UPDATE: 13 December 2023

The NZ Government has announced today that it is not providing the funding required to continue with Project iReX.

The KiwiRail Board has determined that this means we cannot proceed with the project in its current form and we will be winding the project down. 

Links to the Announcement and KiwiRail Press Statements:

Additional ferry funding request declined | Beehive.govt.nz
KiwiRail statement on Project iReX  | KiwiRail

We can confirm that Interislander is absolutely here to stay; we continue to serve our customers and have every confidence in our ability to provide reliable, safe operations.

Ngā mihi, Rose




UPDATE: February 2023

The year is off to a good start with the consent approved for the ferry terminal redevelopment at Kaiwharawhara. Workers are busy preparing the site for the main construction work, which is scheduled to get underway by mid-year.

It was great to catch up with some of you at the Te Rā o Waitangi festival earlier this month. There’s plenty of interest in the redevelopment and the new ferries, in particular the environmental benefits they will deliver; these include a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and less wake energy, meaning less impact on the shoreline.

Visitors at the Waitangi Day festival enjoyed our face painter and chatting with us about the new ships and ferry terminal redevelopment.

Major milestone – consent approved

Excellent news in late January when the consent application was approved for the Wellington terminal redevelopment in what is a major milestone for the project.

This project will provide a big improvement to Wellington’s current Interislander ferry terminal, including a new terminal building and wharf to accommodate two new purpose-built ferries that will be delivered from 2025.

The redevelopment of the terminal precincts at Kaiwharawhara and Waitohi Picton, and the two new ferries, are part of an $8.6 billion Government investment in KiwiRail rail and ferry infrastructure to seamlessly carry people and freight from one end of the country to the other. The transformation of the Interislander will be a win-win for the economy, the environment and the tourism sector.

The main construction work at Kaiwharawhara is scheduled to start by mid-2023. We are currently working with the Downer HEB construction joint venture to finalise design, timing and pricing.

Enabling works progressing at pace

Enabling construction works for the project are progressing well, preparing the site for the main construction work. Enabling works contractor JFC has been busy flattening Kaiwharawhara Point for the passenger vehicle marshalling yard. The current PV yard will move here when main construction works get underway later this year.

JFC is also processing some of the aggregate material on Kaiwharawhara Point to upcycle into pavements for the new terminal, and to backfill a utilities trench. The trench will carry power, fibre and other essential utilities. It will run from Kaiwharawhara Point down to the terminal entrance.

Demolition of the old arrivals’ terminal will get underway shortly, starting with removal of the interior fixtures. We don’t expect this work to have any impact on local residents and businesses but as always, we welcome your feedback.

New environmental explainer video – caring for Kaiwharawhara

Watch our new environmental explainer video to find out more about our focus on restoring Kaiwharawhara Stream and estuary and making the environment inviting for birds and wildlife.

Lee Rauhina-August, from Mana Whenua partner Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, is leading a cultural health monitoring plan which will look at the quality of Kaiwharawhara Stream and water, the animals, the habitat, the flow. Lee says it is a real privilege to look at the awa through the Mana Whenua lens.

Watch the Video

Waitangi Day – talking with the community

Members of the iReX team and Mana Whenua partners had a great day at the Waitangi Day Festival in Wellington, talking with the community about the project.

There was plenty of interest in the terminal redevelopment and the new ferries. It was also a great opportunity to highlight our partnership with Te Whanganui-a-Tara Mana Whenua – Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

Korean shipmakers visit

A team from the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) were in Wellington last week working with the iReX project’s ships team on technical design. HMD is a world-renowned shipyard based in South Korea. The two new hybrid-electric ferries are being purpose-built, and will include enhanced environmental features, capacity, resilience and customer experience.

The ferries will be delivered in 2025 and 2026. Find out more about them on the irex website and watch the new ferries explainer video. The video has had more than 10,000 views since it was published in early December.

The HMD team visited the Wellington terminal to look at how rail gets onto ships, loading and general operations.

UPDATE: 26 January 2023

The upgrade of the Kaiwharawhara Wellington Ferry terminal has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority, in what is a major milestone for the project.

This project will provide a significant improvement to the current facilities, including a new Interislander terminal building and wharf to accommodate the two new purpose-built and greener Interislander ferries that will be delivered from 2025.  Work includes a new terminal building and wharf at Kaiwharawhara, commercial and private vehicle marshalling areas and an upgraded railyard. Ground improvements under the terminal building and ramps behind the seawall will increase its resilience to earthquakes and sea-level rise.

Early construction work is underway, focused on flattening Kaiwharawhara Point in preparation for the main construction work, which is scheduled to start by mid-2023.

You can read more about the consent approval in our media release, and read the EPA decision here 012423 – final decision (epa.govt.nz)

Kind regards, Rose
Principal Communications and Engagement Advisor iReX

UPDATE: 14 December 2022


We wanted to let you know about some construction work that is starting at Kaiwharawhara ferry terminal in the New Year. As you are aware, KiwiRail, working with our CentrePort and Mana Whenua partners, is redeveloping the ferry terminal precinct to accommodate Interislander’s two new bigger, greener ferries that arrive from September 2025. The new terminal precinct will provide a wonderful gateway for Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

Early construction work is underway. Over January and February this will include digging utilities trenches (for water, fibre, electricity etc.) running from the terminal entrance at Aotea Quay to Kaiwharawhara knoll. Construction company JFC will be overseeing this work, likely working six days a week, with some of the work completed at night to minimise disruption to Interislander operations.

We don’t anticipate there will be any noise issue for residents, but if residents have concerns, they can email , or phone KiwiRail 0800 801 070 extension 0 (after hours extension 4304).

Ngā mihi, Rose Northcott
Comms & Engagement Team, iReX


Kia ora,

We wanted to let you know that early construction work is planned to start on the Kaiwharawhara Wellington ferry terminal redevelopment on 5 September 2022.

National contractor John Fillmore Contracting (JFC) has been selected to undertake this early construction work. They will be preparing Kaiwharawhara Point for the main terminal construction works which will start in the new year, and includes the construction of a new wharf and ferry terminal, in preparation for the arrival of the two, new hybrid-electric ferries from 2025.
This early construction work will see material moved around and flattened and vegetation (all non-native) cleared in preparation for the main works construction.

Early construction work will take place during daylight hours from September through until December. The machinery used by the contractor will stay on site during the early construction work and there will be no change to access in and out of the terminal and no impact on the passengers’ ferry experience. We don’t anticipate there will be any issues with noise.

We are sending a letter directly to residents and businesses in the Kaiwharawhara area, including contact details if they have queries or concerns – or call KiwiRail 0800 801 070 extension 0 (after hours extension 43042).

Here’s a link to the information on our website as well. Please share this information with your residents/members.

Fly through video of the concept designs
You might also like to share the link to the fly through video of the concept designs for the new redevelopment.

Consent lodged

The Kaiwharawhara Wellington terminal redevelopment consent was recently lodged with the Environmental Protection Agency – here is a link to consent application on their website. And here is a link to information about the EPA consent (and feedback) timeline.

This process is managed by the EPA and not by KiwiRail.

Please keep in touch – we welcome feedback at any time!