A visit to Marineland was always something special, a treat, an adventure - the first on the agenda when visiting family or holidaying in Hawke's Bay. This exhibition tells the story from beginning to end, from the fun times through to the controversy and the eventual closure.
Marineland opened 28 January 1965, two days after Daphne, the pool’s first dolphin was captured, and evolved into a major Te Matau-a-Māui/Hawke’s Bay tourist attraction. Over four decades the oceanarium housed several species of marine wildlife including approximately 90 dolphins.
Initially Marineland was purely an entertainment zoo, showcasing intelligent mammals trained to perform complex routines and display comedic human traits. As perceptions changed towards keeping marine mammals in captivity for commercial gain, the role of Marineland shifted toward acting as a sanctuary for injured animals, focusing on education and conservation.
Throughout its complex history, Marineland was subject to controversy, especially over keeping dolphins in captivity. Changing public and government sentiment, along with tired facilities and internal conflict, eventually led to the demise of Marineland. On 25 April 2009, the doors shut for the final time.
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