When Ngāti Kuri kaumatua Bill Solomon came up with the idea to launch a whale watching business in Kaikōura in the 1980s, unemployment levels for local Māori were dire. In this documentary, narrator Don Selwyn credits Whale Watch for creating "an industry out of the embers of a dying town". Kaikōura was founded on whaling in the 1800s but now international tourists flock there to witness whales, dolphins and seals in their natural habitat. Whale riding Ngāti Kuri ancestor Paikea was the inspiration for Solomon's idea — to ride on the back of a whale to a new life and prosperity.
It's quite ironic to drive past these great pots that they used to boil their blubber up for oil, and now we're watching them.– Ngāti Kuri kaumatua Bill Solomon on the sea change in attitudes to whales in Kaikōura
Made with funding from NZ On Air