Saturday, 22 November 2014

Marineland, Moturiki (Leisure Island)

Marineland, Moturiki Island, undated postcard
Image courtesy of Justine Neal
In 1964 a Tauranga entrepreneur put forward the idea to create a large outdoor aquarium on the old quarry site on Moturiki Island. In 1965/66 drilling took place on the old quarry floor, explosives were set and detonated. When the loose material had been excavated there remained a large open shape. This was filled and stocked with dolphins and other marine life and Marineland was established. it was very popular at first but gradually patronage began to decline, possibly because the permanent population of the district at the time was not enough to support it, there was not enough variety in the exhibits and the deaths of several of the dolphins led to  questions about the care of the animals.

Marineland, Moturiki Island, undated postcard
Image courtesy of Justine Neal
By 1981 the steady decline in takings led to its closure and eventual sale.

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