Sunday, June 16, 2024

Napier aquarium future all at sea after funding knockback

Napier City Council will reconsider the future of the city’s aquarium after the Government knocked back a request for funding to redevelop the facility.

Project Shapeshifter was the National Aquarium of New Zealand redevelopment proposal put together by Napier City Council in 2019.

Council says the project would have built a nationally significant National Aquarium and Oceans Centre to raise awareness of environmental issues and to encourage visitors to support ocean conservation.

“Once we have some future options to put to the community, we will ask people what they think,” said Napier Mayor, Kirsten Wise.

“Consultation will take place in 2022 at the earliest. In the meantime, we have funding set aside for repairs and renewals to keep the facility operational.”

From the middle of 2020, the National Aquarium of New Zealand has thrived with support from local and domestic tourists, she said.

The Mayor said that despite the impacts of closed borders, the Aquarium was experiencing high visitor numbers and was nearly on track to achieve visitor numbers equal to 2018/19 figures. 

“Our Aquarium has been a much-loved part of the community for over 40 years and has provided enjoyment to the thousands of visitors, along with educational opportunities to many school children,” said Mayor Wise.

This year the Aquarium launched a key partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council to bring educational resources into schools nationally.

“We have a lot more we want to do, but also appreciate the need to firmly plan out the next steps for the Aquarium’s future and give our community an opportunity to feed in their hopes and ideas too,” said Mayor Wise.

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