Planning Started: January 2011
Construction Started: March 2012
Completed: November 2012
Napier’s Little Penguins are making a big splash in their $1m new home at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
The purpose-built facility recreates the natural beach habitat of what were formerly known as Blue Penguins – it includes a swimming pool with underwater viewing, a sandy beach, driftwood, burrows and nesting boxes.
Some 28 tonnes of golden sand were donated by Winstone Aggregates to help create this life-like environment.
Ten Little Penguins made the move from their previous home at the nearby Marineland in November 2012. Known as Penguin Cove, the new facility is designed to house up to 20 of these native birds.
The Napier City Council, which owns the National Aquarium and Marineland, worked closely with Auckland Zoo, the Zoo and Aquarium Association New Zealand and Australia and the Department of Conservation to ensure the penguins’ new home met the stringent standards required under the permitting process.
Little Penguins are found locally. However, their numbers and range are declining in areas not protected from predators and where there has been encroachment on their habitat.
The world’s smallest penguin stands at just over 25cm, weighs around 1kg and has slate-blue plumage with a bright white belly.
The Little Penguins are included in the aquarium’s education programme and keepers give talks about the species three times a day.