University of Otago student Ash Kapur makes the final edit
of her natural science film about Sirocco the kakapo. Photo
by Linda Robertson.
It is a rags to riches tale with a twist.
Sirocco, New Zealand's first and only kakapo recovery
programme ambassador, is the focus of a natural history
documentary by Dunedin student Ash Kapur titled Sirocco:
how a dud became a stud.
''It is a rags-to-riches story about how a kakapo shot to
stardom. It traces his life from when he was born to when he
was declared an ambassador for conservation, and what he does
now and will continue to do in the future,'' Ms Kapur said.
The 26-year-old film student, from Kolkata (Calcutta), India,
became intrigued by the tale of Sirocco when she moved to New
Zealand to study for the University of Otago's postgraduate
diploma in natural history film-making and communication.
The year-long programme was developed in partnership with
NHNZ and attracted Ms Kapur, who had been filming natural
history and wildlife in a ''semi-professional'' capacity
''This is a very unique programme in the world. Very few
places offer this degree and so I found myself in Dunedin,''
Ms Kapur was scouting for ideas for a 15-minute graduate
documentary when Sirocco visited Dunedin to stay at the
Orokonui Ecosanctuary in early September.
She filmed him at Orokonui then accompanied the 16-year-old
bird to Nelson, where she filmed his short visit to the city
and encounter with Conservation Minister Nick Smith.
She then followed Sirocco to Maud Island, in the Marlborough
Sounds, where she captured footage of him in the wild.
Ms Kapur said the most challenging and rewarding aspect of
the project was making an entertaining film which not only
told the story of Sirocco, but highlighted conservation and
natural history in general.
''He is the lead character, the lead actor, and he gave a
star performance. My biggest aim was to be able to entertain,
and that was the most challenging part, but also the most
The film will first be screened at 1.30pm on Tuesday at the
Centre for Science Communication annexe. Members of the
public are welcome.
Ms Kapur said she would also show the documentary in India,
where there was amused interest in a film about ''the only
bird in the world with a government job''.