Fleur Saville, Libby Jeffries in Shortland Street, recently joined fellow members of the Shorty cast in a photoshoot at Auckland Zoo. She joined Will Hall, Harry McNaughton, Anna Julliene and Henry Williams at the zoo to trial their up-close experience tours.
The article text is below, where Fleur talks about feeding the lions and why she’d like to be a meercat… Scan and article with thanks to Nisha_Shanti fan from the Shortland Street forum. The magazine is out now in New Zealand.
It was a fun filled escape as some of our Shortland Street favourites headed to Auckland Zoo to trial the park’s new Zoom tours. Getting up close and personal with animals big and small, the group won friends among the meerkats, but wondered whether the lions would see them end up in their own real life hospital drama.
“Feeding the lions was the scariest moment,” says Fleur Saville who plays Libby Jeffries. “I swear they look into your soul!” “I never thought I’d get to feed a lion with a pair of barbecue tongs!” adds Will Hall, who plays Kip Denton. “It’s a moment I’ll treasure forever, from the time he roared in my face and I smelt his raw meat breath, to the point where he lifted his tail and tried to spray his alphamale scent all over us!”
The actors were invited on the tour thanks to co star Michael Galvin (Chris Warner), who is a “Friend of the Zoo.” While Michael couldn’t make it on the day, Henry Williams who plays his on screen son Harry, joined the group and despite initial nerves, he soon warmed to the scarier animals thanks to encouragement from Harry McNaughton (Gerald Tippett). “What I really liked were the monkeys because they’re awesome,” says Henry.
For Harry, the best part was feeding and training the sea lions, while Anna Julienne (Maia Jeffries) found an admirer with seal Orua. “Orua really liked Anna and let her work closely with her when usually any strangers are met with concern,” says a zoo worker. The actors, who all adore animals, wondered what it would be like to live life at the zoo.
“If I could be an animal, I’d be a meerkat,” says Fleur. “Always alert and supercute!”
“Mine would be a toss up between the otters and the rhinos,” says Will, who lists the experience as one of the top five of his life. “The otters are cheeky little buggers and they have a great enclosure to perform mad water tricks for the crowds all day, so that appeals to the actor in me. But the rhinos, wow. They definitely appeal to the ladies!”
- Woman’s Day.