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23Dec/110

Auckland’s Giant Santa

Auckland's Santa deemed world's creepiest.
The 20 metre Santa, which used to feature a winking eye and beckoning finger, has been a feature of Auckland Christmases since it first appeared in downtown Auckland in 1960.
Website cracked.com today told the rest of the world what many Aucklanders already knew: The giant Santa is creepy.

It beat out a "Godzilla Santa" perched atop a Dallas store and several unsettling dolls and decorations to claim its place as the most unintentionally creepy Christmas ornament in the world.

The website called the giant Santa - which stands over the Whitcoulls store on Queen St - "tragically disfigured" and cited its moving finger as a leading cause behind its ranking.

It said the Santa's 2009 makeover, which removed moving parts and remodelled facial features, was to address its off-the-charts creepiness.

"Unsurprisingly, residents of Auckland were uncomfortable with being beckoned to by something that looks like it wants your attention so it can ask if you're comfortable with being followed home."

- HERALD ONLINE

3Jun/110

Rare white kiwi hatched in NZ

A RARE white kiwi chick hatched at a New Zealand wildlife reserve will have a protected early life - unlike wild kiwis that face nonnative predators that are slowly wiping them out, an official said yesterday.

The chick, named Manukura or "Chiefly One" by local Maori, was born at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center on May 1, weighing about 250 grams, Department of Conservation area manager Chris Lester said. Lester said white kiwis are spotted in the wild about every three or four years, but the last one in captivity was released in 1915. The small, flightless birds are usually brown.

Manukura is being hand-reared in the reserve's new kiwi nursery, and will remain closely protected for at least the first year of his life, he said.

Once the bird is able to fend for itself, Lester said one alternative will be that it "remains in a predator-proof environment at the reserve ... or we will release him to take his chances."

Native to New Zealand, kiwis face potential extinction from a range of introduced predators that are also killing many other native bird species.

Rangitane o Wairarapa Maori tribal chief executive Jason Kerehi said the tribe's elders saw the white chick as a "tohu," or sign of new beginnings, and a "taonga," or treasure. "Every now and then something extraordinary comes along to remind you of how special life is," Kerehi said. "While we're celebrating all 14 kiwi hatched (at the reserve) this year, Manukura is a very special gift."

More funny things in NZ --NZ blog