New Zealand: Artificial Surfing Reef Project Strapped For Cash

As reported on

Contractors building Opunake’s artificial surf reef say they are determined to finish the job, despite the project running out of funds.

The Opunake Surf Reef Trust has spent $1.7 million – $1.1 million from the South Taranaki District Council and $600,000 from the TSB Community Trust – on the reef, which is still incomplete.

About 20 of the reef’s 27 geo-textile bags are in place and the trust has applied to the NZ Community Trust for $400,000 to finish the job. But that has not been approved.

Yesterday ASR Opunake reef construction manager David Neilson would not say how much money was needed to finish the project or how contractors would be paid.

“I’m not interested in talking until we have got the job done. I don’t want to comment on anything. We are carrying on and we will finish the reef.”

Chairman David Lusk said the surf reef trust was also looking at other sources of funding. On holiday in the South Island, he said it was not a convenient time to speak when asked how the contractors would be paid for future work.

Trustee Neil Walker said the $224,720 from the TSB Community Trust would allow the trust to pay “most of the current bills”.

Building the reef was technically more difficult than expected, he said.

“People didn’t appreciate the roughness of the weather. It is like everything else – once you know how to do something, it is easy.”

He would not comment on how future work would be paid for.

The project was first mooted in 1999 and construction began in January 2006.