Renewing our dredging consents

Port Taranaki is in the process of preparing an application to renew its maintenance dredging resource consents.

We are working towards making our application to the Taranaki Regional Council in late 2024 or early 2025, with the aim of having our new consents in place in 2026.

This page includes information about dredging, why we have consents, environmental considerations, how to be involved, and the application process timeline.


Why does Port Taranaki carry out dredging?

Dredging is an important activity that helps maintain Port Taranaki’s status as a working commercial port.

The dredging maintains the port’s shipping channel depth of 12.5 metres but does not change the size/capacity of vessels the port can receive.

We carry out periodic (usually every two years) maintenance dredging campaigns to remove sediment and sand buildup in the harbour so that the shipping channels remain clear and safe for trade. The sand and sediment is driven into the harbour through the wave and sea action on the West Coast of the North Island.


Who does the dredging?

We have a contract with Netherlands company Dutch Dredging for our regular maintenance dredging campaigns.

These campaigns are carried out by trailing suction hopper dredge Albatros, which is owned and operated by Dutch Dredging. Albatros also fulfils maintenance dredging campaigns at several other New Zealand ports.

Albatros completed her first dredging campaign at Port Taranaki in 2019, replacing long-time dredge Pelican, which was decommissioned.

You can learn more about how Albatros works here.


Who gives Port Taranaki permission to dredge?

The Taranaki Regional Council issues resource consents for Port Taranaki’s maintenance dredging programme.

Port Taranaki holds three dredging resource consents – one consent to dredge sediment buildup within Port Taranaki and two consents that allow us to discharge the sediment into the inshore and offshore spoil disposal areas in the Tasman Sea. 

The current dredging and disposal consents were issued in 2002.

The consents include conditions setting out the requirements that Port Taranaki must meet.


Where are the disposal areas?

The offshore area is about 2km out from the port, and the inshore area is along the coast, about 900 metres off the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre.

Only clean coarse sand is deposited in the inshore area. This area was established in 2001 to help replenish New Plymouth beaches because the port’s breakwaters prevent some sand and sediment from naturally drifting north, up the west coast.

The remaining fine sand, which includes more silt and mud, is deposited in the deeper waters of the offshore ground, where it is dispersed by waves and currents to continue its normal migration along the coast.


Does dredging impact the environment?

Working within and alongside the marine environment, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously, and work hard to protect and enhance the harbour, flora, fauna and wildlife that live and breed in the area.

The inshore disposal site is surveyed before and after each dredging campaign to ascertain sand and sediment levels, and the disposal operation is carefully controlled to avoid sand buildup of intertidal reefs.

Following each dredging programme, marine scientists from the Taranaki Regional Council regularly monitor Kawaroa and Arakaitai Reefs for sand accumulation, ecological impacts and the effects on kaimoana.

The Taranaki Regional Council then reports back, and Port Taranaki is required to act on any findings that require changes to its dredging campaign.

The TRC’s most recent report, which can be found here, covers the 2021 maintenance dredging campaign and states that no adverse effects were identified.


When will Port Taranaki be applying for the new consents?

We aim to lodge our consents application in late 2024 or early 2025.


When will the new consents become active?

If approved, the new maintenance dredging resource consents will become active in 2026.


What will happen ahead of Port Taranaki’s application?

Ahead of preparing our consent application:

  • The disposal areas will be the subject of detailed assessments and modelling to confirm they are still the best locations, taking account of environmental changes since the consents were originally granted.
  • Specialist marine science teams will complete extensive scientific work, before detailed baseline environmental studies and an assessment of environmental effects are carried out. It’s important this work is carried out thoroughly and scientifically to determine how best to manage the dredging activities into the future to avoid adversely impacting the environment or the many recreational, cultural and commercial values of our beautiful coast.
  • Port Taranaki has appointed experienced marine and planning consultant Dr Alison Lane as project manager and to assist with developing the dredging consents application.


Is mana whenua consulted?


We are working closely with Ngāti Te Whiti hapū, which is the mana whenua of New Plymouth, and Te Atiawa iwi.

This includes Ngāti Te Whiti preparing a Cultural Impact Assessment for the project, being members of the Dredging Working Group and also being invited to participate in the field work.

A few years ago, Ngāti Te Whiti developed a Cultural Values Statement for Port Taranaki, and all projects we undertake are delivered in alignment with this. At regular kaitiaki forums we meet with the hapū to consult on a range of matters, such as archaeological assessments, cultural monitoring of excavations, the cultural impact of projects, and our resource consents.


Will groups and members of the public who have an interest in the harbour be able to have input ahead of the application?


We expect the renewal of our dredging resource consents will be of interest to a large number of people, who have a particular interest in the harbour and its use.

Therefore, we are talking with key stakeholders, including iwi and hapū, the Taranaki Regional Council, New Plymouth District Council, conservation groups, fishing, diving and surfing groups, and other groups and individuals to hear their thoughts and answer any questions.

Port Taranaki is also working with local groups to draw on the significant pool of knowledge, experience and expertise to help guide the scientific work.

A community advisory group – the Dredging Working Group – has been established to help work through questions and concerns.

If you would like to know more, or have questions, please contact Dr Alison Lane at:

[email protected].


Will groups and members of the public be able to make submissions when the application is made?

The Taranaki Regional Council will determine whether the maintenance dredging consents application will be publicly notified, meaning public submissions are called for, under the Regional Coastal Plan for Taranaki.



Now-mid 2024

  • Scientific studies, cultural impact assessment are carried out
  • Port Taranaki engages with key stakeholders, community groups and individuals

Late 2024-early 2025

  • Application prepared and submitted

To be confirmed

  • (To be confirmed) Application publicly notified – call for public submissions