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National Aquarium of New Zealand National Aquarium, Napier

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by NZ Jeremy, 28 Jan 2008.

  1. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    Booked my flights today and shall be going on Thursday...

    I plan on taking (and posting) lots of photos, doing a (quick) review and probably creating a Wikipedia page...

    Is there anything in particular anyone would like me to photograph or ask..?
     
  2. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    Review

    Hello all, I've been meaning to post my photos and do a review since I got back, oh about February 2nd..!

    Anyway here is a Map of the Aquarium I'll refer to it as I go along so keep it as a window down the bottom of your screen...

    Fish Map

    First a bit of history, the aquarium was built on its current location in 1976 and won many accolades on completion, by 2000 it was looking a bit tired and an 8 million dollar expansion (and full revamp of the old building) was completed in 2002… Upon entry, whether in an old or new area of the aquarium it feels like it opened yesterday…

    This is the 1976 (built) part of the complex:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    And here is the extension:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    After entering you go up the stairs and turn right, you now enter the fresh water exhibit hall…

    Exhibit 5 (on the map) is the chiclids or African tank, here is a photo:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Next is exhibit 6 or the South American fresh water tank:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    and finally in this room exhibit 7, the Asian fresh water tank:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Here a view of the three side by side:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    After the fresh water hall you pass through a small room with a recreation of a backyard Koi exhibit on one side with a turtle vivarium on the other... As you exit this room you have a Piranha tank on your left, a blue tongued skink exhibit and a Eastern water dragon exhibit on your right…

    Piranha tank (a bit small and unexciting I thought):

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Water dragons (left) skinks (right), exhibit 10 and 11:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    After this is a truly impressive exhibit, basically a glass fronted giant terrarium with the water line running the front of the exhibit containg a salt water croc, exhibit 12 on your map:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    I went on a one on one behind the scenes tour (you and a staff member for an hour for only $28, awesome!) and took a few snaps, this is the filtration system from this croc exhibit, it contains a sand filter, bio filters and heating coils:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Next up was the tropical reef tank, exhibit 14… It was very disappointing, my tour guide Scotty said that this was the only part of the aquarium the operators weren’t happy with… The tank's problems are due to the fact they designed it to use natural light and the sky light was well over 2m away from the surface of the water:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    The next animal display was the Tuatara terrarium and it was a beauty, the best I’ve ever seen and contained the largest Tuatara I’ve ever seen, exhibit 16 on the map:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    That ends the upper level of the ‘old’ Aquarium, the lower level had a great kiwi display (no photos allowed sorry), a NZ fresh water river tank (inside the kiwi display gallery), an eel tank, a large heated tank for the long term hawk billed turtle (which has been at the aquarium 20 years or so) and these sea dragons tanks (one of these used to hold Octopi but the tapping on them by people caused them to die). Exhibit 26 and 27:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    At this point my guide took me out the back and showed me the holding, quarantine and breeding tanks at the aquarium… These tanks had the fish not on display and some pretty rare fish in NZ… My guide said in some of the tanks the fish were the last in NZ and Department of Conservation wouldn’t be allowing more so they were conducting breeding efforts, I can’t remember species except they did have some spider crabs they were keeping in very cold water…

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Finally the highlight of the aquarium (as it is at many) was the 1,500,000 litre oceanarium with a 50m acrylic tunnel, it was very well done and looked great, filled with healthy, active fish… I have been to aquariums in Auckland, Sydney, Mooloolaba, Melbourne and Sydney and this tank at least equalled any I have seen at those institutions… It is exhibit 29 and 30 on the map:

    This is the main viewing window into the tank:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    The water had this amazing colour all the time on the two separate days I went…

    A view from inside the tunnel and a snap of a shark which was in the main tank:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    This is above the water, from left to right, taken while being shown the filtration systems the aquarium uses:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    This last image is a look at the impressive filters used in the oceanarium at Napier Aquarium and the image blurb has a description of how they operate:

    Napier Aquarium - Photo Gallery

    So, how does this aquarium rate..?

    I give it a rating of 9 out of a possible 10 fonzies… It is impressive; every exhibit has been well thought out for the big 3 of the zoological world, entertainment, education, conservation and it was so well designed… From going behind the scenes and talking to the staff it seemed like upkeep was easy and the exhibits were just so aesthetically pleasing, the animals all looked healthy and happy (they were of course mainly fish, reptiles and birds) and there was plenty of amenities and space… It took about 2 hours to go around but on my second trip while waiting for my flight home I was happily there 4 hours… The fact an aquarium of this quality exists in a town of under 100,000 people is quite surprising… If you can’t tell I’m a fan and would recommend making it a part of any NZ zoo trip…

    As a side note the aquarium was designed by Marinescape of NZ who also designed Kelly Tarltons, Manly Aquarium and I believe Sentosa, Mooloolaba and Perth Aquariums, here’s their link and one to an Aquarium engineering company in New Zealand:

    http://www.marinescape.co.nz/wb_pg/cont_fla.html

    MJ Murphy Ltd > Home
     
    Last edited: 28 Mar 2008
  3. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review Jeremy, had a look at your photos, it looks like a great place
     
  4. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    It is very well done, far superior to Kelly Tarlton's...
     
  5. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @NZ Jeremy: Lengthy, informative review...as always!! Keep up the great work!!

    The website states that it takes about 1-2 hours to see all of the aquarium, and you took 2 and then 4 hours to view it all. Judging from the photos and the review it appears to be a fairly small establishment, but nevertheless a very well designed one. The tuatara and saltwater crocodile exhibits certainly allow for some close-up viewing, and the oceanarium must have significantly boosted attendance.

    Do you know how many visitors they receive each year? Also, how much of a spike was there in attendance after the 2002 expansion?
     
  6. PAT

    PAT Well-Known Member

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    What type of birds are there.
     
  7. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    @snowleopard: The first year it was open (1976) the old aquarium attracted 230,000 visitors... The town had 50,000 residents at the time... The first 5 years the aquarium was open 750,000 visitors went through the turnstiles...

    Attendance must have dropped some, unfortunately I don't know the attendance figures before 2002 but since they have averaged 120,000... The population of Napier is still only about 57,000 although the regions population and tourism visitors and the country's population and tourism has grown considerably...
     
  8. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    Only kiwi...
     
  9. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    THanks for the review, will have to vist when i finallyt get to NZ~!
     
  10. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't been to Napier yet but it is generally regarded by all as being the best aquarium in NZ.

    Is the African cichlid tank really that small or is it just the way it appears. It looks like a seriously overstocked tank!

    Are the sea dragons spiny sea dragons?

    Regards the cylindrical octopus tanks, the problems we had when we used them was not people tapping on the sides but rather the small volume of water allowing the temperature to fluctuate too much and overheat the poor cephalopod inhabitants.

    pity you can't remember the species of fish here, because the sentence makes no sense to me. DoC is responsible for freshwater native species (which NZ aquariums have no trouble getting). Fish & Game are responsible for introduced freshwater fish (salmonids, coarse fish etc) which again the permits to acquire are relatively simple for public aquariums. MoF is responsible for native marine species, again simple to get. The only fish I could imagine would be more trouble would be exotic imports, which is MaF's department (but there is a difference between imports for commercial purposes and imports for zoos and aquariums). Perhaps the guide you had was confusing his acronyms?
     
  11. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    You're completely right I had MaF and DoC confused in my brain... To be clearer I got the impression he was meaning that they had some species that were previously available and importable to the general population but had been taken off the importable list and as stocks depleted over time, with no more fresh blood coming in, the aquarium had acquired a large proportion of the remaining in efforts to breed and boost numbers so these species would still be available to general aquaists... Not sure of the truth in this statement... I am under the impression NZ has a large quantity of exotic fish for sale...
     
  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    ah, that makes more sense. MaF recently changed the laws regarding importing fish for the hobby. Previously the permitable list was arranged by genera, so for example all Barbus or all Botia could be imported (and in any case the emphasis was more on not-allowed species such as electric eels and piranhas). Now there is a list of specific species. Anything not on the list cannot be imported (although species can be applied for to be added to the list). Pretty much all the common aquarium fish are on the list so its no big deal except for collectors of specific groups (eg plecs or corys) who cannot get all the types they want. There are lots of species being kept here that aren't on the new list, so unless the stocks of those are kept up then they'll die out in NZ. The import laws don't apply in the same way to public aquariums because they can apply for permits that private importers cannot. However they're not going to bother with "average" aquarium fish because there's no point spending money on bringing in species that the general public can't distinguish from other general fish (meaning, they may apply to import, say, Pangasius cats because they look impressive, but they're not going to waste money on some new type of plec or cichlid).
     
  13. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

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    No they weren't, they were the species with the breast plates...
     
  14. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Napier Aquiriam

    I also agree that it is an excellent aquiriam , despite the size constraints .
    It would be my pick as the best currently in NZ , and is an excellent credit to the city of Napier that has approx 60 000 population .
    Its also easier on the pocket than Kelly Tarltons in Auckland

    A few years ago I took some Asian visitors through the Napier Aquiriam ( officially known as the National Aquiriam ) They were not big animal fans , but we still spent about 3 hours in the place .
    For those familiar with US aquiria , I would put it on par with Bostons
     
  15. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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  16. zebra finch

    zebra finch Active Member

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    After Napiers Marineland closed will this be the home for the animals left at Marineland?
     
  17. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    this thread (http://www.zoochat.com/17/last-dolphin-marineland-dies-25024/) covers the on-again-off-again closure of Marineland. The little blue penguins are going to the Aquarium (apparently) but the pinnipeds are not because there obviously isn't anywhere to keep them there. The Marineland animals' future is in limbo at the moment. The only facility in NZ that could take any of the pinnipeds is Auckland Zoo, so its either there or overseas (for the Californian sealions at least). Last I heard there was some legal action being undertaken to try and keep the Marineland going.
     
  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the National Aquarium received two young American alligators on loan from Butterfly Creek in December 2011
    Hawkes Bay News & Events at the National Aquarium
    I was actually looking to see if the penguin exhibit is done yet (for the little blues from Marineland) but it looks like its still under construction as far as I can tell.
     
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Apparently the penguin enclosure will be ready by October this year:
    New home ready for penguins soon | Hawkes Bay News | Local News in Hawkes Bay
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the new penguin exhibit will be opening on November the third (in three days) and will house little blues and white-flippereds (the latter otherwise only displayed at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch).
    http://www.hawkesbaytoday.co.nz/news/little-blues-love-their-new-home/1587318/