A documentary on a New Zealander that brought joy to thousands of people had its world premiere in Auckland tonight.
And while the subject of the film, Moko, is a dolphin, not a person, the film's director says the mammals should be granted "non-human person" status.
"I wanted to put a bit of a personality, you know a face and a personality, to all those dolphins, and Moko was just that perfect opportunity," says director Amy Taylor.
Ms Taylor filmed Moko near her home in Whakatane during the first half of 2010, but her wildlife filmmaking Masters project came to an unexpected end when Moko was found dead on Matakana Island near Tauranga.
"It was like finding a friend or a family member or someone you love washed up on the beach," she says.
The death hugely affected one of Moko's self appointed minders, Kirsty Carrington, who also features prominently in the film.
"People that lose pets, you know dogs, cats, they love them to pieces... they're like family members and it was more than that to me," says Ms Carrington.
Ms Taylor would like New Zealand to follow India's lead in granting dolphins non-human person status - which would give them the same right to life as humans.
"Dolphins are quite exceptional animals and I don't think they should be kept in captivity or treated badly or killed the way that they're killed in Japan. I would definitely support them being given non human person status."
While Ms Taylor says all dolphins should be protected, she says Moko was one of a kind.
"You're not just going to have another friendly dolphin come along like him probably in your lifetime."
source: newshub archive