Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Flash captivates the crowds

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Kiwi North husbandry officer Irene Hamlin shows Flash the tuatara to Aline, Steffen and Anni Boeske and Barbara Froehlich. Photo / John Stone
Kiwi North husbandry officer Irene Hamlin shows Flash the tuatara to Aline, Steffen and Anni Boeske and Barbara Froehlich. Photo / John Stone

Flash the tuatara has been attracting the crowds at Whangarei's Kiwi North.

Kiwi North husbandry officers Irene Hamlin and Gerry Brackenbury showed the creature off to a group of about 30 people and educated them about the species last week.

Kiwi North manger Allie Fry said Flash was aged about 6 and keepers wouldn't know whether Flash was male or female until it was 10 or 11, when they would be able to tell from its size and head shape.

Ms Fry said the tuatara viewings will take place during the school holidays on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays just after 11am at the keeper's discretion.

She expected the tuatara viewings to attract a range of people and said the centre always received huge support from Whangarei families.

It was the only chance a lot of people would have to see a tuatara up close.

"A lot of people don't realise exactly how totally unique they are. They're the only thing like it left on the planet," said Ms Fry.

Ms Fry said Kiwi North was the only captive kiwi and tuatara viewing spot in Northland.

Other summer activities Kiwi North offered included kiwi feeding, rock and mineral club activities and train rides.

The tuatara is the only living member of the order Rhynchocephalia, which flourished about 200 million years ago.

- Northern Advocate

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