Thomas, a white goose, and Henry, a black swan, who had been in a 30-year same-sex interspecies relationship, may get a monument in New Zealand to celebrate their love story.
After the goose died in 2017 – and was sent off with a funeral attended by dozens and performed by a priest – locals around New Zealand's Kāpiti Coast would like to build a statue to commemorate the birds as a symbol of diversity and love, The Dominion Post of Wellington reports. An artist has drawn up a design and residents are pushing for the town of Kapiti to become involved and possibly even foot the bill, but the mayor expressed caution about the latter.
Erecting the monument “would involve responsibility for the artistic nature of the work and its placement going to the council’s Art Panel. If they are happy with that, that’s fine," Mayor K Gurunathan told the Post. “Otherwise they can look to crowdfunding the project. I think Thomas has the pull to raise that kind of money. ”
After 18 years together, Thomas and Henry opened up their nest to Henrietta, a female swan. The three lived together, sexually fluid, by the water, and Thomas helped raise 68 cygnets (baby swans) until Henry died in 2009.
“There’s a love story there, but it also goes across the boundaries and brings in the gay relationship, which I think was wonderful," Waikanae Bird Tour operator Mik Peryer told the newspaper.
Though Henrietta flew off with another swan, Thomas was unable to recover from the loss of Henry. He had to be moved to a bird sanctuary, where other swans bullied him without Henry's adoring protection.
When Thomas died, local humans honored him. “Complete with bagpipes, speeches and a poetry recitation by that famous raconteur, Pinky Agnew. The only funeral I have attended in my mayoral chains,” the mayor told the Post. “The story of this funeral went global.”
While residents wait for a green light on the monument, Gurunathan knows Thomas has left his mark on the town. “No matter the process, Thomas is a great and quirky Kāpiti story and we should be celebrating our stories through our art,” he said.