Top 10: Animal stories of 2013
Orcas, goats, cats, dogs and even geese across the region grabbed their fair share of headlines this year. And everyone, it seems, loves a good animal tale. Here are our top 10 for the year.
1. Close encounters with sea creatures
Orcas, dolphins and seals were spotted many times enjoying the harbour, and Kapiti or South coasts. A curious seal was even spotted trying to cross a busy road.
However, readers were perhaps most impressed with, or perhaps a little jealous of, a diver who had a close encounter with a pod of orcas. And our love of sea creatures knows no bounds - a piece about a pod of humpback whales frolicking off Wellington's south coast was also a popular read.
A mystery clump of alien-like sea creatures that washed up on the shore near Lyall Bay also intrigued readers.
Barry the Goat first captured our attention in March last year, when he broke a leg after falling off a picnic table and the donation box for his vet bills was stolen. Barry continued seeking the limelight this year. And we're pleased to report his luck has taken a turn for the better; a new home built for him complete with a porch and a view - not that he uses it.
Moo Moo the cat's owners made a mercy dash to Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Palmerston North after their cat was shot with a crossbow bolt.
The story captured not only national attention, but was picked up by news outlets in Australia, America, Asia and even Russia.
An 18-year-old Wainuiomata man claimed responsibility for shooting Moo Moo, but said it was an accident. He appeared in Porirua District Court earlier this month. Moo Moo is expected to make a full recovery.
About 140 sheep trained on a Kapiti Coast farm found fame in Japan as part of a beer commercial, after forming the word 'peace' for the shoot.
Philanthropic economist Gareth Morgan became the enemy of cat-lovers when he called for the eradication of the four-legged creatures.
He said they were ruining New Zealand's wildlife.
"'The fact is that your furry friend is actually a friendly neighbourhood serial killer,'' states the Cats to Go website, set up by the Morgan Foundation.
Thomas the bisexual goose was shifted from his home of 30 years at Waimanu Lagoon in Waikanae to retire in Ohariu Valley, having gone blind, and being attacked by other pond-dwellers.
In August, a 2-year-old rookie police dog tracked two men 1km through bush and across a motorway after they allegedly assaulted a taxi driver over a $5 fare.
It has been a busy year for Cato. In June, he and handler Constable Cam Gunn tracked down a mental-health patient in Karori, who allegedly stabbed a stranger in the face after slipping by his healthcare minders.
Some of Wellington's well-known characters are of the four-legged kind. In a light-hearted piece, we took look at some of the best shop dogs in the city.
From Bruce at Rogue 'n' Vagabond to Winston the pug griffon at Mall Drycleaning, Wellington shopowners have some wonderful canine friends.
The piece was so well received, we ran a follow up, More shop dogs of Wellington.
Having been blinded by the cloudy white cataracts since he was born, a Reikorangi wallaby went under the knife in a New Zealand-first surgery in December.
Hundreds of people flocked to the beach in January to touch and have photographs taken with the 15-metre, 40-tonne giant, which beached in the sand in front of the Kapiti Boating Club. The whale's remains were buried on a remote section of Raumati Beach, after local iwi removed its jawbone.
The Dominion Post