Northland's troubled lion park reopened this weekend, rebranded as the Kingdom of Zion, and with "lion man" Craig Busch back with his beloved big cats after three years.

The former Zion Wildlife Gardens' is now owned by Beth McVerry and Ian Stevenson of Tauranga.

The park's receivers sold the business in February and Mr Busch's mother Patricia, with whom he has had a long-running feud, was still the approved operator at that time.

The park was placed into liquidation in August last year when it was unable to pay debts said to be over $100,000, sparking a fight over ownership of the park's 36 cats between Mr Busch and his mother.


The park was bought by Mr Busch in 2002, but Ms Busch has been running the park since 2006.

Since Mr Busch was dismissed in 2008, the warring mother and son have faced each other in various court proceedings relating to the park, its debts and assets ownership.

Park spokeswoman Jill Albrow said the Easter reopening had so far had a good response, with visitors from all over the country and overseas coming to the par.

Mr Busch's Facebook page features photographs of him reunited with his cats and wellwishers have posted messages of support, hoping the official opening goes well.

The ownership of the big cats is yet to be decided by court.