As the oldest living blue penguin in the world, Toto definitely owns her enclosure.

With her birthday just round the corner, the soon to be 25-year-old little blue penguin is not showing any signs of letting up.

Hatched in captivity at Napier's Marineland on December 6, 1990, Toto and several other penguins that were deemed unable to survive in the wild were moved south to the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch in 2007.

Penguin keeper Mallorie Hackett said they were excited about the upcoming milestone.


"We are over the moon that Toto has reached this age and look forward to celebrating her birthday."

Toto has surpassed expectation, having lived four times longer than the average life span for a blue penguin, which is 6 to 7 years.

"The youngest penguin in our care is just over a year old. The average age is 18 to 19 years but Toto takes the cake at 25," she said.

The sweet-natured penguin is a public favourite. Toto is known for enjoying a wiggle and dance after a dip in the pool. Ms Hackett said they get plenty of giggles from the crowd when the other penguins step aside to let the confident korora eat at feeding time.

Penguin keeper Dianne Lim said Toto's eyesight was not as good as it used to be because she had developed cataracts in her old age.

"She seems to be a bit forgetful and is sometimes found in odd places around the enclosure. But Toto can pack away the fish pretty quickly when she is hungry and still swims."

As to the secret of her longevity, Ms Hackett puts it down to Toto's lifestyle and her much younger boyfriend, Danny.

"Maintaining her well-being, where she gets plenty of exercise and a nice diet of fish is her secret to a long life, but Danny plays a large part in that as well."


Danny is only 17 years of age and has been with Toto since they were at Marineland.

"Her boyfriend Danny is her big love. He had damaged flippers and is not so good in the water but he is a champion nest builder and Toto always has a nice warm bed to come home to. They are our longest-lasting couple by far," Ms Lim said.

To celebrate her birthday, the International Antarctic Centre will be having festivities all weekend long, with free temporary penguin tattoos, balloons and face-painting for kids, as well as Hagglund rides and the 4D experiences.

They will also reduce their general admission entry to $25 per person.