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Marineland to be transferred to National Aquarium of NZ

Media Release 10 December 2010

Marineland to be transferred to National Aquarium of New Zealand

The Napier City Council has made a decision to close Marineland permanently after receiving confirmation by the Minister of Conservation that they no longer support keeping marine mammals in captivity.

The Minister’s letter dated 4 November 2010 confirms the Department of Conservation’s position on phasing out marine mammals being kept in captivity.

Marineland has been closed to the public since September 2008 when Kelly the last remaining dolphin died. Since then, the remaining animals have been cared for on-site by Marineland staff.

The 40 year old infrastructure of Marineland has been maintained over the years. However, due to the extremely harsh marine environment the underground infrastructure, such as piping and pools, is well beyond its useful life and needs complete replacement. This, coupled with the Government’s policy, has led the council to the clear decision to close the facility and clear the site ready for something new.

Speaking on behalf of the council Napier Mayor, Barbara Arnott, says that although many alternative options have been considered by the council for the Marineland site, none have yet been convincing and feasible given the cost impact on the ratepayer.

“As a council we completely recognise the importance of this site to Napier’s tourism package and therefore will continue to explore all options for development of a modern, unique attraction for the benefit of both our local community and visitors to the city,” says Barbara.

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A positive outcome of the decision will be the move of the little blue penguins to The National Aquarium of New Zealand, also located on Napier’s Marine Parade. A new purpose-built home for the penguins will be a welcome addition for the aquarium and is planned to be in place by November 2011.

The education programmes run by Marineland’s education team will also be moved to the National Aquarium of New Zealand in January 2011 and delivered to students under the existing education programme.

“The council acknowledges the devotion and high level of care that Marineland staff have provided the animals and recognise this is a difficult time for them’, says Barbara.

“We will work through this situation with staff in the best way possible and also endeavour to relocate staff into new roles within Napier City Council facilities.”

ENDS

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