3 Jun 2009

Funeral for tiger attack victim

7:31 am on 3 June 2009

The Zion Wildlife Gardens near Whangarei on Tuesday hosted the funeral of the zookeeper who was mauled by a rare white Bengal tiger.

Dalu Mncube, originally from South Africa, died when he was attacked while cleaning the animal's enclosure last Wednesday.

The wildlife park was shut following Mr Mncube's death.

About 300 people gathered for his funeral on Tuesday morning.

Mr Mncube's body was greeted with a powhiri and a haka by local high school students.

African dancers and members of Mr Mncube's family, including his brother and widow, also played a part in the service.

Park spokesperson Sara Reid says there have been numerous messages of support despite the tragedy.

Zion staff hoped to know by the end of the day whether enough money has been raised to send Mr Mncube's body home for burial in South Africa.