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University of Waikato Marine Facility

University of Waikato Marine Research Educational Facility

Council will assess the recreation reserve Marine Park at Sulphur Point to identify a potential site for the establishment of a purpose-built Marine Research and Educational Facility. 

Council considered the consultation outcomes for the area of open space land at northern Sulphur Point in July 2018 and as a result the site has been removed from further consideration.

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.

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. 

  • Council intends to identify a preferred site for the University of Waikato and agree in principle to a long term lease.
  • Any long term lease would be subject to the required legislative and regulatory processes that may apply.
  • 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.

Following this further investigation, an area of open space land on northern Sulphur Point was identified as being the most feasible site from both the Council’s perspective and from the University’s perspective. Council approved the outcome of the further investigation and 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.

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. The consultation outcomes for the area of open space land at northern Sulphur Point were considered by the Economic Development and Investment Committee in June 2018 and included ratification at the full Council meeting in July 2018. 

Council resolved to investigate Marine Park for a potential location to establish a purpose-built Marine Research and Educational Facility and remove the area of open space land at Northern Sulphur Point from further consideration.

A Council report will be prepared and presented to Councillors to consider a potential location at Marine Park along with the necessary next steps.

Latest news on the Marine Research and Educational Facilty

Last Reviewed: 30/07/2018

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