Meet the Moa
the biggest bird that never flew
Moa were a family of flightless birds that lived in New Zealand up until their extinction somewhere around 1500AD.
There were actually up to 10 different species of moa. The largest were truly enormous, standing 3 metres tall and weighing over 250 kilograms.
There were also smaller versions about the size of a turkey. But none could fly. Just like NZ’s national bird the Kiwi, moa had no wing bones. Instead they stalked the country’s dense rain forests, living off shoots, leaves and berries gathered from the ground.
Until the arrival of the Maori, their only natural predator was the gigantic Haast’s Eagle, now also extinct.
Sadly for the moa, the early Maori found them just too tasty. They also used moa feathers and skins as clothing.
So now all we have to learn about these fantastic creatures are skeletons found in swamps or deep in limestone caves where some must have fallen and become trapped.
Our location for the Bear essentials
We filmed the Bear essentials of safety on the Routeburn Track, a 32km, 2-4 day track in the southwestern corner of New Zealand’s South Island.