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Eco-tourism plans for National Aquarium

The expansion of Napier’s National Aquarium of New Zealand is set to put it on the map as a conservation centre of excellence and an eco-tourism destination of major significance.

Words Carolyn Enting

Weta Workshop and Air New Zealand have been confirmed as partners of the National Aquarium project by Napier City Council.

The ultimate goal is to create “an unforgettable aquarium experience” says Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, as well as make a major contribution to marine science research, education and conservation to protect New Zealand’s – and the planet’s – natural environment.

Weta Workshop founder and creative director Sir Richard Taylor says Weta Workshop is looking forward to developing its ideas for the National Aquarium. “We’re 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,” says Taylor.

Work on the expansion project for the National Aquarium began in mid-2-16 and will bring employment opportunities to the area too.

“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,” says Napier City Council visitor experiences manager Sally Jackson. “Contemporary aquariums are all about education and awareness, advancing knowledge through research, encouraging a conservation mindset 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.”

The University of Waikato will also take a role in the project’s development, and the project will need the support of the community as well as organisations to achieve its goals says Jackson. It will also be presented to Government for funding consideration.

“We’re on a mission to create an absolutely extraordinary experience so that people coming to New Zealand will not be able to leave the country without spending time at our Aquarium,” says Mayor Dalton.

It will also offer Hawke’s Bay people the opportunity to get involved in a range of environmental initiatives.


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