Thomas and Henry spent 18 years together before opened up their nest to Henrietta, a female swan. They all lived in a fluid relationship and raised 68 baby swans together until Henry died in 2009. As a result of this disappearance, Henrietta left with another swan while Thomas was unable to recover from the loss of his lover. He was moved to a sanctuary where he suffered attacks from other birds as Henry was no longer here to protect him. Thomas died in 2017.
After his death, local residents decided to honor him. They organized a funeral attended by dozens of people and performed by a priest and Kāpiti's mayor.
This funeral was “complete with bagpipes, speeches and a poetry recitation by that famous raconteur, Pinky Agnew. The only funeral I have attended in my mayoral chains,” Mayor K Gurunathan told The Post. “The story of this funeral went global.”
Now the people of Kāpiti would like to honor this relationship with a statue as a symbol of diversity and love.
As Mayor Gurunathan explained, 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. Otherwise, they can look to crowdfunding the project. I think Thomas has the pull to raise that kind of money.”
The love story between Thomas and Henry is moving. I hope they will get their statue to celebrate this relationship that has lasted thirty years.