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New Zealand’s Famous Dolphins at the Film Archive

Soul in the Sea (2013) lm screening, accompanied by newsreel on Opo and Pelorus Jack

When: 7pm, 26, 27, 28 February & 1, 6, 7, 8 March / 4.30pm, March 1

Where: The New Zealand Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington

Ticket price: $10 general admission / $8 concession

New Zealand’s Famous Dolphins at the Film Archive

Soul in the Sea

Soul in the Sea (2013) is the true story of one woman’s quest to befriend and protect Moko, an extroverted wild dolphin. The lm premiered at the NZ International Film Festival in 2013. Soul of the Sea will screen at the Film Archive alongside a newsreel on two of New Zealand’s other beloved dolphins, Pelorus Jack and Opo, which features footage from 1910 and 1956.

Filmed in the six months leading up to Moko’s death, Soul in the Sea follows a journey of discovery, devastating loss, and resolution. It’s a love story with a difference; breaking through the invisible wall between people and animals, celebrating the incredible experience of friendship with a lone wild dolphin, and questioning whether we are truly aware of these souls in the sea.

Moko is a young male bottlenose dolphin with a big personality – he’s mischievous, clever, and engaging, with a fetish for stealing surfboards. His solo existence is rare, and his extroverted antics with people attract worldwide attention.

Moko’s arrival in the small New Zealand coastal town of Whakatane changes local Kirsty Carrington’s life irrevocably; from the moment she rst swims with him she’s hooked. The strong-minded solo mother is drawn into the lone dolphin’s world and puts everything on hold to devote herself to becoming his companion and guardian.

Among the other locals to fall for his charms is Errin Hallen, a dredging boat skipper who leads a solitary existence until Moko becomes attached to his boat, and Grant Dufeld, a young man with a fear of the water who has never learnt to swim.

As Kirsty and the rest of the community fall in love with Moko and his popularity peaks, she begins to worry that he will suffer the same fate as other friendly lone dolphins whose close interactions with people caused their early deaths. Some say he will be exploited and “loved to death,” but there is a much darker threat from shermen and others who want him gone.

Kirsty disregards those who say Moko should be left alone, and battles against the Department of Conservation to establish herself as Moko’s minder. When she succeeds her condence soars and she brings together a team of minders to keep Moko safe and help others to experience what she sees as a blessing from out of the blue. But her fears for Moko’s safety grow, and the judgment and anger that’s brewing in the small community begins to erupt.

"A moving documentary... Goes beyond the headlines to tell the real story” — Bill Gosden, NZIFF.

Soul in the Sea was directed by Amy Taylor. Taylor completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Natural History Filmmaking at the University of Otago and Natural History New Zealand.

Her student documentary about Hectors dolphins (Beyond the Kelp, 2006) was broadcast on Māori TV. Amy has since worked on various documentaries, short lms, commercials and music videos as a producer, director, cinematographer and editor.

Soul in the Sea will screen alongside the newsreel, “Opo” The Gay Dolphin, which was made by the National Film Unit in 1959. This newsreel is a composite of 1956 footage of Opo, and 1910 footage of Pelorus Jack – two other famous dolphins. Opo, the friendly dolphin, was protected by the small community of Opononi. Thousands of visitors ocked there to see her. The legendary Pelorus Jack was protected by Parliament. He delighted passengers to Pelorus Sound for more than 30 years, before mysteriously disappearing in 1916.

At the Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington. Screenings at 7pm, 26, 27, 28 February &

1, 6, 7, 8 March / 4.30pm, March 1.


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