2008-11-21

Off the Farm - Opo the Dolphin Memorial




He's Opo the friendy dolphin. He's friendly as can be. If you should want to learn to swim. You couldn't do better than learn from him. He’ll very soon get you into trim. And he's giving instruction free. Down at good old Opononi by the sea
-from the song 'Opo the Dolphin' by Crombie Murdoch 1956
In the Summer on 1955/56 a friendly young bottle nosed dolphin swam into the Hokianga Harbour and began to play with the local children. She was named Opo after the small coastal settlement of Oponini where she played and frolicked with the locals. Opo became an overnight sensation. Over that warm summer thousands flocked to the Hokianga to experience and see the friendly dolphin. Film crews documented those warm summer days when Opo the Dolphin would come to play. A sad ending though came for the legendary dolphin. She was found lying dead on some rocks - the victim so it was believed from dynamite used for fishing. She's been gone now for fifty two years but perhaps Opo's legend will live on for generations yet. I told my kids the story of Opo and of the time when I was just nine years old having my photograph taken with the memorial to her. My father took the photograph and somewhere it's still there in amongst all the thousands of others my mother still has stored away. I hope to find it one day and show my kids that image, and relive the memory of a magical trip to a little place where a dolphin used to play.

3 comments:

  1. we've got a book at home here about nz dolphins such as opo. It's a really interesting book reading about their lives and how they affected people.

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  2. Hi Guys,

    It's a sad one too. Now that wouldn't happen not with all the strict protection laws they have for the safety of cetaceans.At least Opo will never be forgotten for sure.
    Liz

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