NEW BUILD: Kukutai – 24-metre mussel farming vessel


McMullen & Wing launched the 24-metre mussel farming vessel Kukutai on 29 October 2018.

Kukutai was commissioned by Opotiki-based Whakatōhea Mussels, a largely iwi-owned mussel farming business in the Bay of Plenty. But this is no ordinary mussel farm: it is the world’s most offshore green shell mussel farm.

Whakatōhea Mussels operates in an extreme environment, so it commissioned a very particular vessel to respond to the challenges it sees in daily operation. Designed by Oceantech New Zealand, this 24-metre x 8-metre aluminium vessel has innovative bilge keels, said to provide both directional stability for bar crossings and roll damping for work on farm.

McMullen & Wing has been inspired by the Whakatōhea Mussels story and the hope for economic prosperity that it brings to means for the remote and under-privileged Opotiki community. Buoyed by this inspiration, McMullen & Wing created a trainee employment programme for Opotiki school leavers, and now has three full-time permanent young staff learning a career in boat building.

Isla McKechnie