Published: 13 July 2021
Project Shapeshifter was Napier City Council’s redevelopment proposal for the National Aquarium of New Zealand. 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 therefore needs to consider other options for the Aquarium’s future.
“I’m aware that there is concern in the community that the Aquarium is about to close. That is simply not the case,” says Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise.
“We have committed nearly $9 million in our Long Term Plan for capital renewals projects at the Aquarium. This demonstrates how much our Council values our wildlife, the team and the facility. Our dedicated Aquarium team is really heartened by this and excited about the future.”
Council will begin considering the Aquarium’s future next year. Once options have been worked through they will be put to the community for their views in 2022 at the earliest. At this stage, nothing has been decided. Project Shapeshifter, with appropriate funding explored and secured is also an option still to consider.
“The focus on closure is short-sighted. We need to exercise due diligence as we consider the Aquarium’s future. That means all options have to be on the table, but it doesn’t at all mean that closure is inevitable,” says Mayor Wise.
“Our Aquarium has been a much-loved part of the community for over 40 years and I know that people are extremely supportive of it remaining in Napier for many years to come. With the committed, creative National Aquarium team and a lot of advocates in the community, I’m confident that together we will make the right choice for our Aquarium’s future.”
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