Maori bug is the commonly accepted name for the largest endemic cockroach of New Zealand. The insect is common over most of the country except east of the main divide of the South Island. Its natural habitat is the floor of forest and bush lands but it has invaded, and successfully colonised, the farming and urban lands. In these areas it lives in all ground situations where shelter of grass, stones, logs, and general debris occurs and it is known to invade houses. The roach feeds on decaying vegetable and animal matter and in houses has been known to destroy cloth materials. All stages of the Maori bug are shining black. Adults measure up to 1 in. in length and, like all endemic cockroaches in New Zealand, are wingless. This species is capable of liberating a characteristic, unpleasant odour when disturbed.
by Roy Alexander Harrison, D.SC., Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Zoology, Lincoln Agricultural College.