The Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre educates you about the marine environment and the research activities of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland's Leigh campus.  The high definition videos, interactive displays, touch tank and sound tunnel provide fun and a wealth of information about the marine environment.

Following your visit to the Marine Discovery Centre you will have gleaned a greater understanding of the marine species which exist in the waters of north-eastern New Zealand including what lives in the Goat Island Marine Reserve!


Research at the Institute of Marine Science

Alongside the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre is a world-class marine research centre, the Leigh Marine Laboratory.

A part of the University’s Institute of Marine Science, the purpose-built centre attracts research graduates from Auckland, New Zealand and around the world. The aim of the research is to help create a greater understanding of the marine environment.

The Institute draws its expertise from departments and faculties across the University and partners with organisations including the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA), the Cawthron Institute and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Find out about the research at the Institute of Marine Science.

Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science

The University and NIWA joined forces to form the Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science, with the specific purpose of building New Zealand’s research expertise on critical issues such as:

  • cultural heritage
  • climate
  • food supply
  • economic development
  • recreational use.

Increased competition and pressure on coastal and marine resources means we must improve our scientific understanding of our nationally significant coastal and ocean systems.


Edith Winstone Blackwell Foundation

In 2008, the Edith Winstone Blackwell Foundation donated $4.5 million to the $10 million upgrade of the Leigh Marine Campus including the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre. The benevolence of the Foundation ensures the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre has the facilities to teach the next generation about our marine environment.

Edith Winstone Blackwell MBE (1877 – 15 September 1956) was an eminent philanthropist with a great interest in the wealth, health and preservation of our marine environment and in the science of the seas. She was one of the first women in Auckland to drive a car and to attend Auckland Grammar School for boys.  Edith established her Foundation in 1950 and donated a 50cm (20-inch) reflector telescope to establish the Auckland Observatory. The Edith Winstone Blackwell Case Room in the Owen G Glenn Building at the University of Auckland is named after her.


Admission fees go directly toward supporting the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre operations.  Any retained earnings are used to fund marine science scholarships. These scholarships help support marine science students and researchers at the adjacent Leigh Marine Laboratory. 

160 Goat Island Road

(09) 923 3645