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OBITUARY: Dora the Kororā

Published: 26 October 2023

Last Updated: 30 October 2023


It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our beloved Dora the Kororā. Dora came into our care in 2014 and has been a cherished part of our penguin whānau ever since. As a penguin rescue and rehabilitation centre, National Aquarium of New Zealand cares for many kororā, some only temporarily as they recover and are then released into the sea, others more permanently. Dora was a princess among penguins: charismatic, curious and a little bit cheeky.

Dora was hand-reared by staff at the National Aquarium, when she was abandoned as a five-day old chick. She was a favourite among visitors and greeted each and everyone by swimming right at the very front of the sanctuary pool. Her fan-base stretched around the world with many following her antics online through National Aquarium social media.

Dora was, at times, a bit of a mischief maker, staying in bed all day and talking louder than the keepers during their presentations, as well as having a continued vendetta against the bare legs of some of our team! A crowd pleaser, she won the Penguin of the Year crown in 2022.

Over the last few years, Dora had been receiving special care including routine chiropractor treatments for a curve in her spine and associated limp. In the past month though, Dora’s limp worsened, with the chiropractor work and other veterinary support now making little difference. A visit to the veterinarian for an updated x-ray confirmed an advance to the deterioration of her spinal condition, now at the stage that it could not be managed and was greatly affecting her quality of life. 

Dora brought a lot of people a lot of joy, and she will be greatly missed. Be at peace little kororā. Ahakoa he iti he pounamu – Although you are small, you are great.

From all the team at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

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