Proposed Ocean Exploration Centre Boost for Capital's Ecology and Economy

19 March 2013

The proposed marine education centre and aquarium for Wellington's South Coast is a bold, ambitious and exciting development for the capital, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said today.

Members of the Wellington Marine Conservation Trust today met with the Wellington City Council to outline their $36-million New Zealand Ocean Exploration Centre Te Moana, proposed for the disused Maranui Works Depot Site in Lyall Bay. Wellington entrepreneur Sam Morgan also spoke in support of the project.

The Mayor, who has been a supporter of the existing Marine Education Centre since the 1990s, said the project represented ambitious thinking for Wellington that will lead to increased spending, jobs and income, in addition to ideal educational, social and environmental outcomes.

"I love Te Moana, this bold project for Wellington's South Coast. This proposal offers significant advantages for Our Living City," she said.

"Wellington is the capital of the world's fifth largest marine area, so we're the ideal home of a world-class 21st century Ocean Exploration Centre. Te Moana would really put us on the global map for marine understanding. 

"Te Moana will be a magnificent transformation of a disused site. The Ocean  Exploration Centre ticks a lot of boxes; it will be an asset to the city's education, ecology and economy.

"Together with central government funding and social investment led by Sam Morgan, the Council has a key role to play in the provision of land, currently a disused and unattractive closed quarry, for the project.

"Working in partnership with organisations including NIWA, Victoria University's Coastal Ecology Lab, and Positively Wellington Tourism, the Trust has presented a compelling case.

"The proposed site, on the landward side of the coastal road and intimately connected to the Cook Strait, is an attractive location and will unlock the natural treasures of New Zealand's wild environment for today's and tomorrow's citizens and visitors."

Today’s presentation followed a four-year feasibility study by the Wellington Marine Conservation Trust, which will now look to secure resource consents and funding for the new project.