Thomas the blind, bisexual goose has been laid to rest with a touching funeral involving bagpipes, a tiny coffin and a eulogy by the mayor.
Thomas, from Waimanu Lagoon in Waikanae, north of Wellington, spent years in a love triangle with two swans before he died in February aged 38.
Thomas was inseparable with a black male swan called Henry for 24 years, until a young female swan called Henrietta stole Henry’s heart.
He became a local celebrity for his complicated love life, shunning female geese for a black swan named Henry for 24 years
Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan even spoke at Thomas’ funeral at Waimanu Lagoon in Waikanae, north of Wellington
Thomas became the third wheel, but it didn’t break his close bond with Henry.
He even helped Henry and Henrietta raise their 68 cygnets.
He was pictured alongside the two swans and their hatchlings for six years.
His unusual relationships made him a local celebrity with many resident birdwatchers wiling away the day watching his romantic life unfold.
Thomas was buried next to Henry in a public ceremony on Monday, at the lagoon the birds called home.
Footage from the ceremony showed a bagpiper leading a procession of about 60 mourners.
Thomas was often seen playing uncle to the hatchlings in their nest alongside their parents
Thomas was carried in a tiny casket to the lagoon, where he was laid to rest on Monday
Footage from the ceremony showed a bagpiper leading a procession of about 60 mourners
Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan even spoke at Thomas’ funeral.
Funeral attendee Sue Lusk said Thomas was an important member of the community, and his life should be celebrated.
‘This was just very special, and it brought the community together, and it was a lovely story of good things,’ she told Stuff.
A headstone will be added to the grave to help remember Thomas.
When a young swan named Henrietta stole his soulmate’s heart, Thomas stuck around as a third wheel and helped raise their 68 cygnets over six years
Thomas is laid to rest next to his partner Henry, who died in 2009 aged 30
When Thomas’ partner Henry died in 2009, aged of 30, Henrietta soon flew off with another swan.
This left Thomas all alone in his old age, and he was sometimes heard crying over his mate.
New female geese arrived and without his soulmate around Thomas finally fathered his own babies – only to have them stolen by another goose called George.
Thomas the beloved bisexual goose has died in a bird rehabilitation sanctuary aged 38
The elderly bird retired to the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust in 2013 as health issues mounted and cataracts sent him blind.
‘As well as making other blind bird friends to spend his days with Thomas helped foster a couple of broods of cygnets along the way,’ the trust said.
‘[That was] for nostalgic reasons and boy, did he do a good job.
‘He lived for corn on the cob and if it wasn’t there when we put him back into his house at night, he was not happy.’
Henry died in 2009 at the aged of 30 and Henrietta soon flew off with another swan, leaving Thomas all along in his old age, sometimes heard crying over his mate
The elderly bird retired to the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust in 2013 as health issues mounted and cataracts sent him blind
An aging Thomas is fed by a staff member at the trust as he potters around the garden
The organisation, which looks after up to 400 birds a year, said Thomas proved there was ‘life after sight’ for elderly fowl.
‘You were a true inspiration for the work we do and the things we are able to achieve for the animals in our care,’ it said.
‘He was such a special boy and a wonderful character. Thomas, our good friend, we miss you wholeheartedly but may you rest in peace.’
The organisations, which looks after up to 400 birds a year, said Thomas proved there was ‘life after sight’ for elderly fowl