Posted on Leave a comment

little bush moa

Little bush moa were said to be extinct about 1400AD. But the date of their last sighting is open. Here’s a story from the winter of 1880 – deep in the remote bush of Fiordland.

Alice McKenzie of Martins Bay remembered seeing and touching a moa, when she was 7 years old. The bird was completely trusting like so many..

It seemed to take no notice of me and I crept up nearer and nearer and sat down on the sand behind it. It was very large, and blue in colour, and seemed round behind, with no tail noticeable. I remember parting the big curved feathers behind it where the tail would be. It still took no notice while I touched it and pulled out one of its legs. The leg was a dark green, with scales, and three toes, like a fowl.

When she tried to tie the bird up it

rose and turned on me, making a harsh grunting cry. It seemed to be as high as I was, and I ran for my life. . .

Later her father measured the footprints – from heel to the middle point of the middle toe – 11 inches (280mm).

She and her brother saw the bird and its winter-tracks regularly.

A fairly tall bird with bright blue plumage,

he said.

Was it a slender bush moa? Maybe a lone male waiting for a female that no longer came? Could be.

In Cloak of Protection the little bush moa is hunted by hokioi, haast’s eagle; dog; Forbes’ harrier; & human hunters. The cause of their extinction is thought to be human huntin

Leave a Reply