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Aquarium announcement great for the region

Published: 31 August 2018

Fletcher Tabuteau announces government support towards a detailed business case for a National Aquarium expansion.

Aquarium Expansion Business Case Announcement Sept 2018 cropped

(From left) Central Government's Fletcher Tabuteau, NCC's Wayne Jack, National Aquarium penguin keeper, Rebekah Cuthbert and - star of the show - Dora (the Explorer).

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Growth Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today during a visit to the National Aquarium that the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $350,000 towards the cost of developing the Detailed Business Case for the expansion of the much loved Hawke’s Bay facility.

The announcement from Central Government endorses the Indicative Business Case, which sets out an initial strategic, commercial and economic case for the proposed expansion, and supports moving to the next stage to begin the Detailed Business Case.

This news concurs with strong community support as expressed through NCC’s Long Term Plan consultation process, allowing the Detailed Business Case to begin.

“It’s a huge thrill,” says Mayor of Napier, Bill Dalton.

“Central Government shares our view that this facility has real potential as a tourism destination, a marine science and research hub, and a catalyst for real behavioural change. We want everyone who visits the National Aquarium to come away with new knowledge - inspired to take care of their precious marine environment, committed to more sustainable practices, and ready and willing to share what they’ve learned within their community.”

With endorsement from Under Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau during a visit to Hawke’s Bay today, NCC can now invite tenders for the Detailed Business Case, which is also set to include initial concepts from exhibit design partner Weta Workshop and development of full financial models.

Mayor Bill: "“It’s a huge thrill. Central Government shares our view that this facility has real potential as a tourism destination, a marine science and research hub, and a catalyst for real behavioural change.”

Wayne Jack, Napier City Council Chief Executive, says the announcement helps us get one step closer to our vision for the National Aquarium to truely be recognised as a centre of excellence for conservation.

“We're delighted that we can now start working with key partners to turn our vision into reality and make the Aquarium a centre of marine research, conservation and education for New Zealand.”

To recap, the highlights of the National Aquarium of New Zealand expansion project are:

  • Creating a unique destination and an unforgettable aquarium experience
  • Delivering a landmark conservation centre of excellence
  • A major initiative under Matariki: Hawke’s Bay’s Regional Economic Development Strategy and action plan
  • A strong indicative business case that contributes financially, environmentally and culturally to the region
  • The project is part of Council’s Long-Term Plan 2018-28
  • The full business case will now be prepared and presented (in due course) to Government for funding consideration
  • The indicative cost is $51.3m, with a $10.2m investment from NCC over two years and the balance sought through a mix of public and private investment
  • Key partners include Weta Workshop, Air New Zealand, University of Waikato, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Tourism and local iwi
  • Expanded facility earmarked to open in 2023.

Indicative timeline

2018  Preparation of full business case, detailed design and revenue generation strategy
2018 – 2019 Community consultation
2018 – 2020 Detailed design and funding secured
2020 – 2023 Construction
2023 Expanded aquarium opens

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