Restoration urged: John Davis, of the Aramoana League, is
urging the Dunedin City Council to restore the Aramoana
Wharf, or Pilot's Wharf, for use in recreation and tourism.
Photo by Brenda Harwood
It may be hard to get to and in need of repair, but
Pilot's Wharf at the Aramoana spit could be a boon for tourism,
However, the future of the historic wooden jetty is in
jeopardy, with a Dunedin City Council-commissioned engineer's
report saying the structure has reached the end of its useful
Aramoana League secretary John Davis has been crusading for
the retention of Pilot's Wharf at Aramoana for years,
including submitting to the council's Long Term Plan process.
Disappointed by the view of council staff that the wharf is
unsuitable for public use, he is hoping to galvanise public
support for the structure. He has also called on the Chalmers
Community Board for help.
"Pilot's Wharf is unloved, it has had no maintenance for many
years, but it is still usable," Mr Davis said.
"It could still be used for recreation, and with some thought
it could be useful for tourism," he said.
This could include using Pilot's Wharf as part of the harbour
cycleway, using it as an access point to ferry cyclists
across to the Otago Peninsula side, thereby completing the
"At the moment, the wharf is mainly only accessible on foot,
but cyclists could manage that," Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis' campaign for the retention of Pilot's Wharf is
supported by MV Monarch owner John Milburn, who feels the
wharf is an asset for the harbour.
"It's a beautiful harbour - anything we can do to encourage
and assist with people's access to the harbour has to be
good," Mr Milburn said.
"There is an enormous amount of money being spent on both
sides of the harbour on the cycleway, so why not provide a
"Admittedly, the wharf needs a lot of work, but it is an
existing structure - so why not use it?
" he said.
Both Mr Davis and Mr Milburn felt that having a jetty
structure relatively close to the harbour mouth could also be
useful for maritime safety.
"To knock down a wharf that could be useful for present and
future generations would be short-sighted," Mr Milburn said.
Pilot's Wharf at Aramoana was built around the turn of the
20th century by the Otago Harbour Board and extended in the
As part of port and local government reform in the late
1980s, the ownership of the wharf was transferred to Dunedin
However, the council had only accepted that it owned the
wharf about a year ago, Mr Davis said.
In the interim, there had been no maintenance done on the
wharf, he said.
Recently, the council had commissioned an engineer's report
on Pilot's Wharf, which had shown its structure and piles had
reached the "end of their useful life", DCC parks and
reserves manager Lisa Wheeler said.
"If council were of a mind to do something with it [the
wharf], they would have to replace it," Mrs Wheeler said.
She would present the report to the Chalmers Community Board
at its next meeting and said any feedback from the board
would need to go back to the DCC's community development
committee for consideration.
Councillor Andrew Noone, who is the DCC's representative on
the Chalmers Community Board, said the issue of Pilot's Wharf
was "a work in progress".
He could see the potential of having a harbour connection and
agreed the wharf was in a "strategic location" but felt there
would be funding issues.
One issue to consider would be the potential difficulty of
re-establishing a wharf in the area in the future, if Pilot's
Wharf was removed.
"If we were to retain a structure, we would need to think
about how we would fund it," Cr Noone said.
This could possibly include part-funding from the community.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said there was "no budget" at present
for restoring the wharf.
"There would have to be a very good economic development case
made for council to spend the kind of money that would be
required," Mr Cull said.