If you are visiting New Zealand, you should stop at Tirau’s visitor centre, more commonly known as the Big Dog Information Centre. Located in south Waikato (North Island), the visitor centre is housed in a corrugated iron building – in the shape of a sheep dog.
The building was officially opened in September 1998 and is a landmark not to be missed.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand
If you are passing through Fairlie in New Zealand’s South Island, stop by this statue and read about the legend of James Mackenzie – the namesake for the Mackenzie Country, Mackenzie Basin and Mackenzie Pass.
The statue of James Mackenzie and his sheep dog, in Fairlie, New Zealand
Mackenzie was a Scottish immigrant to Australia before he came to New Zealand. In March 1855, he was caught stealing 1,000 sheep from a sheep station north of Timaru in an area now known as the Mackenzie Pass.
After escaping , he walked 160 kilometres to Lyttelton where he was captured. He was sentenced to five years of hard labour for his crime.
He escaped from prison on at least two occasions, and failed on a third attempt. In September 1855, Mackenzie’s case was re-investigated and serious flaws were found in the police approach to the case and the trial. Mackenzie was given a pardon on 11 January 1856 after spending only nine months in prison.
The legend of James MacKenzie, accompanied by his faithful dog, grew over time, one reason for the area being known as the Mackenzie Country.