RV Kaharoa

Although designed primarily for coastal surveys, RV Kaharoa is capable of working throughout New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and further afield. In the last decade, the deployment of over 3000 ocean-profiling Argo floats has taken the vessel over 75,000 nautical miles, as far east as Chile and west as far as Mauritius.

Kaharoa can trawl to a depth of 600m and has been instrumental in surveying and assessing stocks of most of the inshore fish species around New Zealand.

The vessel is also used for other survey work in ocean physics, biology, ecology and geology.

Specifications and principal features

Name of Vessel RV Kaharoa
Owner / Operator NIWA Vessel Management Ltd,
301 Evans Bay Parade, Greta Point,
P O Box 14 901, Kilbirnie,
Wellington, New Zealand.
telephone (64 4) 386 0300, fax (64 4) 386 0555
Flag New Zealand
Call Sign ZM 7552
Port of Registry Wellington
Classification DNV 1A1
Safety Management Lloyd’s Safe Ship Management System
Year of Construction 1981
Length 28.0 metres
Beam 8.2 metres
Draft 3.2 metres
Displacement 300 tonnes
Cruising speed 10.5 knots
Main Engines Lister Blackstone 511 KW at 750 rpm
Main Generator 2 x Volvo 116 kW each
Propeller Liaanen Control Pitch
Freshwater Capacity 21.3 cubic metres
Water Maker approx. 1 tonne per day.
Fuel Capacity 48.8 cubic metres
Freezing Capacity 8.0 tonne insulated ice hold
Accommodation 5 scientific staff + 5 crew
Endurance 30 days
Rescue Boat Lancer Inflatable SOLAS B
Work Boat Can be provided

Lifting equipment

Seacrane Hiab
A-Frame Heavy-duty stern mounted gantry.
Operates through an arc of 75 degrees with a lifting capacity 3.8 tonnes

Electronic and navigation equipment

Electrical supply

50 Hz

Gyro Tokyo Keiki
Autopilot Tokyo Keiki
Doppler Log Ametek
Net Monitors Scanmar
Furuno CN22
Radars Koden MD 3721 60-mile range
Racal-Decca – Type 65614600
Video Plotter Seaplot
Echo sounders Koden CV 8814 colour sounder
GPS 2 x Furuno GP 50
Weather Fax Furuno Dfax

Communication equipment

Marine Radios Skanti 400 watt SSB radio teleophone
Icom VHF
Watch Receiver Skanti
Cell phone
+64 27 442 7509 (when in range of the New Zealand Telecom network)
+64 27 236 4932 (when in range of land based network)
Inmarsat Mini M

008 72 7 622 14760
008 72 7 622 14761

Winching equipment

2 Main Trawl Winches Norwinch 1,500 metres 14mm 6x19 wire rope per winch.
2 Gilson Winches Norwinch
1 Windlass Norwinch
1 Net drum Winch Norwinch
Acoustic Winch Holds approx. 1,000 metres 12.5mm faired cable. Slipring fitted.
Hydrology Winch Holds 3,000 metres 6mm wire.
CTD Winch Holds 2,000 metres 6mm cable. Slipring.
Camera Winch Holds 1,500metres camera cable. Slipring.

Additional equipment (mobilised as required)

Side Scan Sonar Klein dual frequency side scan sonar.
C-MAX side scan sonar
Sub bottom profiling system Geo Acoustics profiler
Magnetometer SeaSPY towed system
Hydrographic sounders Echotrac – 24 and 200 kHz
Multibeam echo sounder
Survey navigation systems HydroPro
Motion compensation TSS DMS
Sound velocity calibration Expendable Bathythermographs (XBTs)
Digibar DB-1100
AML SVplus sound velocity profiler
Seabed sampling Rock dredges and grab samplers
Tide measurements Current, level, etc meters


The above specifications for Kaharoa are correct at the date of publication. Some of the cable types and cable lengths on the winches may vary, as these are being replaced or shortened on a regular basis. Similarly, electronics and other capabilities are upgraded or changed continually.


Manager - Marine Resources
General Manager - Vessel Operations
RV Kaharoa, at Wellington Harbour. [Dave Allen]
Kaharoa on Argo 12 voyage 2011. Photo by Simon Wadsworth.
Deployment of Stanford Buoy to temporary mooring in Wellington Harbour, Jan 26 2007