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Haast and the Moa


Fri 23 Aug 2013, 6:00pm–7:30pm

Where: Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Canterbury Museum

How did Christchurch become the centre of the moa world? Quinn Berentson speaks about Julius Haast – the undisputed ‘Moa Tzar’. Find out about his luck, intelligence and charm and the bitterest episode in New Zealand science history.

The strange and unexpected story of the moa’s revelation by science has a strong Canterbury connection. Young German Julius Haast arrived in New Zealand with no hopes or prospects and yet thanks to his luck, intelligence and charm rose to the top of the young country’s professional science scene in the early 1860s. Haast’s legendary luck delivered him the largest and most valuable collection of moa bones ever discovered, from Glenmark station, and he used them wisely to create the world’s finest moa exhibition at his new Canterbury Museum, and trade his spare bones all over the globe and become the undisputed ‘Moa Tzar’. However his stubbornness and radical theories about the identity of ‘The Moa Hunters’ led him into bitter conflict with his fellow New Zealand moa researchers – especially James Hector of Otago – and eventually Haast’s luck would run out during the bitterest episode in New Zealand science history.

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