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University of Waikato Marine Facility

University of Waikato Marine Research Educational Facility

Thank you for your feedback on the proposal to long-term lease an area of open space land at Northern Sulphur Point to enable the University of Waikato to establish a purpose-built Marine Research & Educational Facility.

Submissions are closed and a Council report will be prepared and presented to Council in June in order for councillors to consider the consultation outcomes and whether they wish to progress with a long-term lease of the area.

The vision is to create an interdisciplinary research and teaching facility including specialist marine laboratories, engineering design workshops and a large public engagement space to showcase the Bay of Plenty marine environment to the public.

Northern Sulphur Point map (313kb pdf)

The proposed research centre would be distinctive to New Zealand and create the capacity to attract and host national and international collaborations and research programmes.

It would expand the capability to protect Tauranga’s and New Zealand’s marine environment by providing opportunities and solutions to key issues for the Bay of Plenty coastal and marine environments.

By providing tertiary education opportunities unique to New Zealand, the world-class centre would help keep more young people in the area by enabling them to study courses unique to New Zealand.

Whilst the facility would not be a commercial operation, significant direct economic benefits to the city are expected through growth in student, researcher and administrative staff numbers; new local and international research; development partnerships and conferences as well as the development of marine products and technologies.

The facility would put Tauranga on the map as a home of world-class research specialised in marine research, biotech and engineering, and tertiary education. 

  • The area of open space land located at the southern end of Northern Sulphur Point, is approximately 5,600m².
  • It is mainly undeveloped green space, used for marine activities, occasionally events and overflow car parking. The public can currently access and use this area.
  • The land is zoned Active Open Space under the City Plan.
  • Council would long-term lease the area of open space land to the University of Waikato for the purpose of establishing a Marine Research & Educational Facility.

The University of Waikato is looking for a location within Tauranga to build a new, purpose-built, world class Marine Research and Educational Facility. Due to the bespoke requirements for such a facility, there is very limited privately owned land suitable and available in Tauranga.

The University approached Council to understand whether Council would look at the potential of utilising public land should there be land that meets the bespoke requirements.

The significant economic development opportunity and environmental, cultural and social value that such a facility would bring to Tauranga was presented to the Economic Development and Investment Committee in May 2017.

At the meeting, Council approved to investigate Council owned land in Tauranga to understand whether any areas were feasible sites for the development of the new facility. After a review of the investigation, which was presented to Council in July 2017, two areas on Sulphur Point were short-listed and a further investigation was approved.

Council meeting details 

Following this further investigation, an area of open space land on northern Sulphur Point has been identified as being the most feasible site from both the Council’s perspective and from the University’s perspective. Council has approved the outcome of the further investigation and has agreed to consider the potential for a long-term lease of the area of open space land to the University subject to public consultation and negotiating terms and conditions with the University.

A Council report will be prepared and presented to Council in order for Elected Members to consider the consultation outcomes and whether they wish to progress with a long-term lease of the area.

Council carried out formal consultation from Monday, 12 February to Friday, 9 March 2018 regarding the proposal to long-term lease the land to the University for the purpose of establishing a new Marine Research & Educational Facility. Council will explore the potential terms and conditions for a long-term lease with the University.

Latest news on the Marine Research and Educational Facilty

Last Reviewed: 28/06/2018

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