More than $17,000 has been raised in an internet appeal for the children of Hamilton Zoo curator Samantha Kudeweh, who was killed by a Sumatran tiger last weekend.

A Givealittle webpage has since the appeal began on Wednesday attracted $17,008.50 in donations from 138 people, toward a trust set up for Ms Kudeweh and her husband Richard's children, 9-year-old Billy and 3-year-old Sage.

The Kudeweh Family Trust says all proceeds are to go towards the children's education needs, and ensuring their physical and emotional wellbeing.

"Sam's passing will leave a huge hole in many people's lives, none more than Richard, Billy and Sage's," the trust says on the page.


"Now is our opportunity to say thanks to Sam and to help the family worry a little less about their future."

An organiser of the appeal wrote that she had known Ms Kudeweh for more than 20 years, and remembered her as "a great friend and a wonderful, selfless person".

"It has bewildered me and left me breathless in the last few days that she is no longer here," she said.

"Sam was an unsung hero in her work and a wonderful mum and wife."

Ms Kudeweh, 43, was attacked by the tiger, Oz, at about 11am on Sunday and was dead by the time emergency services arrived at the Rotokauri zoo soon afterwards.

She had described the tiger's arrival at the zoo last year, and the subsequent birth of two cubs he sired, as a "career highlight".

The zoo, where she was second in charge, has decided not to euthanise Oz or move him to another facility.

Although it kept him out of public view when it reopened yesterday for the first time since the attack, out of respect to the Kudeweh family, he was back on display today as part of the zoo's "usual exhibition routine".


But the zoo will close again on Monday, for Ms Kudeweh's funeral.

The zoo is also inviting well-wishers to honour her work by contributing to its conservation fund, and is considering establishing a permanent memorial to her.