Last seen in 1907, the huia once lived across most of the North Island. How did such a prolific bird become extinct? In this mini documentary, Riria Hotere enters New Zealand's national museum to explore what may have happened to the treasured bird. Ex curator Sandy Bartle pays tribute to the work of ornithologist and conservationist Walter Buller. Buller was responsible for some of the most comprehensive notes on the huia. Bartle and curator Alan Tennyson discuss how big a role Buller is likely to have played in the huia’s extinction. Tennyson offers insights around natural predation and hunting being possible causes.
Buller’s part in the extinction of the Huia may always be controversial so it’s ironic perhaps a little sad that specimens like these (held at Te Papa) are now such a valuable record of their existence.– Presenter Riria Hotere