We all need friends, and that's no different for Kelly Tarlton's penguin team leader Madeline Seaman and Gentoo penguin Zena.

Today was World Friendship Day and Seaman spent it with over 100 of her feathery friends, but there's one who stands out above the rest.

"World Friendship Day at Kelly Tarlton's is quite unique. We get to share it with 102 penguins like Zena here," Seaman told the Herald.

Some of the penguins aren't very friendly towards the keepers, but Zena is renowned as one of the friendliest at Kelly Tarlton's in Auckland.


The penguins share an interesting bond with their keepers and are often blunt when they express their feelings.

"They're very black and white with their emotions, you know they're either very happy, like Zena is here, or they're grumpy. You know either way.

"Zena has her favourites and her not quite so favourites, so she definitely has friends and not friends in keepers," Seaman explained.

Heading out of winter and into spring, Kelly Tarlton's is preparing for the Gentoo breeding season.

The keepers will start to get the nests out when the breeding kicks off towards the end of next week and will hopefully "have a few babies a bit later".

The day of friendship as the United Nations refers to it is about confronting some of the world's many challenges with friendship.

The UN focuses the day about emphasising that young people participate in community activities to promote an international understanding and respect for diversity.