It was the tallest bird that ever lived. It developed leg bones like those of a horse or cow, but with a lighter structure, so that it could support its great weight. Eleven different kinds of Moa were known to inhabit New Zealand. Gizzard stones have been found in fairly large quantities around the Mt Somers area. Up to five kilos per individual Moa have been found. While the "Dinornis" Moa grazed on many different kinds of plants, their diet was mostly made up of woody plants. Fossil footprints reveal that Moa's liked to live in and around bush near rivers. Study of the contents of Moa gizzards show that bushes and small trees were trimmed in a shearing action by the Moa's powerful sharp-edged beaks. We can tell from fossil feathers that Moa plumage was mostly grey (sometimes reddish according to Maori tradition). The feathers were up to 200 mm long, double-shafted and fluffy, like overgrown down. Stories from Maori lore state Moa's were said to screech, boom and make noise like a rattle. They like to nest in dry caves and under rock overhangs. Most Moa eggs found have been white, the largest discovered measures 240mm x 178mm and is thought to belong to the "Dinornis". It is thought that Moa's could have a lifespan of 80 to 100 years. The last Moa was thought to have existed into the 1800's.
The residents of Alford Forest got together and built two Moas for the District. Clive Seddon Sculptor built the frame with the help of Sandy Payne, Rob Watson and Ben Payne. The Canterbury Museum ( Beverly Mc Culloch ) helped with photo's and measurements. The Residents covered the frame with netting and wire feathers. Four working bee's were required to do this with up to 55 persons turning up at each day. Photo's of the action are on the working bee and construction links.
The finished Moas on site, with the landscaping yet to be completed.
The finished Male Moa with the Alford Forest Hall in the background.
The finished Moas on site, with the landscaping completed.
Moa frame construction photo's (May-June 2000).
Working Bee photo's June to August 2000.
Wire Art Awards October 2000.
Alford Forest Early History.
Alford Forest Post Office History.
Mobile: 021 2164 222 or 027 626 75 26 Website: http://www.wildlifesculptures.co.nz/