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Kelly Tarlton Wins International Industry Accolade

Kelly Tarlton Wins International Attractions Industry ‘Hall of Fame’ Accoladee

Auckland, Friday 8 June 2018: Renowned ocean adventurer and founder of Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Auckland has been inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Hall of Fame.

Kelly Tarlton is the first person in Australia and New Zealand to receive the prestigious award, which includes recipients from The Walt Disney Co. and Six Flags Corporation in its ranks.

Acknowledged for ‘Outstanding Achievement and Contribution’ to the global attractions industry, the award was accepted by Kelly Tarlton’s daughters Fiona and Nicole Tarlton at the Asian Attractions Expo 2018 in Hong Kong this week.

Rosemary Tarlton, Kelly Tarlton’s wife, said Kelly would be honoured to receive the induction, commenting: “I always knew my Kelly was a trailblazer. His dream was to build an underwater world for everybody to come enjoy and learn about what covers two thirds of the worlds’ surface,”

“His vision was to encourage people to interact with his portrayal of life under the sea so receiving this award is an honour. Our daughters Nicole and Fiona who were in Hong Kong to accept the award are so grateful to have had Kelly as their father, someone who was dedicated and so enthusiastic for his passion. Kelly’s tunnel design changed the way aquariums are built worldwide.”

This is the second prestigious award achieved by Kelly Tarlton who in November 2012 received a post-humus induction into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.

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Known for his love of the ocean, deep-sea diving and passion for education, Kelly Tarlton was a pioneer in his industry, paving the way through his innovative adventures.

In 1983, armed with a background in engineering and a love for the oceans, Kelly set out on his biggest challenge yet, to build an aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand.

The aquarium, now known as Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s, achieved a major engineering feat with Kelly pioneering a world-first underwater curved tunnel, stretching 110 metres.

The ground-breaking tunnel allows guests to see marine life from all angles, including beneath and has since been emulated in aquariums across the world since opening in 1985.

Constructed within unused sewage tanks, once complete, the aquarium was four times larger than any other in the world.

After 10 months of construction including many 18-hour days to achieve his dream, Kelly Tarlton’s opened to the public in 1985. Sadly, less than 7-weeks after the aquarium opened, Kelly Tarlton passed away, never fully relishing in his years of hard-work and dedication.

Despite this, Kelly’s legacy lives on at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Auckland which sees thousands of guests through its doors each year.

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton General Manager, Daniel Henderson, said the business is honoured to continue Kelly’s legacy, commenting: “We are proud to uphold Kelly’s unrivalled legacy and continue to educate our guests on the oceans and the marine life that inhabit it,”

“Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s has inspired many New Zealanders and continues to pave the way for innovative marine experiences through education and conservation initiatives.”

The aim of Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s is for guests to understand and appreciate the oceans the way Kelly Tarlton did and educate the public on ways they can save our oceans, through our Turtle Rehabilitation Program and daily talks on the dangers of single-use plastics.

For more information on Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s and Kelly Tarlton’s story, please visit:

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