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New harbour master appointed

25 Jul 2023

Council appointed last week Domonic Venz as the new harbour master of the Westport Harbour. Mr Venz will start this week taking over the role from master of the dredge Kawatiri Steve Christieson.

Chief financial officer Douglas Marshall says: “We are very pleased to find a person with such a huge depth and range of experience, including being a specialist investigator and manager at Maritime New Zealand. We had big boots to fill after Curly passed away. Domonic brings the lifelong passion for the sea, hands-on experience, and a thorough understanding of the current maritime regulatory requirements to the job.”

Being born and raised in Kaikoura, Mr Venz started fishing on a crayfishing boat during the school holidays as a young lad. This was the beginning of a life associated with the ocean and the maritime industry.

After completing his cadet training in Nelson, he set out working on a deep-sea orange roughie boat. He worked for several companies during his early days as a deckhand which led him to pursuing a command career.

After completing his first command qualification he worked for a whale watching company in his hometown Kaikoura.

After gaining his next command certificate, he skippered several inshore and coastal trawlers, gillnetters, and longliners around the South Island.

He came ashore for several years passing on his knowledge as a tutor and examiner at the Nelson Nautical School. This led to a role with the Maritime Safety Authority (now Maritime New Zealand) as a safety inspector and investigator.

Following the call of the ocean, he returned to sea for two years as master of several coastal Remotely Operated Vehicle survey boats, and patrol vessels out of Wellington.

He returned to Maritime New Zealand as a specialist investigator, which saw him being involved in a number of high-profile investigations such as the Easyrider tragedy in Bluff.

After 10-years as an investigator, he became a manager at Maritime New Zealand, with the responsibility for 15 frontline staff.

Recently he set up his own health and safety business helping fisherman and others with audits, investigations and training. This, along with regularly heading back to sea, has been his focus for the last six months.

Mr Marshall says: “Domonic, his wife, and daughter have had a dream to move to the coast for a while and the opportunity to build on the fantastic work Curly was doing was the perfect time to make this reality.”

“Domonic is keen to help build the port up, to ensure the Westport Harbour has a safe and robust safety system to keep all bar users safe.”

“He is always keen to stop and chat with anyone that wants to have a yarn particularly when talking about commercial fishing. We look forward to welcoming him as part of our dedicated port team.”


further information please contact:
Chief Financial Officer
Douglas Marshall