Friday marked another momentous day at Tongariro National Trout Centre in Turangi, with the official opening of the Genesis Energy Freshwater Aquarium.
Genesis Energy Chair, the Right Honourable Dame Jenny Shipley, joined local MP Louise Upston and other dignitaries from the Department of Conservation, Genesis Energy, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Tongariro National Trout Centre Society and the wider community to open the aquarium, which will be the first public aquarium in New Zealand to be focussed on New Zealand’s native fish and the threats to our freshwater ecosystems.
The official delegation was lead by Paul Green, Conservator of the Tongariro, Whanganui and Taranaki Conservancy, and he spoke of the department’s excitement to have been a big part of such unique project. “This aquarium will be unlike anything else in the country, and will be something Turangi can be enormously proud of. New Zealand’s freshwater species are a good indication of the quality of freshwater ecosystems, and show why it is important to manage our freshwater resources sustainably. We are excited by the opportunities the aquarium will provide to educate people about how vital our freshwater ecosystems are to our life and economy.”
Dame Jenny was joined by a student from Waipahihi School in cutting the ribbon to the aquarium, and she emphasised Genesis Energy’s support for the project, saying “Genesis Energy is proud to be a part of the exciting developments at the Centre which build on our existing investment. We are pleased to be putting something back into the area above and beyond our focused mitigation programmes and this is a great way to assist and work alongside the community to do something positive.”
Ngati Tuwharetoa kaumatua Te Kanawa Pitiroi then blessed the facility before the doors were opened to the public for the first time.
Tongariro National Trout Centre Society chairman Rob Lester also added his support to the project, saying “the aquarium typifies what can be achieved if you aim high. With partners who are prepared to see the big picture, we have built an asset to the local community which will add tremendous value to the local economy.”
Now that the public are able to enjoy what the aquarium has to offer, we look forward to large numbers of locals and visitors coming through, and taking home with them a new appreciation of our amazing native fish.