Truckie answers call
It's not every day that you see glittery Maui's dolphin sculptures made by an ex-truck driver.
Despite his history in the tough trades Green Bay resident Mike Andrew has a soft spot for the world's smallest dolphin species which is on the verge of extinction.
At last count a Department of Conservation commissioned study estimated the Maui's dolphin population to be at 55 dolphins aged over 1 year old.
Mr Andrew says that's a crying shame and he wanted to do what he could to help raise awareness about the marine mammal.
He created the lively figures by carving freezer panels and coated them with fibreglass and glitter.
Since completion, Mr Andrew has been taking the sculpted pod to beaches throughout Auckland including Green Bay beach to display them in the ocean.
"It's where they really come alive," he says.
"I've had lots of feedback from people asking what they are and tourists like taking lots of photos."
The unemployed man doesn't have a car but he hopes to take the pod to more beaches on the west coast of the North Island where the dolphins can be found.
The sculptures took a year to make because of the cost of buying fibreglass resin on a benefit but he's had help along the way from generous members of the public too.
"I'm on medication which makes my skin very sensitive to sunlight so I put the word out for sponsorship to get a wetsuit top so I could display my art," Mr Andrew says.
His calls were answered by a woman named Clare who gave him $70 to buy a wetsuit and to protect him from the sun.
He's since named one of the dolphins after her.
While Mr Andrew painted the first dolphin he sculpted, he decided to keep the others colourless to represent the ghosts of dolphins which may die if nothing is done to save the species.
Maui's dolphins are at great risk from set net fishing and are threatened by boat strikes, seabed mining and pollution.
Visit doc.govt.nz for more information about the Maui's dolphin.
- Western Leader
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