A bronze sculpture of a baby southern rhinoceros was unveiled at Hamilton Zoo today - exactly one year after curator Samantha Kudeweh was killed by a Sumatran tiger.

Kudeweh's mother Judy Stephens unveiled the bronze sculpture and a plaque either side of it which lists her contributions to the zoo sector, her career, her death at the zoo and the subject of the sculpture.

The 43-year-old's extended family and Hamilton City Council staff attended the private ceremony.

Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley said the baby rhino sculpture was considered an appropriate way to mark the anniversary of Kudeweh's death. She was an experienced and long-serving manager.


"Sam committed a huge amount of time and energy to conserving the southern white rhinoceros and we felt this was the right way to honour her."

The rhino calf was made by Taupo artist Murray Matuschka and the subject was chosen because of Kudeweh's involvement in leading an international captive breeding programme for the endangered species.

It represents the baby calf Ubuntu which was born at the zoo in 2010.

Kudeweh was killed on 20 September 2015 when she re-entered the outside enclosure to get food for the red pandas and was attacked and killed by the male tiger Oz. The gates between the den and enclosure had been left open allowing him to roam.