Knitters all over the world have turned New Zealand’s stricken penguins (hit  by an oil spill from a ship called Rena) into fashionistas. The little blue penguins were caught in a disastrous tide of pollution off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand, and cleaned up, partly thanks to Greenpeace. This US news report tells the story –

New Zealand’s beautiful Bay of Plenty coastline was hit by 530 tonnes of oil after the spill, and 1400  penguins died, but Skeinz, a small knitting shop in Napier, New Zealand came to the rescue for the small survivors. They supplied the pattern, and knitters did the rest. They now have so many they are saving them for any future spills.

In a similar SOS in Tasmania, Australia,  some years before,  an unbelievable 4203 sweaters were created,  partly from one energetic group of women in Shropshire, England who managed to churn out 800 of them – typically about 40cm long. (This penguin, wearing a teal polo-neck heavily influenced by Yves St Laurent is a Tasmanian survivor).


The fashionista penguins are on the mend and will soon be returned to the wild. In the meantime, one of the best places to see New Zealand penguins is Oamaru. Take a penguin walk in a breeding colony and try your luck. Or go at night and increase your chances. At the Oamaru tour centre, prices range from NZ$12 for adults through to Family Passes for NZ$30. Run, don’t walk, to see genuine Happy Feet.


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