Sea lion statue immortalises 'Mum'

Members of the public gather in front of a remembrance statue of New Zealand sea lion ''Mum'', ...
Members of the public gather in front of a remembrance statue of New Zealand sea lion ''Mum'', the first sea lion to give birth on the mainland in 150 years. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Mum should always be remembered now.

About 80 people attended the unveiling of a statue dedicated to the New Zealand sea lion affectionately known as ''Mum'' at the St Clair Esplanade yesterday afternoon .

Mum was the first sea lion in 150 years to give birth on the mainland.

Before she arrived from the Auckland Islands and gave birth on the Taieri coast, New Zealand sea lions had bred only in the sub antarctic, having been driven away from the mainland by man.

New Zealand Sea Lion Trust chairman Steve Broni said marking 20 years since the ''modern day matriarch of sea lions'' gave birth on the mainland was a big thing.

''The remarkable thing about this is [it was] a self re-introduction. She chose to come to Dunedin,'' he said. The statue told that story to the public, he said.

Dunedin City Councillor Jinty MacTavish helped unveil the polyurethane and fibreglass statue, which was sculpted by local man Bryn Jones. Department of Conservation service manager David Agnew paid tribute to the trust's ''excellent work''.

''Mum'' produced pups on the Otago coast until 2010, when she disappeared, aged 24.


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