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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Moa Tradition Given to Father Baty in 1841

Moa Tradition Given to Father Baty in 1841

Huge tree trunks jutting out twenty feet below the level of the banks of the Wairoa River attracted the attention of Father Claude Baty whilst he was en route from Mahia to Lake Waikaremoana in December, 1841. His Maori companions told him that they frequently came across large bones whilst digging. They pointed to a spot (apparently Whakapunake) where, they said, “moas” were to be met with. “Moa,” he explained, could be translated into French by “immobiles.” They added that, in the hollow of a perpendicular rock, there dwelt a creature in human form with long hair. It lived upon the wind, and its cave was guarded by enormous serpents.—Extract from a letter (18 January, 1843) to Father Maitrepierre, of France.