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Survey - The Town that Lost a Miracle Television (Full Length) – 1972 Documentary Māori

Survey - The Town that Lost a Miracle

Television (Full Length) – 1972 Documentary Māori

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In this 1972 documentary writer James McNeish visits Opononi to examine the life and controversial death of Opo the dolphin. Working from a McNeish idea, director Barry Barclay uses Opo’s mid 50s visit to the Hokianga as the basis for a probing film essay on people, and other animals. Witnesses recall Opo “oomping away”; they include local Piwai Toi, filmmakers Rudall and Ramai Hayward, and author Maurice Shadbolt. Opo is provokingly not shown on screen. Michael King praised Miracle as “without a doubt the most interesting and evocative” slot in the Survey series to date.

The Town That Lost a Miracle was my first attempt at introducing a Māori element into the mainstream. I was searching for a resolution by way of values I hardly knew at the time.
– Barry Barclay