Toa Legacy Collection
ILLUSTRATION: JULY 2021
Toa was a six-month old orca who was found stranded on the rocks of Plimmerton Beach in July 2021. A team of passionate volunteers and experts in the field worked for over ten days to keep him healthy and happy, while around the country hundreds of people searched for his family. Unfortunately, before he could be reunited with his pod, Toa passed away on Friday, July 23 2021.
The Toa Legacy collection was created as a way to memorialise Toa through fundraising for future strandings. I created this design in collaboration with the Orca Research Trust, Whale-Rescue.org and Ingrid Visser, which was released as t-shirts, hoodies and beanies through the help of The Print Room. The money raised will go toward the purchase of new equipment, scientific research and conservation efforts.
My illustration and design came from a desire to try and capture some of Toa's joyful personality, optimism and charm. Nobody who spent time with Toa will ever forget him, and it's in his memory that ongoing research, conservation and stranding efforts will be continuing. Toa may have been the most recent high-profile orca stranding in New Zealand, but he certainly won't be the last.
"I’m really grateful to the whole team who helped Toa and all proceeds from these ‘orcasome’ items will go to protect orca and their habitat, through conservation, education and scientific research. While we couldn’t return Toa to his pod, we can carry on his legacy by spreading the word through wearing this clothing. The funds generated will be used for equipment such as hydrophones, rescue and safety gear and the ongoing costs of doing field research." - Dr Ingrid Visser
A very special thanks to Dr Ingrid Visser, Reece Hesketh, Edd Brooksbank, Rachael Stone, Linda Gideon-Robinson, Jessie Hamilton and the teams at Whale Rescue, the Orca Research Trust, The Print Room, and the moderation team of the Wellington Whale Watch Group on Facebook.