The National Aquarium of New Zealand stretches along Napier’s Marine Parade like a huge stingray. It's home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater and land animal exhibits from New Zealand and around the world.
The 1.5 million litre Oceanarium showcases the varied aquatic species that exist in the adjacent Hawke Bay, including shark, stingray and other reef fish. You can journey through the Oceanarium inside our amazing underwater viewing tunnel via a 50m travelator as fish swim and feed, above and around you.
In 1954, shoe retailer Les Mills installed a large goldfish tank in his store. He later filled it with tropical fish that his son Ian had purchased from Wellington.
The tank proved so popular that Les, a member of Napier's Thirty Thousand Club, was given £500 to establish a public aquarium in the basement of Napier’s War Memorial Hall, which opened to the public on the 14th of December 1957.
Just under twenty years later in 1976, the aquarium had moved to a purpose-built site at the southern end of Marine Parade, where the aquarium still resides today. This impressive new building welcomed 230,082 visitors in its first year!
Then in 2002, the National Aquarium completed an $8 million redevelopment that included its new 1.5 million litre Oceanarium exhibit. It was renamed The National Aquarium of New Zealand and was opened to the public by Prime Minister Helen Clark on the 14th of March 2002.
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