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The Harbourmaster's Role in Hawke's Bay

The Hawke's Bay Regional Harbourmaster's role is to oversee the safety of commercial shipping and recreational boating (including kayaks, paddle boards, dinghies and jetski's etc) that use the region's coast and rivers, from Mahanga in the north, to Porangahau in the south.

Martin Moore Harbourmaster smallerWho is our Harbourmaster?

Hi, I’m Captain Martin Moore the Harbourmaster.  I’ve got a busy, varied job making sure that people can be safe on the water in Hawke’s Bay because the Regional Council looks after navigation and general water safety.  If you have any concerns about a safety issue in our region’s rivers or coastal areas, I’d love to hear from you.

I regularly travel around the beautiful beaches in our region and meet lots of different people who love being on the water as much as I do.  In the past few years a priority has been visiting schools to teach children about boating safety – it’s great to hear that some of these kids are now telling Mum and Dad how to be safe in a boat!

I’ve also supported the national lifejacket awareness campaigns, and I am pleased to see people wearing lifejackets when they should.  It’s worth noting that Hawke’s Bay has stricter rules on lifejackets than the national requirements, but local people have accepted this is to keep them safe.

Every summer we help make sure our sportspeople are safe on the water for events, like multi sports, rowing, waka racing and lately ocean swimming.

And if anyone had told me, way back when, that I would have a role in New Zealand’s first space programme I would have laughed.  It’s great working with Rocket Lab to ensure they have a safety zone on the ocean around their rocket launches. I truly have the best job in Hawke’s Bay!

How I got here

My seagoing career began as a 17 year old in September 1971 with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. A highlight of my time as a cadet was spending a day on the deck of HMS Ark Royal while jet aircraft were taking off and landing - a real “Top Gun” moment. I was also lucky enough to be on the tanker that escorted the Royal Yacht Britannia on Princess Anne’s honeymoon cruise.

After passing my Second Mates examination in 1975, I transferred to the Merchant Navy working on a large variety of general cargo and bulk carriers for the rest of my seagoing career.  I passed my Foreign Going Master’s examination at 27 and was promoted Master on a brand new Panamax Bulk Carrier when I was 29.

By 1985 with a young family, it was time to look for shore employment.  A Stevedoring Manager’s position in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, was a start for 3 great years, before I was asked to take on a similar role in my home town of Whangarei.  To progress my own cargo consultancy business, we moved the family to Napier in 2001.

Ships and shipping have been the focus of my entire working life, and as I approach 50 years in the industry I don’t see that ever changing. My job as Harbourmaster and working with the Hawke’s Bay community is easily the most rewarding work I have done since I picked up my first command.

What is the Harbourmaster's role?

The Harbourmaster promotes the safe and navigable use of the region's waterways by:

  • Developing the Navigation Safety Bylaws in consultation with the community and water users
  • Enforcing of the Navigation Safety Bylaws and issuing fines or prosecutions
  • Maintaining navigation aids and markers such as buoys, beacons and lights along the coast and within harbour limits
  • Removing navigation hazards such as large logs and drifting vessels
  • Disposing of wrecks and derelict vessels
  • Ensuring compliance with the Navigation Safety Bylaw through enforcement
  • Maintaining maritime signage at boat ramps
  • The Regional Council staff, Port staff and Coastguard volunteers are involved in regular oil spill drills to make sure they can respond quickly and effectively using the equipment stored ready for this purpose
  • Providing exclusion areas for events such as rocket launching, multisport and boat races to ensure safety for all
  • Educating people about navigation and water safety.

Find out more about our Harbourmaster's role in this video

Telarc Registration Marks QUALITY ISO 9001 2015 for web

The Harbourmaster's office is certified to international standard ISO 9001:2015 and is committed to continual improvement.


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While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

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