What are your looking for?


Take advantage of free parking.

Find out more


Check out our frequently asked questions.

Find out more

View Your Photos

Already visited? View your photos.

Find out more

Our Location


SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

23 Tamaki Drive, Ōrākei

Auckland 1071

New Zealand

Getting Here Contact Us


I'd like to receive updates from SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium.

Open Times

We are open!
Regular days of operation: Thursday - Monday Bookings are essential - purchase your tickets online 24 hours in advance with a discount of 20%!
SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

05 Sep 2012 12:33:55

Turtle Rehabilitation

Sea turtles didn't just survive the K-T extinction, they aced it. The turtles rode out the
apocalyptic meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs-and 90 per cent of life
on Earth-65 million years ago by doing what they've always done: taking things

Planet-pulverising asteroids they can deal with; plastic bags, however, might just be their undoing.

It seems a supermarket bag wafting in the current is, to a sea turtle, a dead ringer for a jellyfish, one of their favourite foods. Once inside, the bag impacts the digestive tract until the animal starves-unless it has the good fortune to end up in the care of Andrew Christie.

Curator of Kelly Tarlton's, Christie tends an increasing number of sick and injured turtles. Some are full of plastic bags, fishing lines and other flotsam, while others have been run over by boats or snagged on fish hooks.

Others arrive exhausted, diseased, dehydrated, shocked by New Zealand winter waters, or
otherwise 'compromised'. They can take months to recover; some have taken two years. They need blood tests, antibiotics and intravenous drips, incubators, and specialised food. "When we get them, they're pretty damn sick,"says Christie.

Once, he might have tended six injured turtles a year, but last year he had 21 patients, including greens, a hawksbill and an olive ridley turtle found at Houhora in the Far North. "As waters warm," he says, "and the ocean becomes a less healthy environment, we get more and more." So far this year, 12 turtles have ended up at Kelly Tarlton's and Andrew has helped nurse each and every one.


  • Enjoy unlimited entry for a full 12 months!
  • Discounts on experiences, food & beverages, and much more!
  • Skip the queues with express Annual Pass attraction entry


Full Price


Adult From (Child from $23.20)
  • Book online a day in advance to save 20% in off peak
  • Express entry with mobile ticket entry
  • Price includes a Digi Photo Pass giving you 10 digital photos – valued at $26!