Moko-mania: dolphin doco makes debut

01:13, Jul 23 2013
Moko the dolphin
At play: Moko the dolphin, pictured cavorting in Otarawairere Bay, near Whakatane.

A feature-length documentary on the life and death of Moko the friendly dolphin is among the new films being unveiled at this year's New Zealand International Film Festival.

Soul in the Sea, shot and produced by marine biologist Amy Taylor, explores the impact Moko had on the Eastern Bay of Plenty community he frequented in the six months up to his death in July 2010.

Foremost among Moko's human companions was Kirsty Carrington, whose concern he would fall prey to the same sad fate as earlier lone dolphins brought her into conflict with staff at the Department of Conservation, who discourage human intervention in the affairs of marine mammals.

Amy Taylor
Amy Taylor: Her documentary about Moko will premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland next week.

Meanwhile, Moko-mania proved disruptive for fishermen in Whakatane and small tourism operators got into scraps over how best to ferry tourists to Moko's location.

A condensed version of the film screened on TV3 last year - however the feature film is an expanded account.

The film will premiere on Monday at SkyCity.


Marine scientist Ingrid Visser will join Taylor for a question and answer session after the screening, and singer/songwriter Jamie McDell will also perform.

Soul in the Sea will also be screened in Hamilton next month, following its Auckland showings.

Moko is named after Mokotahi, a headland on Mahia Peninsula, where he resided from 2007 to September 2009 and became a major attraction there.

In January 2010 he moved to Whakatane for five months, before following a fishing boat to Tauranga in early June. He was found dead on a beach at Matakana Island near Tauranga on July 7.