“Moa attack on tramper caught on camera”

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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5th April, 2013 6 comments

“Moa attack on tramper caught on camera”. Source: it’s complicated – see note below.

Another big scoop at Reddit: an image showing a tramper being pursued by a Moa.

A few months ago, the generous minded New Zealanders who frequent the social news site were advising would-be visitors from America of the dangers they might encounter here.

And that spirit continues in this latest comment thread.

The picture, posted by user Crunchbang last night, attracted remarks from outside New Zealand such as this:

That is really fascinating! Did the tamper make it out alive? I hope so.

And this:

Coming to NZ for two weeks in three weeks. Never heard of this bird (?) looks like a photoshop to me…..only thing that’s giving me pause is that y’all’s isn’t the trolling type and I’m just ignorant about NZ in general


Among the responses:


I’ve never been attacked by one and I’ve been tramping loads of times. Maybe most people do something to aggravate them but honestly I’ve only ever met really timid ones that seemed more scared of me than I was of them.

I guess best to be cautious though.


People come to New Zealand to view the beautiful scenery but they need to be aware of the dangers. I have no sympathy for those who don’t adequately prepare for unexpected moa attacks.


Yeah, well it really depends what time of year it is. When it’s around Oct-Dec, they’re all riled up ’cause that’s their mating season. I certainly wouldn’t approach one then, even with a beer.


I got bitten by one once, but to be fair I did provoke it a bit.


Make sure you ask the store clerk for their Moa repellent kit if you can’t find it on the shelf.


The catch-22 of the NZ bush. Hunters need to see you, so you wear hi-viz gear to avoid being shot, but Moa are attracted to bright colours. Most Moa are just curious, but some juvenile males will get aggressive. There’s 2 or 3 documented attacks every hunting season.


We try so hard to warn tourists about this and they laugh at us. It’s really saddening.


They do prefer to avoid built up areas, since otherwise their wingspan makes it almost impossible to navigate the average city street (which may handle 2 lanes of traffic but is still too narrow for the eagle to fit through), so while the feeding is better around towns and cities, they’ve learned fairly quickly to keep mainly to the hills and mountains, where they can feed off the backpacking tourists.

Luckily, these remain in fairly constant supply, ensuring a decent food source for their young. The amazing thing is that they were nearly extinct only 100 years ago !


I’ve seen one here in Auckland, out in the Western suburbs. It was chasing a Labrador in one of the local dog parks… the poor dog was freaking out.


My friend had a scooter stolen by one. Must have been attracted to the sheepskin cover on his seat.


well thats his fault for leaving it outside the dairy


There is one living out in the eastern bays too, hasn’t been seen for a few months, I’ve only seen it once when I was younger, but apparently it is still living on one of the islands. I think it was Motahi Island


We were out fishing on Milford sound over Xmas last year, and about 5 of them came over the terrain in a flying V formation, swooped down into the water and took several barracuda each before executing a perfect turn in the same formation, and flying back over the hills into the bush.

They were probably 50-100 meters off our spot where we were fishing.


Most communities consider wrestling with one a right of passage. Where did you grow up?


This might help future tourists: The best thing to do in a Moa attack is lie flat on the ground. When they lean over to try and peak out your eyes they loose balance and end up falling on the ground which is your chance to get away.


I miss the days when KFC served moa before they became endangered and all.


I think that the real reason was that most of the KPC franchises didn’t have the special super-deep fryers that were able to fit them in.


Stop making light of a serious subject.

We need to ensure everyone knows that the safest place during a Moa attack is up a tall tree.

Update: Thanks to various people on Twitter for pointing out that the image originated in an Air NZ safety video – and see the comments below for a further note on its source.

More by Toby Manhire

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6 Responses to ““Moa attack on tramper caught on camera””

  1. 53jubilee Apr 6 2013, 11:52am

    In Tonga they sell Moa and chips as the local alternative to KFC.
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  2. Ken001 Apr 5 2013, 10:45pm

    That reminds me, we used to have a couple of pets moas on the farm. They were named Masport and Morrison...
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  3. Toby Manhire Apr 5 2013, 6:43pm

    Thanks for that Mr Bang
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  4. CrunchBang Apr 5 2013, 5:33pm

    I posted the picture, but Peter Thompson is the source of the image https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=550280758325596&set=a.350371181649889.81877.321308187889522&type=1
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    • CrunchBang Apr 5 2013, 6:39pm

      Peter was the cameraman for the helicopter shots for the Air NZ video, and the image would have been taken off his camera.
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  5. langford Apr 5 2013, 4:47pm

    We've got one living next door.... oops, no, just looked again... it's an ostrich
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