Home' Waitomo News : 3 March 2016 Contents WAITOMO NEWS Thursday, March 3, 2016 5
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A WAITOMO tourist attraction
was on the hectic schedule of a South
African television film crew last
And that’s because Barry Woods
aka ‘Billy Black’ of Woodlyn Park,
is already a star with South African
He appeared on screen a couple of
years ago doing his ‘Billy Black rugby
act’ featuring ‘Jonah’ – his tame kune
kune pig tackling and knocking over
dummies dressed in Springbok kit.
Mr Woods says it was a big hit with
television rugby fans.
New Zealand was rated one of the
top three countries in the world this
year by South African travel show
viewers on DStv’s kykNET Afrikaans
A production crew spent three
weeks filming a New Zealand travel
show promoting prime tourist attrac-
tions for Johannesburg-based agency
With South African celebrity sing-
er Gerrie Pretorius as front man,
the crew’s schedule included filming
Orca in the Bay of Islands, the Franz
Joseph Glacier, the Marlborough
Sounds . . . and the Billy Black Kiwi
Culture Show at Waitomo.
“They wanted to film a real Kiwi
character shearing a sheep and pro-
moting wool and to learn about our
bush history and unique country life,”
says Mr Woods.
Mr Pretorius’ crew filmed the
park’s unusual motel accommodation
a railcar,1950s Bristol freighter, a
World War ll patrol boat and Hobbit
“They were blown away by what
we’ve done here at Woodlyn Park,”
says Mr Woods.
“They’ve travelled all over the
world and said they’ve never seen
anything like it.
“It was Gerrie’s first time in New
“They were impressed by our beau-
tiful country and friendly people, and
could see why tourists love coming
TV STARS: South African celebrity singer Gerrie Pretorius (left) was part of a travel promotion
television crew to Waitomo’s Woodlyn Park last month to film owner Barry Woods performing
his Billy Black Kiwi Culture Show. PHOTO SUPPLIED
SA film crew visits
THE new $220,000 kiwi night zone display now
open to visitors at the Otorohanga Kiwi House
and Bird Park is being carefully decorated in kiwi
“snot” by its two residents.
‘Kapiti’ a little-spotted male kiwi and ‘Tasman’
a great-spotted South Island female are comfort-
ably settled into their adjacent night zone spaces,
complete with natural landscaping, pools, hollows,
bush and fresh leaf litter.
But kiwi are highly territorial and, having an
excellent sense of smell, have been busy marking
their new ‘patch’ with mucus from their long bills.
“We regularly clean the viewing windows and
displays to ensure they are bacteria free,” says
manager Jo Russell.
“However, our kiwi quickly get busy remarking
the enclosures with their snot.”
The special ‘night time’ illumination brings the
nocturnal kiwi out of their burrows so they are
openly on display for the public watching from a
“The birds behave naturally because they can’t
see or hear anyone,” says Mrs Russell.
“If either of the kiwi decide they’re too busy
tunneling or housekeeping four ‘burrow cams’
livestream any underground activity so visitors
never leave the night zone disappointed.”
Volunteer guides provide ‘kiwi keeper’ talks
three times daily to help visitors learn about kiwi
and understand why it’s important to protect them.
Checking out the antics of ‘Kapiti’ and ‘Tasman’
recently were German tourists Cora Kroll and
Falico Pallocks on the first stage of a three week
New Zealand tour.
“Visiting the night zone was high on our ‘must
do’ list because the kiwi is New Zealand’s most
famous bird and I don’t think you can see them so
close up anywhere else in the world,” says Ms Kroll.
“They are really cute and we loved watching
‘Tasman’ dashing around her territory.
Though ‘Kapiti’ was well out of sight in a deep
underground burrow, the tourists watched him
preening and cleaning on the burrow cam.
ABOUT THE KIWI
‘Kapiti’ is a 40-year-old little spotted kiwi, New
He was bred on Kapiti Island and brought to
Otorohanga as one of the kiwi house’s founder
Other than Otorohanga, little spotted kiwi are
now only found in sanctuaries like Wellington’s
Zealandia and on off shore islands.
‘Tasman’ was bred at the kiwi house 20 years
“She is a very feisty bird who has given several
keepers a hurry up,’ says Mrs Russell.
“She is exceptionally active so visitors love her
and she’s certainly enjoying exploring her new
home. We have put a small hill in both night zone
displays to add interest for the kiwi and keep
them fit. Each display has two burrows, although
‘Kapiti’ regularly makes home improvements to
The nocturnal house display areas contain 72
cubic metres of topsoil hand sieved by volunteers
and metal-detected because kiwi eat “everything”.
The soil is ideal for tunneling and leaf litter is
brought in from bush areas so the birds have plenty
of “interesting stuff” to fossick in.
The night zone has been built on what was “a
bit of a swamp” says Mrs Russell.
It has been landscaped as bushland with gravel
paths weaving through ancient kahikatea.
Funding for the project included $100,000 from
the North King Country Development Trust,
$100,000 investment capital from the not-for-profit
Otorohanga Zoological Society which runs the kiwi
house and $20,000 in smaller grants from the Tides
Foundation, the Department of Conservation and
Waikato Regional Council.
KIWI FANS: German tourists Cora Kroll and Falico Pallocks
visited the kiwi house’s night zone within days of its opening.
They were fascinated by ‘Tasman’ – a very busy kiwi – dash-
ing around her new enclosure and could see ‘Kapiti’ doing
the housekeeping in his underground burrow.
Night shift’s on
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