Thames woman's world record bid

KELSEY WILKIE
Last updated 14:41 28/03/2014
Wendy Jarnet
Kelsey Wilkie/Fairfax NZ
THE WHITE STRIPES: Wendy Jarnet keeps her collection of zebra-related items displayed in a china cabinet in her Thames home.

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A Thames collector's obsession will be revealed to the world today in a bid for a Guinness world record.

Wendy Jarnet, 27, has been collecting zebra-related items most of her life.

"Collecting zebras, I like to call it my dirty little secret," she said.

"The only people who have ever known about it have been my family and a few close friends and generally those close friends only found out by accident."

The self-confessed animal lover says she has a soft spot for zebras.

Her official count in her bid for the world record of zebra-related items is 508 but Ms Jarnet said her collection had increased in size since the tally was taken.

She will be the first to set this record. Guinness requires more than 308 items for a record to be set.

She said the typical reaction she gets when people first see her collection is: "Oh my God, and what's wrong with you?"

"Everyone's given me a bit of a hard time over the years about how many I've got."

She decided to apply for the world record to prove to friends that she didn't really have that many zebras, but it turns out she does and there is no hiding it now.

"I kind of dug myself a hole," she said.

"I've got ones that I like more than others. I like really unusual ones.

"I've got one made entirely of leather, one that's made of recycled jandals."

She comes from a family of collectors. Her mum collects clowns, one cousin collects pig-related items and another cousin collects cat-related items.

"It's all my mother's fault.

"When I was about five, I remember mum saying to me ‘you should think about collecting something and that way for Christmas and birthdays it's easy for family to buy you stuff'."

Ms Jarnet said she wasn't a fan of the idea and chose zebras because she thought they would be hard to find - she was wrong.

"When I was younger I would get about five for my birthday and another five for Christmas."

She is no longer ashamed of her collection.

"If somebody challenges the record I will take it back, I don't care what it takes, I will take it back."

Her collection will be on display at the Thames Plunket Community Room from 3pm today, as part of a requirement to make her record official.

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- Waikato

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