Maui dol­phin cutouts van­ish

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

ART is im­i­tat­ing life for the World Wildlife Foun­da­tion with the dis­ap­pear­ance of six rare maui dol­phins.

The life-size, man-made dol­phins were part of an art­work in­stal­la­tion on a fence in Grey Lynn.

The Great North Rd in­stal­la­tion was part of the Foun­da­tion’s Stop Their Ex­tinc­tion cam­paign.

The piece of art was aimed at rais­ing aware­ness of the plight of the world’s re­main­ing 111 maui dol­phins.

It was set to be moved around the city over the next two weeks but only a pair of the dol­phins now re­main.

The rest were re­ported miss­ing on Tues­day night.

Foun­da­tion vol­un­teer Julie Barry dis­cov­ered the theft.

“I think it’s just sheer van­dal­ism,” she says. “It’s such a pity.” Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Chris Howe says the irony of the man-made mam­mals dis­ap­pear­ing is not lost on the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It is ironic that the fate of our in­stal­la­tion dol­phins and the real, liv­ing breath­ing maui are linked.”

Mr Howe says it is a crit­i­cal time to get the mes­sage of con­ser­va­tion out there and it’s a “a real shame” that some­one has stolen them.

“A lot of ef­fort went into mak­ing the in­stal­la­tion,” he says.

Foun­da­tion spokes­woman Jenny Riches says the eight dol­phins, made of treated re­cy­cled card­board and worth $1500, were do­nated by Saatchi & Saatchi ad­ver­tis­ing agency.

“Ob­vi­ously as a char­ity we have to be creative about how we get the mes­sage out there,” she says.

But they would love to get the cutouts back, no ques­tions asked.

“There’s no an­i­mos­ity,” she says. “We’re not go­ing to be cross or any­thing.”

The dol­phins were mounted on the fence to sym­bol­ise the 110 to 150 maui and hec­tor dol­phins killed in com­mer­cial nets each year.

Mr Howe says be­cause the dol­phin deaths are hap­pen­ing out at sea it’s a case of “out of sight and out of mind.”

“We were hop­ing to bring the is­sue to peo­ple’s at­ten­tion by cre­at­ing the scene in places you wouldn’t ex­pect to see dol­phins.” • Mr Howe urges any­one who sees the dol­phins to call WWF on 04-471-4288.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Miss­ing maui: WWF vol­un­teer Julie Barry hopes the six dol­phin cutouts will be re­turned.

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