Napier City Council has shared further details of its expansion plan for the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Mayor of Napier, Bill Dalton, says the ultimate goal is creating “an unforgettable aquarium experience” – but the project is also expected to generate jobs and grow the local economy. The aquarium will, it is hoped, contribute to marine science research, education and conservation to protect New Zealand’s natural environment.
The council has also announced the support of high profile partners Weta Workshop and Air New Zealand.
Weta Workshop Founder and Creative Director, Richard Taylor, says: “It’s terrific to have the opportunity to work with the team from NCC and the National Aquarium of New Zealand on this project and we look forward to kicking off the concept design phase. We are excited by the prospect of finding new and unique creative experiences that connect visitors emotionally with the conservation challenges faced by our oceans and natural environments.”
Air New Zealand’s Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says that the airline’s support of the National Aquarium Expansion Project is a logical extension of Air New Zealand’s commitment to preserving and protecting New Zealand’s natural environment: “We’re right behind the project and committed to working with Council and other partners in seeing it through to fruition.”
The University of Waikato will also have a role in the project.
NCC Manager Visitor Experiences Sally Jackson say the project is “bold and visionary”.
She explains: “This is a game-changer for Hawke’s Bay. It puts us on the map as a conservation centre of excellence and an eco-tourism destination of major significance. It’s an exciting project for our city and region, and we’re looking forward to the process of securing funding to make it a reality.”
“As well as more jobs and visitors, the Aquarium will play a major role in ocean and waterways conservation – crucial natural resources that we must protect. Contemporary aquariums are all about education and awareness, advancing knowledge through research, encouraging a conservation mind-set and promoting environmental sustainability. This is an exciting opportunity for our National Aquarium right here in Hawke’s Bay to become a landmark conservation centre for New Zealand.
“But we can’t do it on our own. We need our community – as well as organisations that share our vision – to support and work with us to achieve our goals. We will be partnering with world leading aquariums, scientists and local iwi to create an outstanding aquarium that is a centre of excellence for marine science research and education, benefitting all New Zealanders.”
The expanded aquarium proposal has an indicative cost of $45m and is earmarked to open in 2021.
Image Courtesy of the National Aquarium.