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2023 business and tourism facilities review

Our tourism facilities are a key aspect to Napier being a great destination for visitors and a city that provides inviting spaces and places for residents.

In 2023 we carried out an independent review of some of our business and tourist facilities to see if any could operate as commercial businesses. This is important to know because the income we make from business activities can help to reduce rates increases. The intended outcome of this review was to improve our financial sustainability.

The facilities reviewed were *Napier Conferences & Events, Kennedy Park Resort, McLean Park, National Aquarium of New Zealand, Bay Skate, Napier isite, Par 2 Mini Golf, Ocean Spa, Napier Municipal Theatre and Napier Aquatic Centre. As a result of the review, the facilities were placed into three groups – ‘commercial’, ‘reimagined’ and ‘community’. We have different plans for each of the groups.

*For clarity, Napier Conferences & Events is an activity, based in the Napier War Memorial Centre building.

Commercial facilities

Facilities in this group will be enabled to successfully operate as Council-owned commercial businesses within two to three years. The aim is to eventually not need rates or loan funding. Each facility will have strategic plans and business cases developed to support the new approach. We will update the facilities’ funding policies to recognise that they will operate commercially from 1 July 2024. For more details, see our separate Revenue & Financing consultation on or view the proposal at our Customer Service Centre, 215 Hastings Street.

Fees and charges for these facilities will be reviewed to reflect their new commercial approach. This is likely to mean increases to fees and charges.

We are proposing to loan-fund the deficits (losses) of Napier Conferences & Events, Ocean Spa and Kennedy Park Resort. Read more on this on a change to how we fund some tourist facilities page and have your say on our proposed options.

Napier Conferences & Events

Napier Conferences & Events operates from the Napier War Memorial Centre. The Napier War Memorial building was built as a facility for the community to commemorate and pay respect to war veterans. This purpose is protected by law and will remain unchanged. When we move Napier Conferences & Events into a commercial business, we will ensure there is no negative impact to the original and legal purpose of the Napier War Memorial.

Ocean Spa

There is good potential for Ocean Spa to be profitable, but some parts of the facility are ageing. This will be considered as we move Ocean Spa into a commercial business operation.

Kennedy Park Resort

Kennedy Park Resort is well known and has good potential to be operated as a commercial business. We will take a close look at the future development of the park, and how to improve the facility’s operations as we move it to a commercial focus.

Par 2 Mini Golf

Par 2 Mini Golf delivers good financial outcomes and currently does not require rates support. We would like to explore new ideas so its financial performance could be further improved.

What about the other Council-owned facilities?

Facilities to be ‘reimagined’

The following facilities need more thought on how they will operate in future. This could mean changing their location or services and activities. 

After considering all other options, it could mean closure as a last resort. Any change to the status quo, including closure, would involve further business cases, Council decisions, and staff and community consultation.

National Aquarium of New Zealand

In the 2021-31 Long Term Plan consultation, we said we needed to consider the long-term viability of the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Our aquarium is a significant tourist attraction for the region and supports several of our strategic priorities. However, the building is in poor condition. It needs significant work to maintain a viable and engaging visitor experience, with appropriate conditions for the animals, staff and visitors. Operating and capital costs will continue to rise, and it is not sustainable for our ratepayers to continue to part-fund these. The status quo is not a realistic long-term option.

The facility’s reimagined future could include various options. Examples are reimagining the National Aquarium’s activities to make it financially sustainable, such as investigating biodiversity tourism opportunities. A last resort could be closure and adapting the building for another tourism activity(s) or dismantling the building. Part of the reimagine process would look at different models of operations, such as private/public partnerships, that ensure the activity would break even financially, with little or no rates impact.

We will soon begin working on options and budgets for a reimagined facility. When we have some suitable alternatives ready, we will consult with the community on these. In the meantime, we are keeping capital expenditure on the building to a minimum over the next three years. We have money set aside for repairs and basic maintenance to keep the building safe and operational until 2027.

Napier isite

We see the benefits of having an isite visitor information centre in Napier for our community and visitors, but we need to think of ways to make it financially sustainable and explore options to improve the activity. We will consider options and budgets for a reimagined isite from 2024/25.

While the activity of the isite will continue, it might not be in the same location. The isite had extensive remedial building works carried out in 2022 and 2023, which has extended the life expectancy of the facility for a further 15 to 20 years.

When we have some alternative options ready, we will consult with the community on these. In the meantime, we are keeping capital expenditure to a minimum over the next three years.

McLean Park

Before the 2023 facilities review began, we were working on a strategy for McLean Park to ensure its activities meet the needs of Napier and Hawke’s Bay. We paused the strategy’s development while the facilities review was taking place. The review showed that reimagining McLean Park’s activities should be considered. To address this, we have restarted work on the McLean Park Strategy. Once the strategy is finalised, it will be used to help with decision-making as we develop the Park and future options for this facility.

Community facilities 

The following facilities will focus on continuous improvement and increasing their income but will still be partly ratepayer funded. Fees and charges will be reviewed for all in this group. They will focus on being facilities for the community that help us become a great visitor destination and fulfil our vision of enabling places and spaces where everybody wants to be.

Napier Aquatic Centre

We have started a $4 million project for essential maintenance on the facility’s buildings. This will keep Napier Aquatic Centre operating for another ten years. We are budgeting some funding in our Three-Year Plan to understand what Napier needs in a future aquatic centre. We are also setting aside a budget of $75 million to develop a new aquatic centre starting in four years’ time, which is outside the scope of this Three-Year Plan. Getting started on the plans, location, timing and funding options will not be considered for at least four years.

Municipal Theatre and Bay Skate

We have established an Arts, Culture and Heritage business unit, of which the Municipal Theatre and Bay Skate will be part. This new business unit will help us lift the status of arts, culture, and heritage in Napier, and be a great visitor destination. The new unit will also include MTG Hawke’s Bay, Napier Libraries, and the Faraday Museum of Technology, which weren’t part of the 2023 facilities review.

How to have your say

We've provided a number of ways for people to have their say on Napier's Three-Year Plan. 

  • If you need assistance or would like a copy of the full document, pop in and see the friendly team at our Customer Service Centre, Napier Library or Taradale Library.
  • Come and see us at one of our drop-in sessions on Sunday 7 April, Saturday 13 April and Saturday 20 April.
  • Complete the online submission form here.

NDiS logoNapier's Three-Year Plan consultation document is also available in various alternative formats, including easy-to-read, audio, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). You can access these files here.

A pdf version of the consultation information is available here. Please make your submission online here.

Do you want to hear from us more often and have your say on other Napier projects?

Join our People's Panel

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