Students on the trail of the black cat|Richard_F||01/10/07 at 11:41:10|richard_f|xx|0||Students on the trail of the black cat

Sue Newman
Wednesday, 10 January 2007

The black cat that has stalked the countryside of the Ashburton District and haunted the imagination of trampers is about to be captured on film.

Two postgraduate natural history film students from Otago University are making the legendary “black panther” and its spotters the subject of their end-of-year film, a film they hope will attract wide interest around New Zealand.

Prior to Christmas Pip Walls and Mark Orton spent several days roaming the hills with Alan Kircher, one of the panther spotters, and yesterday headed into the Mt Somers Track with Nic Newman, who saw the big cat in June last year.

When the pair decided to base their film around the black cat sightings, they never imagined the public response would be so positive, Ms Walls said.

“After we went to the media with what we were doing the response was huge. We’ve had loads of people call us and have loads to now get through. We had a fantastic public response, all of it positive. In all those calls we only got two hoax calls, and even they were great,” she said.

Yesterday’s filming was the first of at least three in the district, where the crew will spend time on a farm property, at Lake Clearwater and on Winterslow Station. On each occasion they will film the people who spotted the “panther”, recording their tale as part of building up a complete picture of the cat and its travels.

To provide another angle to the film, they hope to meet with Sceptics Society chair Vicki Hide.

Orana Park will also be visited before the crew head south to Bendigo Station and Twizel.

When they chose the mysterious cat as their film subject they never imagined it would become such a huge project or one that would attract so much public attention, Ms Walls said.

The film will screen in Dunedin on June 9 and its makers hope there will be an opportunity for it to screen in the Ashburton District shortly after its premier.

Those involved in the filming will be kept posted on progress and will be invited to the southern screening, she said.

|| Re: Students on the trail of the black cat|Richard_F||01/17/07 at 13:49:57|richard_f|xx|0||Student claims mystery black cat exists
17/01/2007 13:04:19

A University of Otago student claims he has the evidence to prove a mysterious large black cat does exist in Mid-Canterbury.

There have been seven sightings of a large feline in the region since 2001. It will soon be the star of a documentary being made by an Otago University student.

Student Mark Orton has used photographs and interviews with witnesses as part of his 24-minute documentary. He claims the first sighting was in 1966. Although he will not reveal how large the cat is, he says he has a photograph to prove it is out there.

Mr Orton says his documentary will first be screened in Dunedin and other local communities that have supported his film in June. He says recent sightings of a large ginger cat in the Waimakariri could also feature in the film.