Scrapping the music and concentrating on betting and racing penguins instead
Dog with Two Tails in Moray Place has expanded into the premises next door and will be operating a betting shop with a difference: you can have a flutter on races between yellow-eyed penguins. The owner of the Dog, Tāne Wairangi, wants to bring back the tradition of penguin racing while raising awareness of the plight of hoiho and making a fun business out of it too. “My dad used to take me out to Sandfly Bay as a boy and we’d always have a great time racing the penguins up the dunes.”
This will be the first Better Bet shop starting operations in April. The races will be conducted with the help of the Highcliff Bluff Conservation Club who have been training students how to handle the birds for the races. “Back in the old days people were a bit silly with the birds. These days we need to ensure that the birds are treated respectfully.” Tourists will be able to ride out by bus and get a ride down the hill too on donkeys or watch the races on screens at the shop.
Some people have called it a bit foolish, but Wairangi’s partner, Naive, puts the decline of the yellow-eyed penguin population down to the fact that the penguins have gotten slower on land since the tradition died out. “This will help raise awareness of the penguins’ plight and increase the birds’ fitness. You’d be a dupe not to try it!”