Moko hitting the big screen

Playing fetch with a dead baby hammerhead shark with Moko the Dolphin was one of the first “mind blowing” experiences Mount Maunganui filmmaker Amy Taylor recalls about her time spent with the iconic mammal.

SunLive was the first media outlet to break the news of Moko in Tauranga Harbour in 2010 when director Brian Rogers was the first Tauranga resident to make contact with the bottle nose dolphin after Moko stole his kayak paddle.

Amy Taylor filiming Moko in Tauranga Harbour.

“I was the first person to find him in Tauranga Harbour the morning after he followed the local fishing boat home in the night. That was just before Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 2010,” says Brian.

Amy says it was that charismatic spirit which led her to make a documentary about Moko in 2010, and after three years in production ‘Soul in the Sea’ will be showcased at SkyCity in Auckland on Monday at 6.30pm.

“It feels all surreal really because it has been such a long project, but I guess that what happens with independent films I have been making.
“I am really excited about it. It will be good to share the story finally.”
Amy, who has a background working with whales and dolphins, began filming in 2010 when the iconic Moko was spotted frolicking in Tauranga Harbour.

She says the reason it took so long to edit was because she has been working on other projects at the same time.

“It was an appealing idea to follow a friendly dolphin around for a few months in the summer.

“The first time I met him we were playing fetch with a dead baby hammerhead shark he brought me.”
She says it was unusual and she knew then he was such a character.

“It was such a mind blowing experience.”

Amy says her documentary follows the impact Moko had on a small community.

“It starts off being a novelty and everyone is in love with him but it’s interesting how human nature then comes into play with a bit of conflict between people.

“Some people [were] saying he should be left alone and others [were] saying he needed company 24/7.”

Amy says it really made her think, “here we are all in love with dolphin because he is just fun and yet people tended to make things difficult around him”.

“He was obviously not aware of the conflict and carried on stealing bogey boards and having fun.”

Brian Rogers found Moko dead on Matakana Island on July 8.

“Some surfer mates told me there was something dead on the beach and I put two and two together and insisted on launching the boat.

Brian was sure that it was Moko, as the carcass was discovered around the same time the friendly dolphin went missing.

“DOC didn’t want to know anything about it, but I knew straight away it was a dolphin of the right size…it was most certainly him.”

The launch of the ‘Soul in the Sea’ documentary will be followed by a matinee screening on 11.45am on Wednesday before it is aired throughout the rest of the country.

‘Soul in the Sea’ will be screened in Tauranga in mid to late September, with dates still to be confirmed.

For more information on the documentary visit:


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