The Unnatural History of the Kakapo


This critically acclaimed documentary tells a story about a family living with a terrible curse. Adults are plagued by infertility and the young are vulnerable to disease. But this family is no stranger to adversity; they are a family of kakapo. Once thought extinct, they’re now the world’s rarest and strangest wild parrot.

Today there’s only one breeding population left in the entire world and the normally guarded conservation project that protects it has opened its doors and given a documentary maker unprecedented access to the Kakapo Recovery Program. The timing is perfect, modern science thinks they’ve uncovered the reason behind the curse and the recovery team think they’ve found a way to lift it.

With the help of a Spanish avian artificial insemination expert, some old men and a team of dedicated conservationists and rangers, a cure is almost within reach. But the battle to save the kakapo is far from over and the kakapo themselves still have a hand to play.

Kakapo Poster

A full version of the feature length documentary is available online for $4.99 USD.  Visit for more information.


  • Merit Award, Human Wildlife Interaction, IWFF 2010, USA

  • Best Newcomer, CMS Vatavaran 2011, India

  • Best NZ Cinematography, Reel Earth Film Festival 2010

  • Winner, Best Ornithological Film, Menigoute Festival.

  • Best Feature Documentary, Documentary Edge Festival 2010

  • Finalist, Best Feature Documentary, Qantas Film and TV Awards

  • Best NZ Filmmaker,Reel Earth Film Festival 2010

  • Best Sound, Documentary Edge Festival 2010

  • Best Director, Documentary Edge Festival 2010

  • Best Cinematography, Documentary Edge Festival 2010



“Editor’s Choice. Highly recommended. This is an excellent DVD about Kakapos, flightless parrots that are on the verge of extinction. High school and college students interested in understanding the many dimensions of saving at-risk species will enjoy this DVD. The photography is outstanding – especially the use of infrared cameras placed in the nests, allowing viewers to see the young chicks.”
- Science Books and Films (AAAS)

“Highly recommended. Viewers of this film are treated to a cinematically beautiful and dramatically compelling story. Intimate footage of the Recovery Team’s passionate conservation efforts during the three years covered is intense and emotional.”
- Educational Media Reviews Online

“Highly recommended. For anyone interested in teaching about species’ recovery programs, this DVD is an excellent resource. The filmmaker does a marvelous job of capturing, in a brief snap shot, both the challenges and triumphs that occur in such programs. Viewers will also find opportunities for discussing the costs and benefits of saving a single species.”
- NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association)

“This beautifully photographed film captures the scenic majesty of the New Zealand landscape and the verdant plumage of these rare birds. Mature students will witness conservation in action, and classes studying the importance of genetic diversity will find much to discuss.”
- Library Journal

“A beautifully told and passionately shot film.”
-Justine Andrews, TV3 Entertainment

“The Unnatural History of the Kakapo is a delight. A highly entertaining story with heart in the mouth suspense, setbacks, heroic ingenuity, and perseverance above and beyond.”
- Helen Wong, New Zealand Listener Magazine

"This astounding film follows the life of the Kakapo, once thought extinct, now the world's rarest and strangest wild parrot. The rigorous documentation of the scientific processes adopted for the successful recovery of a species is matchless. The film, importantly, highlights the perils of short sighted human interventions in natural habitats that have endangered the rare kakapo, in the first place. This engrossing film opens doors to compelling secrets."