@ Canterbury Museum
Julius Haast and the Moa: How Christchurch became the centre of the moa world
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 1860’s.
Haast’s legendary luck delivered him the largest and most valuable collection of moa bones ever discovered, from Gelnmark station, and he used them wisely to create the worldn’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...
Quinn Berentson speaks about Julius Haast.