A University of Otago student documentary telling the ''rags
to riches'' story of Sirocco the kakapo has made the finals
at an international film festival.
Recent Otago University film-making graduate Ashwika Kapur's
film From Dud to Stud was selected as a finalist for
the ''newcomers award'' by the natural history film festival
Her film follows the life of Sirocco, who is New Zealand's
only animal ambassador.
Ms Kapur said when she came across Sirocco's story she knew
this was the documentary she wanted to make.
''Sirocco is irresistibly endearing, cheekier than a monkey
and remarkably bizarre in his mannerisms.
''He is an extraordinary character and his story is equally
extraordinary; a true-blue 'rags to riches' tale, as it were.
''My film sets out to tell that story; the weird and
wonderful tale of a kakapo catapulted, by a strange chain of
events, to superstardom,'' she said.
The film was made as part of her postgraduate diploma course
in natural history film-making and communication at Otago's
Centre for Science Communication.
Sirocco had to be hand-raised and kept from other kakapo.
As a result he became imprinted on humans and thinks he is
In 2010, after several years taking part in conservation
awareness efforts, he was named ''Official Spokesbird for
Conservation'' by Prime Minister John Key.
Ms Kapur is working as an associate producer on NHNZ's new
India series, but plans to take a few days off to
attend the WildScreen Festival in Bristol in October.