Rawiri Paratene is well known to New Zealand audiences – as an actor, student activist, and more recently as one of the stars of the movie Whale Rider.
You can see Rawiri playing Koro in the film Whale Rider in this video clip on Te Ara:
Following the success of Whale Rider, Rawiri has found himself more and more involved with whales. He and Witi Ihimaera, the author of the book Whale Rider on which the film was based, are now both trustees of the South Pacific Whales Research Consortium.
Rawiri recently had the chance to see for himself the work of whale researchers, such as Nan Hauser and her team in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. He also took time to attend presentations from researchers at the SPWRC meeting held at Auckland University earlier this year. That’s where we caught up with him.
Listen to Rawiri talk about being a trustee for SPWRC, and his first encounter with a whale “eye to eye”.