Gorilla in our midst

A busking gorilla playing a piano accordion drew curiosity and joy from passersby in George St, Dunedin, yesterday.

Underneath the primate costume was Chester Dextar, who, after working in the movie industry, decided to create a character for himself.

He makes and sells costumes, but decided to keep the gorilla suit for himself.

"It’s my thing.

"I’m hideously ugly, so I wear a mask," he joked.

"I am just out there having some fun, trying to put some smiles on people’s faces."

Mr Dextar, as a gorilla, played a range of music from pop to old folk songs.

A sign on his zebra-printed donation box explained that his "baby needs a banana".

He began playing the accordion when he was about 8 years old and took up street performing about two years ago.

In 2019, he won a prize in the South Dunedin Busking Festival.

Mr Dextar said he had also started dreaming up his next character to keep his performance fresh — that was a pirate that played old sea shanties.

He will play at the Port Chalmers Community Market this weekend.

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