Feeling somewhat overheated in the 5 - 10 degree weather, he sought what seemed closest to his preferred cooling method (ice) and proceeded to devour as much sand as he could stomach.
It seems he ate rather more than his stomach could handle and when he was found, was rather ill.
Taken into Wellington Zoo, our hapless penguin was (slowly) purged of all his unwanted sand and gradually nursed back to good health.
Now, many weeks later (and after an amazing diet of gourmet fish) our intrepid penguin was bundled onto a fisheries research vessel and transported close to Campbell Island - about 600km SSW of South Island. Here, a specially constructed water slide eased (with a significant prod) our southern warrior back into the oceans of his ancestry.
Brrrr'¦ it's cold in here.
Since his encounter with the Tangaroa water slide, he spent a good deal of his first day meandering about the local area (experts assume he was checking out the local take-ways) but in the past few hours the tracking device shows he's started making significant southerly progress.
Penguin watchers (and aficionados of southern tap-dancing) may follow his progress at a specially created website.
The biggest fear of course is that Happy Feet will bring all his mates back to experience the great food he had during his stay. Penguin Club Med, anyone? (or is that Club Penguin Med?)