Oz, the Hamilton Zoo tiger who fatally mauled a senior keeper, will not be on display today as the zoo reopens, four days after the incident.

Hamilton City Council staff held a press conference at the premises.

Council chief executive Richard Briggs said Ms Kudeweh's funeral will be held on Monday at Hamilton Gardens.

Mr Briggs said the council arranged for a blessing at the site where Mrs Kudeweh was killed yesterday.


"This was a very emotional event attended by 50 staff and supporters."

Mr Briggs said it was still a "very, very difficult time for Mrs Kudeweh's friends and family dealing with her loss".

"Our team are striving to return to normality and re-opening will help with that."

Mr Briggs said they were expecting a very large turn-out on Monday from other zoo staff from around the world, including Australia.

Council general manager community Lance Vervoort said they had made staffing changes, including having a second staff member observing tiger management practises.

Oz, the Sumatran tiger. Photo / Doug Sherring
Oz, the Sumatran tiger. Photo / Doug Sherring

He ruled out moving Oz offshore to another zoo.

Mr Vervoort said staff were not meant to be in the same enclosure as tigers and there would be things that will never be known about the incident.

He still would not be drawn on what Mrs Kudeweh was doing when she was attacked.

Mr Vervoort was not aware of any witnesses of the incident.

Oz was by himself in the enclosure when the attack happened.

There was no CCTV footage of the incident.

Tiger Kirana and her brother Kembali were relaxing when media approached their enclosure this morning.

Kembali didn't appreciate the attention as much as Kirana who came up closer to the fence and lounged on the ground, regularly looking around and yawning.

Their mother, Sali, was also more shy staying to the rear of the enclosure.

Oz is in his den today, while Mencari was out and about but not that keen on being seen either.

As for Oz being kept in his den, Mr Vervoort said it was common to rotate the adult male and female going out in the enclosure.

"So Oz, today, will be spelled from that out of respect to Sam but he will be let out of enclosure over the weekend as we normally would."

As for what happened, he would only confirm that she was in an enclosure with a tiger, "and that shouldn't have happened".

When questioned whether changes since the 2013 incident - where a tiger "playfully" approached a keeper - were adequate enough, Mr Vervoort said that would be looked into in the current investigations.

As for its procedure of keeping staff and the tigers separated, the zoo had a number of gating systems with locks and retention key pad locks, which meant the locks had to be opened and closed, one at a time - a key couldn't be pulled out of the lock.

"So it actually forces staff to be systematic in the way they do that and we have protocols around that and there should always be two guillotine gates between a keeper and an animal."

There were firearms nearby in case of a "containment issue", but Sunday's incident didn't involve Oz escaping.

Mr Vervoort said although they'd added an extra staff member to tiger management procedures since Sunday's incident, he wouldn't rule out further changes once the investigations were completed.

"We are confident we have robust processes and competent professional staff managing these animals."

Mr Vervoort said commenting on the manner of Ms Kudeweh's death would be "totally inappropriate".

However, "keepers are never meant to be in a big cat enclosure with one of the animals".

"Zoo's manage their big cat exhibits in different ways ... and are signed off by MPI."

As for the investigations, Mr Vervoort said Worksafe NZ had carried out its initial inquiries. They would now wait for the shock of the incident to settle before returning and completing more in-depth interviews with staff.

"There's quite a bit more investigation to happen and that will take several weeks and get reports back in several months' time."