Story: Large forest birds

Snared kererū

Snared kererū

Wild birds were a staple food for Māori. This kererū has been caught in a snare – a flax noose over a wooden water-trough. Māori also hunted birds with spears. After plucking, cleaning and cooking their catches, they preserved them in the birds’ own fat, in containers such as bull kelp bladders, gourds, or baskets made of tōtara bark.

In the few centuries after Māori first settled in New Zealand, the largest or most easily caught birds – particularly flightless ones – became extinct due to hunting. Their slow breeding rates meant they could not replace the numbers lost. Kererū have survived, but their numbers are too low to withstand regular harvesting.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10031314
Photograph by Peter Morrison

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How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Large forest birds - New Zealand’s large forest birds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/10554/snared-kereru (accessed 16 September 2019)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015