precinct.

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We’re consulting directly with Te Ātiawa regarding land-based issues, and also with all Te Tau Ihu Iwi in relation to the use of the Marlborough Sounds. Their values and priorities are being intertwined with detailed planning for the project. The project provides good opportunities to recognise Mana Whenua and Kaitiakitanga at the Ferry Precinct, at the Terminal in particular.

All being well, new ferries are targeted to enter service from the mid-2020s so the new ferry terminal will need to be in place before then. We expect construction to start in early 2022 and take about four years.

We’re still in feasibility stage so the cost isn’t yet confirmed, and we’re working through potential funding models.

Yes, there will be a new terminal building that will accommodate expected growth in passenger numbers and ensure a good customer experience. The concept design shows a two storey high building. This is likely to be the largest we would build. During the design phase the building may reduce in size from what is shown on the current plans.

We’re working through options for the terminal and car-parking area and can’t say for sure yet whether there will be opportunities inside or close to the terminal for other businesses.

We will continue to share our plans with the community as they are developed.

A temporary terminal building is planned for a location near to the existing terminal. A primary requirement for the project delivery will be maintaining ongoing services to passengers and protecting the ability of service providers to continue to operate. There will inevitably be some ‘work-arounds’ as construction progresses but maintaining ongoing operations in an efficient way is a high priority.

We plan to maintain services for our customers during construction. As happens now, ferry schedules may be altered to meet market and seasonal demands. It is possible that some changes may need to be made as a result of construction, but these will be carefully planned to minimise disruption for customers.

The Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan identify the National Transportation Route as passing through Tory Channel. We anticipate that the new ferries will continue to use this route as well as the northern entrance as required. We are engaging with the Harbour Master as part of the process which includes discussing the use of Tory Channel for the new ships.

We are in the early design phase of the project, and are considering ship speeds, wake and emissions. We are aware of both the requirements in the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan regarding wave energy. The ships are being designed to comply with these requirements.

Emissions from the ships will comply with current international regulations, such as MARPOL Annex VI which addresses both discharges to air and discharges to water. The ship design will allow for progressive improvements to the power systems as technology develops.

We will make every effort to enhance the environment through the construction and future operation of the port. We will use industry best practice standards to minimise the environmental impact during construction, particularly in relation to water quality, aquatic ecology, effects on the coastal environment and protection of cultural values. We are taking expert advice on how to design and construct the project to ensure minimal adverse environmental impact.

Yes, access to Waitohi Wharf, Westshore and Shakespeare Bay will be minimally affected by the project. StraitNZ / Bluebridge will continue to operate from their existing terminal, marshalling areas and berths and will not be impacted by the project.

We haven’t confirmed our plans yet, but we will need to make some changes to the roading network to manage increased waits at rail crossings and other expected transport impacts.

We have shared some changes proposed as part of the Ferry Precinct Redevelopment and sought feedback on them from key stakeholders and the community. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport and KiwiRail are also looking at what additional transport changes might be needed to improve how people move around and through Waitohi/Picton.

We expect to complete this investigation work  mid-year, and will publish additional information then.

We don’t yet have details confirmed, but we are planning to improve the walking and cycling network and connections between the ferry terminal and the town and surrounding transport network. Pedestrian and cycling links are also being explored as part of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport and KiwiRail joint investigation.

The Coastal Pacific service will not be affected by the Ferry Precinct proposals.  The train station platform may be extended to improve the rail facilities at Waitohi Picton. The new terminal building will service both rail and ferry passengers.

The proposed project design has all ferry vehicle marshalling (including private vehicles) entering the Port at Lagoon Road. We expect we will have to make some changes to the local road layout to accommodate additional vehicles and longer trains carried by the new, larger ferries. The options we’re proposing are explained in the About the project section of our website.

We don’t expect the new ferries to be full as soon as they arrive, but they will allow for freight growth of around 50% over their expected 30-year life.

Cars and walk-on passengers are very seasonal. We expect numbers to remain fairly low in the winter and to increase significantly during the summer.

We expect the total number of passengers crossing the Cook Strait to increase by about 10% and that the new larger ferries will lead to more cars during the Christmas and Easter busy periods. These increases will occur over the next 30 years, and eventually individual sailings in peak periods could carry up to twice as many cars as today.

Yes – KiwiRail will work with Wellington Port company CentrePort to design and construct a new Interislander terminal and related infrastructure. This project is still in the feasibility stage.

This year we have several key milestones to meet, including:

  • Securing Resource Consent approvals, and ensuring consent conditions are factored into management plans
  • Finalising funding and partnership agreements
  • Completing the transport business case
  • Setting the project’s sustainability goals
  • Choosing a group of companies to work with us on the detailed design and construction
  • Starting detailed design of the new ferry terminal and precinct
  • Construction planning.


KiwiRail announces ferry contract signing

The Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment team celebrates KiwiRail’s contract signing for the two new Interislander ferries.

This welcome milestone in the wider new Interislander project provides certainty for the Waitohi Picton ferry precinct redevelopment.

The project team is currently working to refine our concept designs and work through the commercial arrangements needed to move the project through to procurement stage.  This is a large, complex project and these processes do take some time to complete.  We look forward to confirming details, including construction timeframes, when we have completed this process – likely to be later in the year.

A key part of this will be reconnecting with iwi partners, the local community, and key stakeholders.

Read the KiwiRail media release here and Minister of Transport the Hon Michael Wood’s media release here.