A STORY OF FAMILY & CULTURE.

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Our Who

Below are two parts of our journey. First is the who we are today and second is the how we became. Telling stories is the fundamental way of teaching in Maori culture, today we continue this tradition and try to share it with the world.

Who we are today.

Waikawa Fishing Company today is still true to its heart – whanau working together striving for innovation and sustainability within the waters our family revolves around. Exploring new aspects of the industry and committed to producing premium quality products.

All good journeys start with a good story.

Our story starts, on one side of Cook Strait, in the early 1950s. Dale Connor started working in Wellington as a seaman at age 14. He soon progressed to the inter-island ferry of the time, the Tamahine. In Picton, he fell in love with Mildred Keenan, of Ngai Tahu and Te Ati Awa descent. They married there and had six children.

At Christmas time, the Connor family would spend weeks cruising the Marlborough Sounds. Geoff Connor loved fishing and spent every moment he could on the water.

Steve, three years his junior, caught garfish while still at school, storing it in the science class freezers and selling it to classmates.

1981

The brothers bought their first boat, the Mavis. They caught butterfish in the outer Sounds, then Shark, before turning to Paua diving.

1984

FV Motuara was launched, a 45-foot fishing vessel named after the island in Queen Charlotte Sound, home to Mildred’s whanau.

1989

F.V Swiftsure was used for catching Shark, Ling and Groper, as well as diving for paua and kina.

1992

Carey’s Picton boatyard designed and built the 19m Te Kahurangi. It is still working today, mostly Crayfishing.

1995

Joining our fleet F.V Tempest was used for catching Crayfish.

1997

F.V Star Keys was purchased. Fishing for Crayfish and Bluefin Tuna.

2000

Both the Tempest and the Star Keys left our fleet.

2009

F.V. Sea Hawke II was purchased and worked on catching Trawl Fish.

2009

The company collaborates with Cawthron Institute on the development of new and innovative fishing methods.

2011

F.V. Sea Hawke II was refitted to enter the New Zealand scampi fisheries. This vessel is part of the Cawthron Institute scampi research programme.

2012

Our own brand of scampi ‘Connors Catch’ was born.

2013

F.V. Pacific Challenger joined our fleet, trawling for Fin Fish. 

2013

Waikawa fishing Company undertakes a research programme with Cawthron, looking into the scampi lifecycle and possibilities around the agriculture of scampi.

2015

F.V. Pacific Challenger was refitted for scampi fishing. Joining the Sea Hawke.

F.V. Kobus was purchased.

2018

Waikawa Fishing Company purchased F.V. Santa Rosa, to join the Kobus potting.

F.V. Kobus started full time potting.

2022

Waikawa Fishing Company refits  FV Taudre as our first vessel to catch New Zealand King crabs. These are brought back live to our home port, ready for market.

2023

Connor’s Catch Brand now marketing New Zealand Crab for domestic and international markets.