Date: February 22, 2011
Author:

ALPG/LET – INTERNATIONALS EXPERIENCE NZ

(17 February 2011 – Christchurch, NZ)

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Players teeing it up this week at the Pegasus New Zealand Women&aposs Open hosted by Christchurch had unique and enjoyable experiences on Wednesday morning at Orana Wildlife Park and The Tank Experience in Christchurch.

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Spain&aposs Belen Mozo, England’s Melissa Reid, Scotland’s Vikki Laing, Americans Beth Allen, Tiffany Joh and Dawn Shockley and Australian Alison Whitaker all took part.

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The players started bright and early meeting at Orana Wildlife Park at 8am, Orana being the Maori word for ‘welcome’ or ‘a place of refuge.’ 

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Orana Wildlife Park is set on 80 hectares of bushland and is New Zealand&aposs only open range zoo. The Park has been developed as an open range sanctuary for endangered animals, providing them with enclosures as close to their natural habitat as possible. Streams, moats and banks are used as barriers to allow visitors the opportunity to see the animals in a natural manner. Over 400 animals from 70 different species are on display.

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The girls enjoyed three of the experiences at the Park.  To start with Belen, Tiffany, Melissa and Beth all fed lions through cages, the players amazed how large the male lions were in particular.  It was definitely a close-up encounter for the players who held meat up to the grates for the lions to take from their hands. 

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Belen, who absolutely loves animals, was the first to put her hand. Later she said, “The Lions, they were huge, you didn’t expect them to be as big as they are, they are a big as a car, it was really cool to have the opportunity of feeding them”.

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Tiffany commented afterwards “it was an awesome experience, it was amazing to feed the lions, I loved it.”

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Alison and Vikki had the next job of feeding the Sumatran tigers, again through a cage. Once again the players were amazed with Alison not being able to turn to the camera until all the meat was gone.

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Then it was off to the cheetah experience for Belen, Melissa, Beth and Dawn! 

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They were taken into the enclosure and sat on the ground with the keeper, and then the cheetahs casually walked over and sat amongst the group.  They spent an amazing 15 minutes with the fastest animal on the planet.  Players stroked, cuddled and played with the cheetahs.

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The players then thanked their hosts Nathan and Graham and headed to Tanks for Everything just down the road.

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At Tanks For Everything you get a chance to experience real working military vehicles up close, they offer people opportunity for single driving experiences, multi vehicle combo driving, vehicle passenger rides and vehicle tours.

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Here the players donned on an ‘attractive’ army helmet and were given the option of being taken for a slow, medium or “wild” ride in the rear of one of the tanks.  The players unanimously voted for the “wild” ride.  They climbed in and off they went around the circuit over rough terrain.

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Then it was time for one of the players to get a one-on-one training session and take one of the tanks for a drive, the fully tracked APC “Battle Taxi”, a 16 tonne, semi-auto, lever steering Russian army tank!  A paper-scissors-rock competition sorted out the driver and the lucky one was Scotland’s Vikki Laing.

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After arriving back at the compound, Vikki said, “What a blast, who have thought I’d have the chance to drive an army tank? I loved it.”

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