Published: 1 June 2021
Project Shapeshifter was the National Aquarium of New Zealand redevelopment proposal put together by Napier City Council in 2019. 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.
Central Government has recently confirmed that it would not be contributing the required funding Council needed to ensure the project’s viability. NCC will therefore begin considering other options for the Aquarium’s future.
“Once we have some future options to put to the community, we will ask people what they think. 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,” says Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise.
From the middle of 2020 onwards, the National Aquarium of New Zealand has thrived with support from local and domestic tourists. With the impacts of closed borders felt by tourism across the country, the Aquarium is nevertheless experiencing high visitor numbers and is 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,” says 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,” says Mayor Wise.
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