Meet the team: Pania
After chatting with some of our husky team we thought it was time to extend the invite for an interview out to the Centre’s penguin rescue colony. Pania put her flipper up straight away.
That’s an interesting name – where does it come from?
Funnily enough, I’ve had a few names in my time. When I arrived I was named Korora. Then this was changed to Koro Aroha. However we all agreed that this name wasn’t the right fit either. So I settled on my full name a but later – which is Arohahara Pania (it’s pronounced Ppar-ne-a). The name means ‘a mythological sea-maiden’, which certainly suits me.
What brought you to the International Antarctic Centre?
While I was raised for a short time on the other side of Banks Peninsula in a little place called Flea Bay. It was a beautiful bay and, as part of the Pōhatu Marine Reserve, a safe haven for many of my penguin family. Truthfully however, looking back at it, I don’t think I was really cut out for life out on the sea with the others.
I can’t remember much about turning up at the Centre as I was possibly a little delirious at the time. I remember feeling very weak and certainly hadn’t been eating enough. So who knows what would have happened if I’d stayed at the bay?
What do you like about your life at the Centre?
I think, deep down, they (the IAC team) and the public really appreciate the natural beauty I bring to the show here. My distinctive white flippers and sleek, sophisticated style brings in the admirers. Really, it’s here that I just get to be ‘me’. There are no threats and I’m well looked after.
What’s work like there?
It’s great. I don’t like to make a fuss – I’m a ‘go with the flow’ girl.
What about the escape rumours then?
That’s nonsense. They call me ‘Houdini’ but I’m just curious like a good penguin should be. And if I happen to be smarter than some of the team here and want to have a look out every now and then, well… what’s wrong with that?
You’ve been here for 11 years now – how has life changed?
Are you asking me about my love life? Because a lady never divulges such information and I could never compromise my moral stance on this matter. So I’ll just say that life with Pedro wasn’t quite to my taste. But since Nick and I grew closer I feel that there’s some real security in my life again, romantically speaking. Can you just put that I’m in a committed relationship… is that ok?
Um, right, but we were actually asking about the set-up there.
Oh, of course. Yes. Well, it’s definitely just getting better and better. Our human helpers are all very skilled at what they do and we’re always well cared for. I like to keep them on their toes though and will occasionally, I admit, give a finger or two a wee nip while being fed.
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