Young supporters of Marineland have vowed to continue their mission of getting the Napier City Council to have a "change of heart" over the future of the facility after a blessing of the remaining animals last week.
The Marineland Rangers staged a beach clean-up afternoon last Wednesday and drew about 50 people, including the Reverend Leo Te Kira from St Augustine's Anglican Church, who spoke to the group and blessed the animals inside.
He explained to the gathering that their beach work, and placement of woven flax hearts around the walls, coincided closely to St Francis' Day.
Reverend Te Kira said the idea of having a public centre for the "precious marine creatures" was one that needed to be carefully considered.
He then blessed the last of the animals remaining - five New Zealand fur seals, an Antarctic fur seal and two Californian sea lions. "It was quite moving," said Elaine Beech of Napier.
"These kids have done so much to try and save Marineland and the animals and they're not giving up. Good on them," she said, before setting off with her grand-daughters to take part in the beach clean-up in the immediate area of Marineland.
Among the volunteers were a group of people visiting from Auckland who stopped to see what was going on and joined in.
The council is planning to revamp the site into an upgraded skatebowl and scootering adventure centre, effectively a relocation of the present Sk8 Zone.
The remaining animals would be relocated to marine zoos and parks in Australia.
Leader of the Marineland Rangers, Brianna Otto, said the group would continue to stage beach clean-up days.
They collected a dozen buckets and bags of rubbish, mainly cans, bottles, broken glass and plastic items.
"We keep hoping and praying that the council has a change of heart," she said. "If they saw how many people stop and get excited looking through the fence at the animals they might just realise the potential of the place."