Bay Skate History
As many locals will know, a large part of Bay Skate is located on the old Marineland site, in particular the iconic 593-seat grandstand that has been refurbished.
Marineland of New Zealand
Although Marineland was permanently closed in 2008 its story began in the early 1960s, when a fisherman rescued a dolphin after catching it in his net in Hawke Bay. He put it in a pool to recover and thereafter the idea was borne to build a marine zoo where people could watch dolphins and observe their natural behaviour, blending entertainment and education.
In 1964, the Napier City Council approved the development of the Marineland of New Zealand project. Auckland architects, McLachlan and Stempson, were commissioned to design the new complex and in 1965 Marineland was officially opened. A New Zealand fur seal named Karma was born at Marineland in December 1981, and was believed to be the first fur seal bred in captivity anywhere in the world.
In 1983 Marineland’s dolphin catching permit was cancelled as part of a review of all fishery permits. In the following years, controversy around marine mammals in captivity took its toll and visitor numbers began dropping. In 1991 the then conservation minister turned down an application to catch six dolphins and a leopard seal, due to public opinion being against capture.
The death of the last remaining dolphin in 2008, a change in the Department of Conservation’s position discouraging marine mammals being kept in captivity, and changes in public opinion, combined with reducing visitor numbers.
The Napier Skating Club
The Napier Skating Club was established in 1937 primarily for roller-skating. The club established a full size skate rink with buildings and facilities on Marine Parade next to the Sunken Gardens in 1955. For almost 40 years the club was run from this site until 1994 when it was transformed into what was known as Sk8 Zone with timber ramps, rails and boxes. The Napier Skating Club managed the Sk8 Zone facility until early 2016.