Rating : ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Availability: Local cinemas in NZ, and online at RNZ:
Storyline: Aotearoa has a unique form of biodiversity with birds that are vulnerable to attacks from introduced mammals – rats, stoats, possums and other predators that are having a devastating impact on New Zealand’s wildlife. This half hour documentary is about the perilous existence of the koroā, New Zealand’s little blue penguin, and the inspiring people who work tirelessly to protect them in Horomaka Banks Peninsula. While Flea Bay locals, Shireen and Francis Helps, have been working to support the penguins for decades and advancing their conservation work through the Pohatu Penguins business, it was the recent decision to replicate the 2001-02 Department of Conservation ground survey that brought the local community together in an ambitious and quite remarkable conservation effort that is captured in this uplifting short film.
Filming and setting: Not surprisingly given the film’s location in the beautiful Horomaka, the scenery is spectacular. And of course, the penguins are seriously cute, despite the fact that they smell terrible, bite, and defecate everywhere. But the film illustrates they have won the hearts of the volunteer army and, I expect, the hearts of people who get to see this film.
Cast: It is impossible not to warm to everyone as they go about the business of protecting the penguins. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and the joy they experience when trapping rodents is compelling, it almost makes you want to get out there and volunteer. But it is Averil Parthonnaud who steals the show, as she mobilises people – school children, volunteers, professionals…even Kevin her husband (Manager of Pohatu Penguins). Everyone is engaged by her tremendous drive and passion.
Personal Comments: Kororā is the second short documentary to emerge from conservation efforts in Horomaka. Last year the equally inspiring short film, Fools and Dreamers, showcased the wonderful work of Hugh Wilson at the Hinewai nature reserve (see https://youtu.be/3VZSJKbzyMc ). New Zealand has a bold vision to make Aotearoa predator-free by 2050, and is putting serious resources into the eradication of these lethal pests. But it is the leadership efforts of people like Averil, Kevin, Shireen, Francis and Hugh – and everyone who works alongside them – that ultimately illustrates what is possible when people unite to achieve a common aim. Go and see this film if you can, and be inspired.