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