When it comes to marine electrical and electronic systems, we think of internationally recognised brands from overseas, but did you know that New Zealand punches above its weight when it comes to the design, manufacture and distribution of electrical engineering and electronic products.

There are brands that you see on boats that you would probably assume are the product of some overseas-based conglomerate, but you may be very wrong. In fact, some of our most common brands are homegrown, and had it not been for a Kiwi’s foresight and forward-thinking, they may never have happened. When it comes to dedicated marine electrical systems, they have been around for more than 100 years. The Titanic used radio waves to detect the underwater extent of icebergs, albeit not very successfully. From there, it was a small step to using the same technology to locate ships. Sonar, which uses sound waves rather than radio waves, can detect underwater objects other than icebergs and surface ships. It can be aimed straight down to measure depth and coincidentally “see” fish. Welcome the fishfinder and the MFD, a tool we use on everything from 4m tinnies to ocean liners. In 1935 we got radar, thanks to a Scottish physicist, and after WW2, when life started to get back to normal and leisure boating started to take off, marine electronics took on a whole new focus. It wasn’t just about military and commercial use, it was developing something that would suit the recreational boatie. With the help of the space program and Silicon Valley, paper charts, astrolabes, sounding lines, and sextants have largely been traded for GPS, computer-integrated chartplotters, AIS, satellite television and autopilots. Distress beacons that can be picked up and transmitted by satellites in orbit can bring help more quickly and accurately than earlier methods. Plus, what we put in our boats these days has changed. When once, at best, it was a big bracket-mounted paper sounder, a distress radio, plus a transistor, today you have a lot more, and they are more compact. MFD (Multi-Function Displays) cover most of it by incorporating everything you need, such as radar, sonar, AIS and charting. The options are many, no matter what area of electronics you are looking for in your boat, and over recent years, it has grown incredibly. Looking for a VHF, radar or maybe an MFD, you are spoiled for choice, and often, the decision will be made on price, size and what your mates are using on their boat.

New Zealand has always had access to international brands, but for some Kiwi electrical engineers, that wasn’t enough. Like the mousetrap, someone always has an idea for a better one. We look at some of those innovative New Zealand companies that went down their own path and not only took on the big guns but, in some cases, became them. Others saw their product gain such success that they were purchased by established international companies, accelerating their exposure on the world stage.



BEP produces digital switching, battery management, and circuit electrical solutions for the harsh marine and RV environments. The company was started in 1995 by Bruce Edward Pratt. BEP’s product line has expanded to include a broad range of circuit protection, batteries and battery management, power distribution panels, monitors, and digital switching technology. The engineers and product managers at BEP continue to develop the next generation of power management products. The company’s products are designed to easily integrate into simple or comprehensive electrical systems. The two most recognised is the PRO INSTALLER Range which incorporates individual battery management switches, multi-switch panels and remote-operated VSR, and the Smart Battery Hub, an all-in-one battery management system with remotely activated switches. The company also offers power distribution panels, monitoring systems, circuit protection, connectors and insulators.



Connexwire Limited started out as a niche manufacturer, designing panels and looms to suit the individual requirements of its customers. Originally named Aquatech Marine Limited, the company was re-branded to Connexwire Limited in 2011 to reflect the diversification to providing harnesses, looms and switch panels to the marine, automotive and OEM industries in New Zealand. Continuing to innovate is Connexwire’s focus and they have developed further generations of switch panels. Because they recognise that space is increasingly at a premium due to larger screens on electronics, they now offer fused, backlit panels which take up less of the valuable dash real-estate than other major brands. Connexwire continues to grow and has expanded into Australia, and will continue to look for key opportunities globally while developing and maintaining their core business in New Zealand and Australia. Connexwire will be amongst close to 30 New Zealand companies attending METS 2023. Connex has an extensive range of switch panels, toggle switches, rocker switches and battery switches. The own unique 6 and 4 way fused, back-lit switch panels with fuse blown indicator are proudly designed and manufactured in New Zealand. They are able to fully customise the switch configurations to your needs including adding service-in-operation indicators.



Engineered in New Zealand, CZone and BEP were sold to Brunswick in 2017 they are now under the newly formed Navico Group along with other leading marine electronic brands, B&G, C-Map, Lowrance, Simrad, Mastervolt, ReLion plus many more trusted brands. The CZone digital control and monitoring network simplifies the installation of electrical systems by replacing complicated, cumbersome wiring to switch and fuse panels with robust interfaces via the NMEA 2000 network. It also provides a sophisticated solution by automating control and monitoring issues associated with today’s onboard systems. Installers recognise an immediate benefit with reduced cable usage, harness weights and installation times. The CZone system also integrates many standalone components into one intuitive system via dedicated CZone screens or touchpads or via the NMEA network on your Simrad, Lowrance and other MFD integrations. The CZone system decentralises the AC and DC power distribution system. It locates circuit control and protection modules closer to loads to shorten cable runs and reduce the size of conductors, significantly decreasing the cost and weight of the electrical wiring harness. The system replaces complex wiring with a single data wire.

Cruz Pro


CruzPro manufactures a broad range of intelligent and accurate instruments in seven categories; Accessories, AC & DC Electrical Monitoring, Depth and Speed Instruments, Digital Engine Gauges, Fuel & Tankage Monitoring, Gas Detectors and Multi-Function Instruments. Many of these products are available with either round or rectangular bezels. Most CruzPro instruments work on both 12V and 24V systems and contain built-in user settable high and low alarms. The fuel, tankage and engine gauges have built-in calibration curves for all popular senders, both American and European resistance ranges, or ‘learn’ the sender characteristics and tank shape. Most CruzPro instruments output NMEA 0183 serial data for data logging or use with remote data repeaters, or this output line can be programmed as an external alarm output. They have a common user interface, intelligently thought out, that makes each new instrument easy to learn and use. To ensure a reliable long life in the harsh marine environment the products are constructed using UV stable AES plastic, stainless steel hardware, solvent resistant silicone rubber gaskets and O-rings, Lexan brand polycarbonate and 3M adhesives. Most CruzPro gauges are CE certified and RoHS compliant (environmentally friendly and lead free). All products enjoy a full twelve (12) month parts and workmanship warranty. Cruzpro ships worldwide to areas not served by local dealers and offers branded products for OEMs such as Si-Tex, Newmar, Radarsonics, eMarine, Innovative Marine Safety and Kussmau.



Fusion Entertainment is a company that started in 1998 with an initial focus on car audio and has grown to be the world leader in marine entertainment. Designed in New Zealand, Fusion Entertainment is now primarily focused on developing products for the Marine and RV market segments. Based in Auckland, and a Garmin brand since 2014, Fusion is founded on trademark “Kiwi” determination, ingenuity, and passion for life on the water. While enjoying a substantial market share in their home market, New Zealand, Fusion sells into both the OEM and retail sectors internationally, providing their entertainment systems to numerous boat builders and retail outlets around the world. Fusion has always been at the forefront of technological change, highlighted by the integration of all the key electronics brands with “Fusion Link”, and that’s something that is a fundamental aspect of the company. Fusion’s world firsts included iPod Inside, Fusion Link and Fusion Link App. All their products are designed from the ground up for the harsh marine environment and not adapted from an automotive platform that is reverse engineered. Their determination to continually innovate has brought the integration of touchscreens to marine stereos, along with Wi-Fi audio streaming, Apple AirPlay 2, PartyBusTM-Network, and advanced Digital Signal Processing. With the launch of the award-winning ApolloTM Series and its many industry and world-first features and innovations, Fusion set a new bench-mark for marine audio entertainment.



McKay has a long and proud history that began in Northland in 1936. Since then they have achieved some huge milestones and have consistently strengthened their position as one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful privately owned electrical contracting businesses. They have developed a number of products for the marine industry. IMACS is a McKay built Alarm and Monitoring System based on an open scalable platform that can be integrated with a wide range of third party systems (engine monitoring / fire alarm system etc) by means of open communication protocols. The McKay developed EVCAM interface allows the complete control of electric vessel control and power management, enabling continuous monitoring and reliable operation on new technology platforms. The application is designed specifically for electric propulsion systems and communicates on industry protocols to enhance user efficiency and more so digital real time connectivity for operators and service providers. Sidewinder is a proven and innovative app developed by the McKay Software team to streamline complex cable installation and management. This web based tool provides real time reporting, complete visibility and the tools required to deliver capability projects on time and with a heavily reduced amount of common rework.

Pacific Aerials


Pacific Aerials Ltd is an Auckland based antenna manufacturer with global markets. Established in 1977 to manufacture antennas and accessories for the growing land mobile radio industry, the family owners, who still work in the business, quickly recognised that the company could not develop into the world-class manufacturer they wanted it to be by supplying only the New Zealand market. An early and successful marine product launch into the larger Australian marine market was quickly followed by entry to the competitive UK market and progressive and continuing extensions into Europe, the United States, South Africa, South East Asia and China. All their antennas and accessories are designed, engineered, manufactured and individually tuned and tested in Auckland. They offer a range of VHF,AIS, Cellular, AM/FM and HF/SSB aerials, as well as marine terrestrial TV antennas. Pacific Aerials Ltd has been ISO9001 accredited since 1994.



Vesper Marine was founded in 2007 by Deirdre Schleigh and Jeff Robbins, who had just completed seven years of ocean cruising onboard their yacht Vesper – an experience they say underlined the importance of collision avoidance every day. The couple were joined by electronics designer and fellow sailing buff Omundsen. They set out to make use of the recently developed international marine communication standard, AIS, to improve marine safety. After launching a series of innovative and award winning products for boats, the company developed their first AIS Shore Station that enabled the creation of virtual bouys (VAtoNs). This was recognised by Professional Mariner in 2012 with the Plimsoll Award for innovation in marine safety. In 2022 the company was purchased by NYSE-listed Garmin who continued to commit to rigorous research and development and innovation. The company continues to design for performance, reliability and ease of use, backed by outstanding customer support. Vesper Marine is distributed in 42 countries and is recognised as a global innovation leader in AIS and VHF electronic equipment for commercial and recreational customers. Vesper Marine AIS transponders are easy to use and consume much less power than other products yet are one of the most advanced collision avoidance systems available. Options include two unique dedicated stand-alone AIS units or two models of innovative AIS transponders to integrate with your existing equipment.



From small beginnings to an international market leader, ENL Group has taken their WASSP Multibeam Sounder to the world. WASSP is manufactured in New Zealand under ISO9001/2000 certification, WASSP Systems are specifically designed to meet the unique requirements of its clients. It is WASSP’s 360-degree approach from research and development through to design, build, and installation that delivers a range of products that provide its clients with unique and innovative technology solutions. Initially developed as a system for the commercial fishing industry, WASSP Multibeam technology has evolved and is now equally at home on the bridge of a pleasure craft just as it is on a commercial workboat. Since its launch, WASSP has seen incredible growth in all areas. WASSP is now distributed in more than 35 countries and has been embraced by the commercial fishing, recreational fishing, super yacht, hydrographic, professional workboat, dredging & construction, navy, coastguard and now leisure with the sport fishing market. A true game changer WASSP’s presence in the leisure market has grown massively, with its systems now installed onto superyachts from some of the world’s leading builders. Installed in the tender or support vessel of a superyacht, the W3 system uses a wireless link to send a real-time sea floor map back to the super yachts bridge system and display it in real-time with unparalleled precision. Its profiling is 100x faster than a single beam echo sounder. With 224 beams, users can understand the underwater environment to locate fish faster over a much wider area than traditional single-beam systems. Perhaps most importantly, be able to see the seafloor structure and detect hardness changes, giving an increased understanding of the underwater environment, whether it be for fishing / surveying or aquaculture purposes.



Hella marine products are manufactured by Hella New Zealand limited. A company celebrating 50yrs of local manufacturing in 2023. Hella New Zealand is spread across two sites. A dedicated manufacturing facility, including on site injection moulding in Auckland is backed up by a purpose built electronics plant in Waihi. The Auckland location also houses sales, marketing and the R&D hub where all the products a designed inhouse. Hella’s Marketing Manager, Ramon Surrey, says that with three decades of LED expertise, ongoing R&D, innovative design using high-quality materials, Hella Marine continues to set benchmarks across all product areas. The most recent of which, is the award winning APELO underwater lights, a 100% homegrown kiwi success story. Today Hella Marine is a globally recognised and trusted brand with LED navigation and high-performance lighting systems in over 60 countries. The main markets are Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific Region, with established distributors within the Hella network and independent marine specialist distributors. Hella Marine offers complete marine LED lighting solutions, all completely sealed and supported with a 5-year warranty.



Juice Lithium Ion batteries are designed and manufactured by Enertec Marine Ltd. Established in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1987, Enertec has long relationships with some of the world’s best-known marine electrical power product brands. With over ten years of experience with Lithium Ion batteries in both marine and land-based applications, the team at Enertec, in typical Kiwi fashion, saw the opportunity to develop a new generation of Lithium Ion batteries specifically for the marine industry which would resolve some of the installation issues with current product offerings. To achieve this, Enertec Marine teamed up with the Electrical Engineering Department at Auckland University to help develop a cutting-edge Lithium Ion battery management system and cell balancing system to allow superior performance and longevity. Furthermore, the design offers some unique features which provide simplicity of operation for the end user and integration, if required, with 3rd party equipment such as digital switching systems. Continuing in the pursuit of developing unique marine products, Enertec have also recently released the marine industries first permanent magnet alternator (PMA). This revolutionary new product offers far higher efficiency than traditional alternators. It develops less heat, produces higher output using a fraction of the engine power, and has a superior power curve. Enertec are very excited at the level of interest already in this product and the many possibilities for it. While Enertec markets and distributes Juice in NZ, they are keen to work with like-minded international companies interested in distributing their product.


Navico has a long history in New Zealand, with a substantial R&D facility in Auckland encompassing mechanical engineering, Software and UI/UX. Navico historically comprised of four consumer brands including Lowrance, Simrad Yachting, B&G and CMAP. However, in 2021 Navico was acquired by Brunswick, and in 2022 Navico Group was formed representing the integration of ASG, Navico and Relion. Navico Group is now comprised of the world’s leading brands in marine electronics, power management, networked devices, and digital control & monitoring, trusted globally by the industry’s leading builders of boats, RVs, and specialty vehicles, as well as the world’s largest retailers and distributors.

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