Book review: “What Happened to the Moa” written and illustrated by Ned Barraud. published by Potton and Burton. Price $29.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman.
The demise of the moa to extinction by the time the European settlers arrived in new Zealand, is an extraordinary story. The moa in its nine different sub-species inhabited New Zealand from lowlands to alone snow grass tops. The flightless moa lived in New Zealand for some 50 or 60 million years, browsing the vegetation. The birds were preyed on by the giant Haast Eagle and Eyle’s harrier and about 1300AD by the Maori migrants which basically spelt their doom rapidly to extinction within a century or two.
The talented Ned Barraud has illustrated the book with realistic and detailed drawings and his writing is concise yet revealing. aimed at school children. The book is ideal for any youngster but adults should take a peek too – they will learn some surprising facts about the moa.
The giant moa was tall at 3.6 metres in height and a big bird weighing in at 250 kilograms. The eggs were rugby ball sized.
The author explains the rapid extinction of the bird and concludes that possibly a few remnant moa may have survived until 1880.
Children and even adults should be captivated by New Zealand’s extraordinary extinct bird and the equally remarkable Haast eagle and the North Island’s Eyle’s harrier.
A revealing educational book, great for for story time for kids. Beautifully illustrated.