Facts & Figures

  • 180,000+Estimated visits each year

  • $6mCouncil contribution

The Council is considering a proposal to support the establishment of an Ocean Exploration Centre at the former Maranui Quarry site in Lyall Bay, providing opportunities to discover Wellington’s marine life and ocean environment.

The centre aims to be a significant visitor attraction, providing people with opportunities to discover and appreciate New Zealand’s marine environments, with a particular focus on the Cook Strait’s unique sea life. The centre also aims to play a role in promoting the long-term health of New Zealand’s marine ecosystems.

The Centre would be built and operated by the Marine Education Trust.  The Council would contribute a third of the $18 million capital costs.  The Trust aims to attract the remaining two thirds from Social Investors and the government. 


  • New nature-based visitor attraction.
  • Strengthens Wellington’s identity as a city that celebrates nature.
  • Increased awareness of and advocacy for the marine environment.


  • The operating costs of the Ocean Exploration Centre would be met by the Marine Education Trust.  They have assessed that 180,000 visitors per annum would be required to make the centre viable.  Initial estimates show projected visitation in excess of 200,000.  This is similar to the number of people that visit the Wellington Zoo each year.  The Council’s contribution is conditional on the funding being secured from other parties and review of the final business case.
  • The budget contains an operational grant of $6 million in 2015/16.

What you think

86% Feedback received that supports our overall plan

214 Number of times people have told us what they think about this idea

94% Feedback received that supports this idea

#4 Out of 28 ideas based on amount of feedback received.

Who would benefit most?

23% Visitors to Wellington
22% Future generations
22% Local residents
16% Local businesses
16% NZ as a whole
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Visitors to Wellington
  • NZ as a whole
  • Future generations
  • Other

How should we prioritise it?

72% High
20% Quite high
4% Neutral
2% Quite low
2% Low
  • Quite low
  • Low
  • Neutral
  • Quite high
  • High
  • Chris, Brooklyn

    It would provide a unique opportunity to learn about the coastal environment on our doorstep that is inaccesible to non-divers

  • Kim, Brooklyn

    New Zealand is surrounded by water. Learning about the plant and animal life that makes the NZ coastline unique is valuable and interesting for both visitors and residents. Children in particular grow up with a natural curiosity of all things in their environment. This project will ensure that children of NZ have access to information that will enhance their lives and teach them about sustainability, science and fun!

  • Pete, Other

    don't underdo it. The national aquarium misses the mark. Concentrate on local marine environments as ours are diverse and wonderful. Be strong on reducing maring pollution and what everyone can do to do their bit.

  • Emma, Ngaio

    A great opportunity to promote the uniqueness of Wellington's aquatic wildlife and wonderful coasts.

  • Antonio, Island Bay

    Cook Strait is a very special place in New Zealand. The Ocean Exploration Centre will be our portal into the hidden beauty that lives just below the surface of our coastal waters. It will encourage people to see and learn about some marine life that is not found anywhere else in the world. It will also complement the Zoo, Zealandia, Otari- Wilton Bush, and other nature-based attractions in the Wellington region.

  • Nicola, Mornington

    Any opportunity to view and show off Wellington's beautiful marine reserve would be amazing

  • Hugh, Brooklyn

    The ocean exploration centre would be unique to Wellington because of the incredible diversity of plants and animals found on Wellington's South coast. The location of the proposed centre takes advantage of the ease of access that visitors and residents alike have to the south coast, the marine reserve and the unique physical environment.

  • Rupert, Johnsonville

    The Ocean Exploration Centre will foster an interest in that which covers over 70% of our planet's surface. Wellington has a unique relationship with the south coast and the marine environment that is just outside our back door.
    In reality the whole world needs people to appreciate the importance of the oceans to our planet's wellbeing. Wellington has an opportunity to lead the way with another world class facility.