Fleshing out a model of whale-like proportions

Last updated 05:00 11/04/2012
Sue Dorrington and Rob Uivel
CHALLENGING WORK: Sue Dorrington and Rob Uivel, of Wellington company Human Dynamo, with the lifesize whale heart they have built for a museum in Germany.

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It is not every day you get to build the heart of a blue whale, but creative workshop Human Dynamo is on to its third.

The model-making company, based in the Wellington suburb of Miramar, is now adding the final touches to a full-scale blue whale's heart it has been building for Naturkunde Museum in Munster, Germany.

The workshop first built a heart in 2008 for Te Papa to use in its Whale Tohora exhibition, with plenty of space and cavities allowing for children to get up close and personal with the large organ.

With that organ now travelling with the exhibition's world tour, Te Papa commissioned a second heart to remain in Wellington.

Now onto their third build, the creators and co-owners of Human Dynamo have spent the last three months crafting the 1.8m-tall heart.

With each fibreglass heart bringing its own set of challenges, they had far from perfected the creation of whale hearts, artist Sue Dorrington said.

"We create them to be interactive for kids so that takes a slightly different form each time, much like how a real heart is individual."

Human Dynamo was founded in 1998. Since then, the team's work has included the creation of prehistoric shark jaws for a Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World exhibit, a supersized giant weta for Hukawhai Glacier Centre and work on films such as District 9 and Avatar.

There had been some enquiries from other interested museums, but Te Papa owns the intellectual property rights to the whale heart exhibition, so it would be a matter of reaching an agreement, Ms Dorrington said.

"It's a pretty big project, but the kids have responded really well to it at Te Papa so I'm glad I've been able to get involved."

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- The Dominion Post

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