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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37


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Lest some of my readers should never get to the end of the following verses, I will, shortly as I can, tell them what it is that forms the burden of my song, and its history.

All know that there once lived in New Zealand a very large bird, the bones of which are of frequent occurrence in the bogs and swamps of the country. We speak of this bird as the Moa, though why it should be so called is not very clear. No white man, and perhaps no Maori, has ever seen one alive. Some suppose that the Moa became extinct a very long time ago; others as sagely aver that they may not be all dead yet. There has been a considerable variety of opinion upon this subject. Of late years frequent reports have been circulated—the wish being father to the thought—that live Moas have been seen in various parts of the South Island; and in one case it was widely published, in the press of the Colony, that two living examples of the famous bird had actually been secured. Fortunately for the Moas perhaps, but unfortunately for the accuracy of my poem, these never reached their destination, which was said to be Christchurch.

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I have imagined that one of the Moas did actually reach town, and that the various incidents connected with its arrival and subsequent hasty departure did take place. Having once given the rein to imagination, it was but natural to suppose that such an acquisition to science, such confirmation of the opinions of some, should be displayed in public, and equally so, if I thought myself fit for the undertaking, was it, that my story should be told in verse.

I have not placed the whole of my story before the reader, but hope to do so at some future date.

The Author.