The oil spill from the grounded container ship Rena off the Tauranga coast has had an unexpected spin-off for Friends of Marineland fundraisers in Napier.
The group's spokeswoman Emily Otto said there had been a surge in the purchase of fundraising raffle tickets since the disaster unfolded and it became clear wildlife had been affected.
She said many people had bought several tickets instead of just one or two and had told the sellers they were behind the idea of Marineland becoming a marine animal sanctuary and education centre.
"That, and what we saw with Happy Feet the penguin has raised peoples' awareness."
The group is selling 4000 raffle tickets to raise funds to help pay legal costs in their court battle with Napier City Council over the future of the closed facility where about 50 animals are still being cared for.
"It has gone well although there are a few left. We have to say a big thank you to the public because it shows they are behind us."
Through their website the group had also embarked on a fundraising sail and barbecue next month, with businessman Rodney Green offering his private yacht Golden Eagle as a venue for the sail side of the outing.