Pippa Loveridge, 1, was wide-eyed when she saw Hetty the Hen in action at the Whanganui Regional Museum on Saturday. Hetty - now part of the museum's collection - "laid" a chocolate Easter egg for the toddler, held by father Grant.

The mechanical hen was created in the mid-1960s for Londontown, a city department store, and when the store closed Hetty was donated to the museum.

In the mid-1990s she made annual appearances at Trafalgar Square but was returned permanently to the museum in 2010. In the early days, a junior staff member sat in a cupboard behind Hetty and waited for a child to put their money in the slot.

The staff member would then press a pedal that made the hen move up and down while a tape recording played the sound of a chicken. Then an Easter egg would pop down the chute. Hetty is on display every day from 3pm-4.30pm through to next Sunday.

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