What is the Aquarium Expansion Project?
It is a proposal from Napier City Council to expand the National Aquarium of New Zealand, to create an unforgettable experience for all that visit. We think an expanded aquarium will be a real boost to the regional economy, attracting more visitors and creating jobs. In addition, the aquarium will become a marine science research and education centre of excellence to raise awareness of ocean conservation and promote environmental sustainability.
Why is Napier City Council involved?
The aquarium is owned by the people of Napier and Napier City Council. Supporting economic growth is a key responsibility of the council and this project is a major initiative under Matariki – Hawke’s Bay’s Regional Economic Development Strategy and action plan - to create jobs and attract more visitors to Hawke’s Bay. If the project goes ahead we would be one of a number of partners in this project, with a relatively modest financial investment in the expansion.
How much will it cost?
The cost for the expansion is estimated at $45 million.
How will it be paid for?
The project will be financed by a combination of public and private investment including a $7million investment from Napier City Council.
What stage is the project at right now?
An indicative business case has been prepared. Once approved by Napier City Council it will be presented to Central Government for approval and potential investment. Only then does it become more of a reality. A more detailed business plan will be developed and the project will be a step closer to fruition, if we can fund it.
Who are the partners?
We will be working with many organisations, companies, local authorities and iwi. Key partners at this early stage are Weta Workshop, Air New Zealand, University of Waikato, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Tourism and local iwi. Many more will join as we progress.
When will it happen?
If funding is secured, construction will be from 2019 -2021, with the re-opening in 2021.
What will happen to the aquarium if the project goes ahead?
It may close to the public for a period of time during the build.
What will happen to the animals?
The animals will be taken care of during the construction period, even if we are not open to the public.
What are the key stages of the project?
• Detailed business case 2017;
• LTP consultation 2018;
• Funding secured 2017-2018;
• Construction 2019 -2021;
• Expanded aquarium opens 2021.
Will there be job losses?
We don't predict any job losses. We plan to deploy the aquarium staff to other roles within Napier City Council. The expanded facility will require more staff once it is operating, creating great work opportunities in the region.
Why is Weta Workshop involved?
They are expert storytellers and designers and will bring the wow factor to the aquarium. We want the experience of visiting the National Aquarium of New Zealand to be unforgettable and Weta Workshop will play a key part in the design of the expanded facility.