An inquest has heard Zion Wildlife Gardens had a history of not reporting serious issues involving its big cats.
A coroner's hearing is being held for worker Clifford Dalu MnCube this week.
It's heard how management failed to tell the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of several incidents.
These included a boy being bitten by a lion cub and requiring hospital care, a cheetah escaping in 2011, and a fence being blown down which led to a lion escaping.
The park was being operated by Craig Busch and then later his mother Patricia, when these incidents happened.
Patricia Busch is giving evidence at the coroner's inquest of Clifford Dalu MnCubewho was killed at the Whangarei park in 2009.
She says the previous year, the tiger Abu had become unsettled because her son Craig Busch had moved it several times.
Mrs Busch says it had become trapped in a smaller enclosure and was threatening to break free when MnCube stepped in.
"He'd gone round there, heard the commotion, and with his tone of voice and the fire extinguisher, he held the tiger back. It was very dangerous and could have been a tragedy right then."
Patricia Busch says that marked the beginning of the tiger's change in temperament.
Photo: Dalu MnCube (NZ Herald)