Photo credit: Manutahi Museum.

'Lifetime passion': Taranaki man collects thousands of dead exotic animals

Leah Panapa 11/10/2021

LISTEN: Taranaki man John Ward has spent "a whole lifetime" collecting exotic animals, however, these ones are taxidermied.

The Manutahi Taxidermy Museum in Lepperton, near New Plymouth, is John's pride and joy. On display is almost every animal you can imagine, and even ones you would have never thought of.

A cheetah, baboon, a South American penguin and even a polar bear are just some of the thousands of taxidermied animals John has collected over many years.

"We have a lot of stuff," he told Magic Talk's Leah Panapa.

This is a whole lifetime of collecting.

The museum has been his lifetime passion, John says.

Nothing that is on display is for sale.

John says the museum acts as a way of preserving animals and creatures so they can be admired and appreciated.

"All of these animals are disappearing.

"If anything dies naturally, don't waste them, because we're losing our animals hand over fist all over the world," he told Magic Talk.

"For me it's almost like a crusade to keep [the animals] alive."

John is a self-taught bird taxidermist and has been collecting dead parrots for years.

He even has 170 taxidermied chickens.

Listen to the full interview with John Ward above.

Magic Talk | Mornings with Leah Panapa, weekdays from 9am.

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