This Wild South documentary opens with the haunting call of the kōkako ringing out over the forest canopy at dawn. The film tells the story of Aotearoa’s "avian squirrel" and its struggle for survival — living with introduced cats and rats, while the remnants of its North Island rainforest home face logging. The songbird is framed as an icon of both conservation loss and hope. The script is by poet Brian Turner. The use of composer Hirini Melbourne’s score (with lyrics in te reo) was praised by award judges at British nature film festival Wildscreen.
The judges (among them, the great English filmmaker Ken Loach, and popular English author and zoologist, Desmond Morris), particularly commented on the creative use of Hirini's music.– Rod Morris on the judge's comments on Hirini Melbourne's music, at 1986 nature festival Wildscreen