Neither of us has ever been to a commercial aquarium and living as we do in the biggest aquarium in the world why would we want to? For penguins, of course. We’ve caught fleeting glimpses of the little blue penguins native to New Zealand from the boat but we plunked down our entrance fees to the National Aquarium in Napier so we could be up close and personal to these cuties. 

We did the obligatory walk through the exhibits and the big tank but mostly we were waiting for penguin feeding time. 

The small population of fairy penguins here are all rescues, victims of predator attacks, fishing line or net snares or other injuries or debilities. A few are partly sightless, some are missing flippers, one had a head injury, and so on. When the staff rescues a bird, they nurse it back to health and release it into the wild if they can but if the penguin won’t be able to fend for itself it’s kept here, safely cared for and providing amusement for us visitors. And who doesn’t love penguins? They’re just so damn cute and we happily watched them until it was time to hit the road again. 

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