New Zealand // Northland //

Opononi the dolphin


If you didn’t know about Opononi’s moment of fame in the summer of 1955–56 when a wild bottlenose dolphin, dubbed “Opo”, started playing with the kids in the shallows and performing tricks with beach balls, you will by the time you leave.

Christmas holidaymakers jammed the narrow dirt roads; film crews were dispatched; protective laws drafted; and Auckland musicians wrote and recorded the novelty song Opo The Crazy Dolphin in a day. Their tape arrived at the radio station for its first airing just as news came in that Opo had been shot under mysterious circumstances. The i-SITE shows a short video in classic 1950s-documentary style, which gives a sense of the frenzied enthusiasm for Opo.

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