Publish date: 20/11/2019

Kaiapoi is one step closer to becoming ‘New Zealand’s Best Rivertown’ with the launch of the Kaiapoi River Queen earlier this month.

Transported from Blenheim in November 2018 and extensively renovated, the flat-bottomed, two storey paddle steamer replica will soon be operating daily cruises on the Kaiapoi River, as well as catered private functions for up to 99 people. It is the first time that commercial river cruises have been available in Kaiapoi since the demise of the MV Tuhoe in 2015.

Kaiapoi River Queen owners Dennis and Judith Andreassend relocated to Waimakariri from Marlborough to take on the operation of the ship after they were approached by local developer and Kaiapoi River Queen investor Jedd Pearce.

The couple hopes the boat will attract locals and visitors alike to the centre of town.

“Having the boat up and running on the river should bring a lot of people from out of town, as well as providing another activity for the locals,” said Dennis.

District Promotions Manager at Visit Waimakariri Elizabeth Pitcorn says the feeling from local businesses is the same.

“With the River Queen berthing right in front of The Port & Eagle Brewpub, and the newly opened Riverview Retail Complex next door, there is a real buzz around the centre of Kaiapoi, just in time for summer,” she said.

“The feeling among local businesses is that the River Queen will bring in more visitors, which in turn means more customers. It’s a win-win.”

In 2018 The Waimakariri District Council accepted the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan which seeks to turn Kaiapoi into ‘New Zealand’s Best Rivertown’ with the provision of floating pontoons, riverside terraces, canal and river boats around the Kaiapoi Marine Precinct.

Dennis says interest has been steady since the boat was launched, and a number of Christmas parties have already been booked in.

For more information or to book a cruise visit www.kaiapoiriverqueen.co.nz/