The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.

: 1848 - 1956), Friday 6 July 1951, page 6

moa!
HUNT
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Zealanders are searching unexplored "badlands" for the fabulous giant Moa bird
.
...

New

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OURTEEN

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no
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feet high and heavy as a racehorse, this feathered monster is fabulous, like the Dodo. But it is
so

by

means
the

certainly extinct.

and and in New

a

hunters succeed in capturing a moa, bring it out alive, they will become rich famous. A million dollars could be made few months by showing such a bird in
York
or

Hollywood.

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years

for a million and before that, moas roamed New Zealand in great droves.

A

century back,

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In a land that had no native animals, and for the most part no people, this bird was king. It had nothing to fear. Its mighty legs, able to kill a man at a single it the terror of all kick, made smaller birds. It ate roots, twigs, and leaves-alt reached easily and in great abundance from the ground. It nested In caves, and was wingless. The had moa not even the vestige of wings. it is unique Thus birds of among or country. any age thousands of Many skeletons have been unearthed and studied, but not a single moa wing-bone has ever been found. Nor does the breastbone show any socket or other device for the articulation of wings. Zealand have yielded great swamps of moa-bones, some of which have been sent to museums all over the world. From one bog 30 tons were dug up. From curator another, a the of Christchurch Museum, In the South Island, got more than 1,000 skeletons, comprising 14 different specie». in exchange for these, his institution acquired lions, tigers, leopards, monkeys. birds, reptiles, apes, armadillos, and insects to the value of £20,000. New

heaps

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National Library of Australia

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23070111

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man
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now

living

has

ever

seen

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and for that reason moa, the bird has been classed as extinct. But "absence of evidence Is not evidence of absence." There are a million acres of wild, unexplored country in the South Island which might very well harbor whole tribes. That seems likely since the dis even more
two years ago, of several native bird classed as extinct because had none been seen since the end of last century. In the last few months whole colonies of these "extinct" birds have been found. New Zealand, remember, has not been very long peopled, either by natives or white men, its remoter and parts, with their 2,000ft. cliffs 12,000ft. and still mountains, hold secrets. The many Maori a was coast dweller and avoided such places. For the Maori, the moa a was heaven
live

covery

there, about

takahe-another

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sent food supply, and there is ample evidence that, with his primitive weapons, he hunted and killed large numbers of these meaty giants. His legends tell this, while charred moabones, eggshell, and heaps of moa-stonesthe contents of the birds' crops-have been found the remains ovens. near of Maori With the coming of the white man. much existvaluable evidence of the bird's recent ence was disregarded through ignorance, or lost by not being officially record«!.

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recently as 1920 been discovered. The feathers, which

moa

eggs

have
some

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covered

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species right down to the toes, often weic used by native chiefs for cloaks. But not since 1860 has the appearance of a live bird been reported. In that year an-employee outback of an district sheep-run in the Manapouri came rushing back to the homestead in a great state of excitement, shouting that he had live a seen moa River the Waiau across between New Zealand's "Great Lakes"-Te Anau and Manapouri. been Many have well-preserved bones found in caves there, while strange birdcries are reported from time to time.

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6

cries

are reported from time to time. Strangest story of all, however, is that

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of the very first moa-bone to to come ever the notice of scientists. from In 1839 a man New Zealand brought a fragment 6 Inche» by 3 inches fn the British Museum, London, and off .d to sell it for 10 guineas il He said .vas the bone of a great eaglf given to him His offer was refused.

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-By

A.

L. KIDSON

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