At a few minutes before nine yesterday morning, as Napier City Council's Maori Consultative Committee member Ranui Toatoa had just finished a karakia of blessing, three fountains came to life.

The Marine Parade's newest feature - the Manga Pacific, Te toka tu moana (the rock statue that stands steadfast by the sea) burbled and splashed into life and did exactly what Mr Toatoa had told the gathering of about 80.

"May this gift to the city bring pleasure to all who gaze upon it."

It clearly did that, with several passersby, having spotted the three fountains creating a tulip-effect, wandering over to take a closer look.


The $320,000 Graham Weaver-designed feature, which stretches over a series of levels 50m long beside the National Aquarium, is part of the council's ongoing revamp of the Marine Parade seafront, and one of those who was especially delighted to see it spring into aquatic life was Napier woman Patricia Dick.

About 10 years ago, after the demise and removal of the old boating lake, she had pushed for the creation of a water feature in the area between the aquarium and the childrens' playground.

"It was crying out for something," she said.

She had the late Paris Magdalinos come up with a design which showed water flowing from the aquarium pond under a glass-tiled strip through the carpark and spilling into a 30m stream from a low weir.

The idea was looked at by the council but abandoned due to the estimated $500,000 cost.

"But we picked the idea up again," Mayor Bill Dalton said and he paid tribute to the council committees and staff who embraced the idea.

"Staff don't do these things just because they are members of the staff - they do it because they are passionate about their city."

Marine Parade Development Group chairman Councillor Keith Price said the feature was part of a long-term plan which was creating "something special" along the city's seafront.

Mrs Dick said she was delighted to see it finally come to fruition.

"They have done it and I am very happy - it is very good," she said.

Five-year-old Koda Bradley, there with his mum, was also impressed.

His favourite part?

"The fountains."

Mr Dalton, in declaring the feature open and running, also hinted at some more spectacular plans centred around the buildings of the central city when he touched on the LED lighting which will illuminate the feature at night.

"I am especially passionate about lighting - keep an eye on some of the buildings around town," he said, without giving any more away at this stage.