Paraoa, the Great Cachalot

Directed by : Benoît SEGUR – New Zealand

Edited by Yen LE VAN

Produced by Manuel CATTEAU / ZED

Original music by Pierre ESTEVE

For almost 15 years now, the Whale Watch company of Kaikoura, On the eastern coast of New Zealand, has been led by the Maori tribe known as the Ngai Tahu. Its people have always lived in Kaikoura and know the region’s ecosystem better than anyone else. Their belief is that everything that lives has its own place. Man is merely a visitor to all this natural beauty, and he must respect it.

Today they apply this philosophy to a flourishing activity: taking visitors out to sea to observe Paraoa, the great sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus), a species indigenous to these waters. Juveniles and adult males come to Kaikoura to feed around the underwater fault not far from the coast.

Through its history as well as its legends and beliefs, the Maori people bear witness to a destiny closely linking them to the sea and its animals. The Maori know that should they lose the whales, they would lose vast fragments of their dreams, their myths and their most beautiful poems….in other words, everything that made them the people they are.