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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)

The Mystery-bird Pouakai

The Mystery-bird Pouakai.

There is an ancient wonder-tale about a huge predatory bird called the pouakai, which the Maoris at Arahura said inhabited the mountains somewhere between the Buller and the Kopi-o-Kai-Tangata. One was said to have been killed near the Inangahua. This pouakai, it was declared, was large enough to carry human beings off to its nest or den. It must have been some kind of eagle. There is a certain amount of scientific basis for such stories, for the fossil bones of some gigantic bird have been found at Glenmark, on the way from Canterbury to Hanmer Springs. The name Hapagornis has been given to this prehistoric species. It is scarcely likely that the Maori tribes knew this strange fierce bird, but they may have derived a dim memory of it from some early race of aborigines.

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