Home / News & Diaries » Zoo News » Samantha Kudeweh

Samantha Kudeweh

Zoo News - Posted 20 September 2015

1417513183379

1442736920930  IMG 1499

The family of Hamilton Zoo Curator Samantha Kudeweh have gathered at her Waikato home following her death on Sunday, 20 September, at the zoo she loved.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Samantha's colleague Catherine Nichols – also a Hamilton Zoo staff member – says the extended Kudeweh family wanted to thank the public and the global zoo and conservation community for their messages of support over the last 24 hours after news of Sam's death became public.

Sam, 43, was recognised and respected globally as a talented, passionate and highly knowledgeable conservation and zoo professional whose expertise and understanding of animals was highly sought after by other zoos and captive animal breeding programmes.

Catherine says Samantha was an experienced zoo industry professional who had an exceptional reputation following more than 20 years in the conservation and zoo sector.

Her role as Curator at Hamilton Zoo made her second-in-charge to the Zoo Director, and she was responsible for the management of the animals and acquisitions of new animal exhibits. 

"Sam was a passionate conservationist, and today her family have recalled how as an intermediate school student she told her parents she wanted to work in the zoo sector," says Catherine. "She was a volunteer at Auckland Zoo for a number of years before joining the staff." 

She grew in Papakura, and studied at Lincoln University and Auckland University toward a Bachelor of Science. 

She worked at Auckland Zoo for several years, before a shift to Zoos Victoria in 2002. During her stay in Melbourne she met Richard Kudeweh, another zoo professional who she would go on to marry. 

In 2005, Samantha and Richard moved to Hamilton Zoo, where she started as the mammals team leader. In 2011 she was promoted to zoo curator, achieving one of her professional dreams. It gave her the opportunity to become involved in a number of species management programme, an area of conservation which she had a passion for. 

She was responsible for managing breeding programmes for a number of species, including the white Rhino, and was able to influence the zoo sector across Australasia. 

She was NZFaunaTAG co-convenor (birds), a nationwide programme to help rebuild populations of native species. 

Sam has two beautiful children with Richard – Billy, 9, Sage 3. The zoo was a crucial part of Sam's life, second only to her family. She appreciated what Richard called "intelligent humour", and loved the people around her and those she worked alongside. 

Family and friends of Sam have asked for privacy at this time while they grieve and make arrangements for an appropriate farewell for Sam.

Recent updates

Hamilton Zoo sell its ostrich eggs for conservation
Zoo News - Posted 21 November 2017

Rugby League World Cup Offer
Zoo News - Posted 28 October 2017

Conservation Week 2017
Zoo News - Posted 14 October 2017

This week at the Zoo!
Zoo News - Posted 9 October 2017

Endangered Whio hatched at Hamilton Zoo
Zoo News - Posted 19 September 2017

International Red Panda Day
Zoo News - Posted 15 September 2017

Fathers Day 2017
Zoo News - Posted 29 August 2017

Hamilton Zoo introduces winter hours
Zoo News - Posted 1 June 2017

Hamilton Zoo Draft Master Plan
Zoo News - Posted 15 May 2017

Mum Visits Free on Mother's Day
Zoo News - Posted 3 May 2017

 
Archives

Archives 2017
Archives 2016
Archives 2015
Archives 2014
Archives 2013