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North Island Brown Kiwi

Description

This image shows a North Island brown kiwi ('Apteryx mantelli') preserved by taxidermy. A flightless bird, it has brown feathers streaked with a reddish tinge.
The long thin bill is ivory in colour with nostrils located at the end - a feature unique to the kiwi.
The bird here is a male, about 40 cm high, and would have weighed about 2.2 kg. Females generally weigh closer to 2.8 kg.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
This asset is an example of an endangered species included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Mainland populations of the North Island brown kiwi may have decreased by as much as 86% in 36 years (three bird generations), because of predation and loss of habitat.
It is one of five species of kiwi found in New Zealand. The North Island brown kiwi is generally found in the upper parts of New Zealand's North Island, namely in Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula, where it inhabits dense, subtropical and temperate forests.
The male kiwi incubates the newly laid egg for two-to-three months. The female produces one of the proportionally largest eggs of any bird, comprising 15-20 per cent of her body weight.
The kiwi is the smallest living member of the ratites, a notable group of flightless birds that have no ridge (keel) on their sternum (breast bone) to which wing muscles would be attached in birds that fly.
Kiwis mate for life, keeping in touch with their partners through the loud calls, and are symbols of New Zealand's national identity.

Upland Moa Skeleton

Description

This is a complete skeleton of an extinct upland moa ('Megalapteryx didinus'). It was discovered in 1987 in the Oparara Valley, a remote area near Karamea on the northwest coast of New Zealand's South Island. The moa was a flightless bird, and it is believed this one became trapped in a limestone cave over 15,000 years ago. When alive, this moa stood about 1 metre tall and weighed around 56 kilograms.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
The moa was unique to the high country of the South Island of New Zealand and became extinct mainly through the hunt for food by humans.
The moa was a low-slung bird with its head held only slightly above the level of its back - its stance is unlike that of the ostrich species, with which comparisons were made. The moa was a member of the ratites (which include ostrich and emus) - a notable group of early birds that have no ridge (keel) on their sternum (breast bone), to which wing muscles are attached in birds that fly.
Moa are thought to have evolved from flying ancestors whose breast muscles and wings degenerated when they increased in size and improved their ability to run.
The roof of the limestone cave in which the bones were found had collapsed in several places, creating vertically sided potholes up to 50 metres deep. Once the flightless moa had fallen in, there was no chance for escape.
The moa was the tallest of birds known, with some growing up to 4 metres in height. Although the upland moa is one of the smallest moa, it is still larger than most birds alive today.

Skulls of Hector's and Maui's Dolphins

Description
These skulls represent the two recognised subspecies of Hector's dolphin, a coastal dolphin found only in New Zealand waters.
On the right is a skull of a Hector's dolphin ('Cephalorhynchus hectori hectori').
There appears to be some genetic distinction between this species and the skull on the left, which is that of Maui's dolphin ('Cephalorhynchus hectori maui'). This subspecies of the Hector's dolphin lives off the west coast of the North Island. The skull measures 30.2 cm in length. It is both genetically and physically distinct from the South Island population, the main distinction being size.
Maui's dolphins are slightly larger than South Island Hector's dolphins. Both skulls have a pointed beak shape.
The Hector's dolphin has close to a full set of teeth, while the Maui's dolphin has no teeth present. There is a prominent protrusion of bone from the eye sockets on both skulls.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
These skulls are of two subspecies, which are amongst the rarest dolphins in the world. They are members of the 'Delphinidae' family, of which there are 35 species worldwide. The skulls demonstrate the atypical mammalian structure of the dolphin skull, and an evolutionary change that makes it easier for the efficient exchange of air at the sea surface while the animal stays largely submerged.
As mammals, dolphins breathe air, and the nasal cavity that leads to the dolphin's blowhole is situated towards the top of the skull.
The Hector's dolphin is the only dolphin endemic to New Zealand waters. Genetic analyses show that this dolphin can be broken into four populations. The population of the Maui's dolphin off the west coast of the North Island is distinct enough to be considered a separate subspecies.
The main physical difference is that the Maui's dolphin is slightly larger and there is also a suggestion of variation in colour pattern, but this requires further investigation.
One of the shortest members of the dolphin family, an adult Hector's dolphin grows to a length of about 1.5 m for females, while males are a little smaller.
In contrast, Maui's dolphins may be as long as 1.62 m. Common dolphins reach about 2.6 m in length.
The Hector's dolphin also has a distinctive rounded dorsal fin (similar in shape to one of Mickey Mouse's ears) compared to the usual falcate-shaped dorsal of most other dolphin species found in New Zealand waters.
The Hector's dolphin is listed as endangered in the IUCN (the World Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species, and the Maui's subspecies is listed as critically endangered. There are only an estimated 3,000-4,000 Hector's dolphins and 75-130 Maui's dolphins remaining.
Living close to shore, these dolphins are susceptible to threats from humans and at risk from marine pollution and recreational boating activities, but especially from gillnet fishing. This is an inshore method of fishing involving nets that can be 500 m long. Discarded nets, called 'ghost nets' can float around in the ocean and catch all sorts of wildlife including Hector's and other small dolphins.
Although able to live for up to 20 years, 'Cephalorhynchus hectori' does not breed very often, only producing one calf every 2-4 years. Hector's and Maui's dolphins do not commence breeding until they are 7-9 years old and the subspecies do not interbreed. This makes the consequences of human activities such as fishing even more devastating. New Zealand's first marine mammals sanctuary was established for 'Cephalorhynchus hectori' in 1988 around Banks Peninsula. The sanctuary stopped commercial set netting in an area of 1,170 square kilometres and restricted the use of the area by amateur set netters.
In September 2003, commercial set netting was banned from northern Taranaki to Maunganui Bluff on the west coast of the North Island, including inside the heads of the Manakau Harbour to protect the small population of Maui's dolphins. This dolphin species was named after Sir James Hector, one of the most influential New Zealand scientists of his time. In 1865 he was appointed director of the Geological Survey and Colonial Museum in Wellington and examined the first specimen of the dolphin ever found.

Wandering Albatross, 1993

Description

This is a wandering albatross ('Diomedea exulans'), one of the world's most celebrated birds. The bill is yellow and pink in colour, and the tail is mostly white with black tips. Wandering albatrosses often appear exclusively white from a distance, but usually they are not. There are darker wavy lines on the breast, neck and back, and the wings change colour from black to white with age. This specimen was preserved by taxidermy by Noel Hyde after it was caught on a tuna long line off the East Cape of New Zealand in 1993.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
With a wingspan of up to 3m, the wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird. They use this enormous wingspan to glide effortlessly on updrafts of wind, and spend most of their life in flight (unlike most other birds).
Their body length can be up to 1.35 metres, and females are slightly smaller than males. The wandering albatross may fly thousands of kilometres on a single foraging trip. One bird was recorded as having flown 6,000 kilometres in 12 days.
Albatrosses feed in different areas according to their age and sex, the stage in their breeding cycle, and the population they originate from.
The albatross is a species in decline. It is slow to breed, and its population has dropped significantly since 1985, mostly as a result of commercial fishing practices.

Embroidered Picture of a Huia, c1900

Description

This is an embroidered picture of a female huia bird ('Heteralocha acutirostris') on a branch taking nectar from the flowers of a rata (a native New Zealand tree). The dark-coloured bird has white-tipped tail feathers, and light orange wattles at the base of its beak.
The work has a stylised Maori design around the edges of the embroidery and a frame also carved with Maori designs.
It is made from coloured silks on linen and the frame is kauri (another native New Zealand tree). A small piece of paper attached to the lower right corner of the linen reads, 'This Bird Was Worked and the Frame Made and Carved, By an Old Crippled Maori Named "Rungomai", At Tokomaru Bay - East Coast'.
It was made around 1900 and measures 48 cm x 70 cm.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
The huia is an extinct species of bird, about the size of a magpie, which was found only in the North Island of New Zealand. It was one of the most ancient New Zealand birds, and only the moa and kiwi are thought to be older.
Land clearing and the introduction of rats and dogs (natural predators of the huia) by both Europeans and Maori and hunting of the birds for their feathers and beaks as personal adornments, led to a steep decline in the number of huia. The last sighting of the huia was in 1907.
Maori considered the huia to be tapu (sacred) and to wear a beak or feathers, especially the white-tipped tail feathers of the huia, as ornamentation was a great honour and one bestowed only on rangatira (chiefs).
The bird in the image is a female huia. The male huia had a markedly different beak style (short and stout as opposed to long, slender, and curved). No other bird is known to have such a marked distinction in beaks within its own species. The male used his bill to chisel into outer layers of decaying or live wood whereas the female used her bill to probe into areas inaccessible to the male to find insects and their larvae and spiders.
In the last two centuries more than 100 species of bird have disappeared from the Earth, having an impact on people, their communities and cultures.
Birds are important for seed dispersal, insect and rodent control, scavenging and pollination.

South Island Kokako, 1833

Description

This is a hand-coloured engraving of a South Island Kokako ('Callaeas cinerea cinerea'), a sleek, blue-grey forest bird of moderate size.
We know this is a South Island Kokako as its wattle is orange-red in colour. The North Island Kokako has a blue wattle.
Like all kokako, it has distinctive and colourful fleshy wattles below the beak and a velvet-black 'mask' directly below the eyes. The wings are small and weak for a bird of its size, as it preferred to get about by running and jumping about on its long legs rather than by flying or gliding.
There are pencil sketches of the bird's anatomy towards the bottom of the engraving.
JSC Dumont d'Urville engraved the plate based on a painting by ornithological artist Jean Gabriel Pretre (c1800-50). It measures 40cm x 26.5cm.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
The kokako is thought to be extinct. There have been no confirmed sightings of the South Island kokako since the 1960s, although 400 pairs of North Island kokako survive. Forest clearance and the introduction of predators such as rats, stoats and possums were the main causes of the bird's demise.
The kokako belongs to the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds (Callaeidae), an ancient family of birds that includes the North and South Island saddleback and the extinct huia.
There are many Maori legends about the kokako.
It was the kokako that gave Maui (the Maori trickster hero) water as he fought the sun. It filled its wattles with water and brought it to Maui to quench his thirst. Maui rewarded the kokako by making its legs long and slender, enabling the bird to bound through the forest with ease in search of food.

White Spotted Greyling, (Upokororo), 1889

Description

This is a watercolour of the New Zealand upokororo or grayling ('Prototroctes oxyrhynchus') by the flora and fauna artist F.E Clarke (1849-99), made in 1889. The fish is long and slim with slivery-blue hues on the underside. Yellow-brown shades on the back, head and tail fin, pattern into spots along the back. The words 'White Spotted Greyling. (Nat: Size) (Prototroctes Saleii) Hokitika R. 26th October 1889' are written beneath the image. It measures 12 cm x 27 cm.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
This is a painting of the once-abundant New Zealand grayling, which is now extinct. Apart from four specimens at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, there are fewer than a dozen museum examples in the world. This image is the only reliable clue to the fish's colouring - it has been described variously as silvery with slightly brown hues on the back, as a rich red-brown speckled with grey, and as a golden yellow.
This lack of exact information is presumably due to the fact that a specimen preserved in formalin or alcohol loses its colour.
Little is known about the fish.
It lived in streams and estuaries, where it grazed on algae, grew to 45 cm and weighed up to 1.5 kg.
Like other native species, the fish probably grew and spawned in fresh water and then, as newly hatched larvae, were washed out to sea to live for several months. The upukororo was a valuable food source for Maori, who caught it in long woven traps called hinaki. It became extinct following European settlement. The grayling was widespread in the early years of settlement, and was even used as bulk fertiliser on market gardens, but by the late 1870s numbers were declining, and by 1930 it was considered extinct. The introduction of trout almost certainly contributed to its disappearance, combined with the clearing of vegetation along rivers, resulting in increased light penetration and raised water temperatures. The fish is misnamed. It was not related to the European or US grayling, but belonged in a separate family, together with one other Australian species.

Pekapeka

Description

This is an image of a pekapeka ('Mystacina tuberculata', lesser short-tailed bat) preserved by taxidermy.
One of only two native land mammals in New Zealand, it is endangered like New Zealand's other land mammal, the long-tailed bat. Short-tailed bats weigh just 12-15 grams, have large pointed ears, and are a mousy-grey colour. They live in native forests.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
This asset illustrates the bat's wings, which can be folded and used for scrambling around on the forest floor.
Unlike most bats, which catch their prey in the air, the short-tailed bat developed into a ground hunter because of early New Zealand's unique predator-free conditions.
It spends large amounts of time foraging on the forest floor.
The pekapeka has sharp, carnivorous teeth. These teeth indicate that the main part of its diet is insects, although it also eats fruit, nectar and pollen.
It is a native animal adapted to New Zealand conditions. The pekapeka goes into torpor in cold weather and stays in its roost, hibernating for up to 10 days, feeding again when the weather warms.
It is now seriously affected by human settlement - habitat loss (clearing of land for farming) and the introduction of predators such as rats, stoats and cats have led to a dramatic decline in numbers.

Tuatara Litho Tint, 1845

Description

This is a litho tint of a tuatara ('Sphenodon punctatus'), a native New Zealand reptile, resting on a rock with grass and water in the foreground. Two views of the skull appear above it.
This litho tint was numbered plate 20, measuring 25 cm x 31.5 cm, and was published in London by E.W Janson in 1845.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
This asset is an example of a litho tint (a tinted print made by repelling ink from a smooth stone surface) created after a journey of discovery made by Captain Sir James Clark Ross, a British Royal Navy captain who set sail in 1839 to study the Earth's magnetism in Antarctica.
The tuatara is a unique native animal from New Zealand. It has not changed its form much in over 200 million years and is the only survivor of a large group of reptiles that roamed the Earth at the same time as dinosaurs.
It possesses a classic diapsid skull. These skulls have large holes on their lateral and dorsal surfaces to fit in jaw muscles.
The word tuatara means 'peaks on the back' and refers to the feather-like spikes that run the length of the animal's back.
It is an example of a native New Zealand animal affected by human occupation. Introduced predators have had dramatic impact on tuatara populations and they now survive only on predator-free islands along the east coast of the North Island and in the Marlborough Sounds at the north of the South Island.
It has a low metabolic rate and longevity. Some records indicate that individuals may live to be over 100 years old.

Giant Eagle

Description

This is a fibreglass model of the extinct New Zealand giant eagle known as Haast's eagle ('Harpagornis moorei'). It was the largest eagle ever recorded, and had talons as big as tiger's claws, a low, narrow skull and an elongated beak.
Males weighed up to 10 kg while females weighed up to 14 kg. Harpagornis was capable of reaching speeds of up to 80 km per hour when diving. Its dark wings and tail feathers had white feathers distributed through them, giving a striped effect, while its body was predominantly brown. Its wingspan measured up to 2.6 metres across.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
This is a fibreglass model of the now extinct New Zealand native eagle, 'Harpagornis moorei'. It was the largest eagle ever known and was capable of killing a 200kg 2m-tall moa with its powerfully muscled legs that cushioned its body from the sudden force of a strike.
It had talons capable of stabbing several centimetres into flesh and of puncturing bone. Fossilised moa pelvic bones show gashes and punctures from eagle claws.
One consequence of Polynesian settlement and hunting was the eventual extinction of the giant eagle. Hunting deprived Harpagornis of its food supply.
Harpagornis also became a food source for humans, which is evidenced by the eagle's bones, along with tools made from them, being found in middens.
Haast's eagle lived on the South Island of New Zealand, occupying large territories of up to several hundred square kilometres, before becoming extinct sometime around 1400. There were, however, claims of sightings as late as the 19th century.
The giant eagle was first described by Julius Haast of the Canterbury Museum from bones found in a swamp near Glenmark, North Canterbury (east coast of the South Island), in 1871.
Some Maori believed that the giant eagle was descended from the star Rehua. The Harpagornis was also regarded as the ancestor of ceremonial kites or manu tukutuku, which typically took the form of birds. Ethnographer Elsdon Best recorded that it was a legendary bird of this magnitude that was reputed to have carried off and devoured people.

Hutton's Rail

Description

This is a chromolithographic print of a pair of Hutton's rails (Chatham rail, matirakahu, 'Cabalus modestus').
The print was created from an engraving based on a watercolour by the Dutch artist J.G Keulemans and was published in 1905.
One bird stands alert on a rock while a smaller one crouches below. A larger rock and shadowy grasses and ferns form the background, while smaller rocks, leaves, and fern fragments add to the natural setting. The words 'Hutton's Rail, Cabalus modestus' are printed below the image. The print measures 36.0 cm x 27.0 cm. (Current scientific classification for Hutton's rail - Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Order: Gruiformes, Family: Rallidae.)

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Educational Value
The rail became extinct between 1896 and 1900.
Soft down feathers helped the chick to conserve body heat, and these were replaced by adult feathers as the chick matured.
It is one of three specimens of a small flightless rail that were collected from Mangere Island in the Chatham group, about 800 km east of New Zealand, by Henry Travers in 1871. Travers delivered them to F.W Hutton (1836-1905) at the Colonial Museum in Wellington, and Hutton immediately recognised them as a new species.
Only 26 specimens of rail were ever found, all on Mangere Island. Recent palaeontological research has shown that the species was widespread through the larger Chatham Islands before Moriori people and rats arrived about 600 years ago.
By 1897, fires and cats had exterminated the last of Hutton's rails.
Rails became flightless after arriving on the Chatham Islands hundreds of thousands of years ago; when mammalian predators and humans reached the oceanic islands, rails were among the first species to disappear.

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