Learn more about us

Our Kaupapa and History


Our mission and kapupapa at the TeHāwere-a-Maki Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre is to inspire, empower, and connect our people and communities to our moana, through ocean education, scientific research, and a values-based conservation approach. We seek to stimulate open thinking and discussion and strive to be a place of wonder and fun for those young and seasoned.

We are a community-supported marine science education centre, part of the Waipapa Taumata Rau/ The University of Auckland’s Institute of Marine Science. Located in one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most beautiful coastal tiny towns, Leigh, we bring the adventures and explorations of ocean science to life. Based on the world-renowned Institute of Marine Science campus facilities, with Aotearoa’s very first Marine Reserve in our backyard, the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre offers hands-on immersion into the world beneath the waves.

Our History and Future

The Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre was opened in 2012 as a space for all to come and learn and connect with our marine environment. We are open to the public, and host schools, kura, and community groups from around Aotearoa New Zealand, eager to learn and have some fun.

We are currently working Ngāti Manuhiri, the tangata whenua of the area, to celebrate the kaitiaki of the whenua and moana. With a name change to Te-Hāwere-a-Maki Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre in the near future and plans to highlight the history of Ngāti Manuhiri and their connection with the taiao at the Centre, this is an exciting new journey for the DC.R

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.