Little blues love their new home

By Roger Moroney

The penguins are "home."

Eleven of the little blue and white flippered tenants moved into their adventurous new domain at the National Aquarium of New Zealand about a fortnight ago and were acclimatising "nicely" to their surroundings, manager Rob Yarrell said.

We asked how it had shaped up, and how it looked, hoping to snap off a quick shot to tantalise readers with and to set the scene for the official house-warming function on November 1. But, with an apology, Mr Yarrell said that for now the doors to the enclosure had to remain shut.

Firstly, to allow the little occupants time and space to get used to their new digs, and secondly, so as not to take away the "wow" factor people would experience when getting to finally see it. "It is top secret," he said with a smile. "But let me say it is a fantastic place for them and they love it."

The enclosure, which is expansive and as close to the penguins' natural stamping grounds as possible, features a sandy ocean foreshore which leads to rocks further up. There is an underwater viewing area so they can be seen darting through the blue waters, and the enclosure is laid out so that visitors can come to within a metre of the penguins, which Mr Yarrell said were comfortable with human company.

The enclosure has been designed to accommodate up to 20 little blues and will open its doors to the public on Saturday, November 3.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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