Haast eagle and Moa

This bird, the Hokioi, was seen by our ancestors. We (of the present day) have not seen it — that bird has disappeared now–a–days. The statement of our ancestor was that it was a powerful bird, a very powerful bird. It was a very large hawk. Its resting place was on the top of mountains; it did not rest on the plains. On the days in which it was on the wing our ancestors saw it; it was not seen every day as its abiding place was on the mountains. Its colour was red and black and white. It was a bird of (black) feathers, tinged with yellow and green; it had a bunch of red feathers on top of its head. It was a large bird, as large as a Moa. Its rival was the hawk. The hawk said it could reach the heavens; the hokioi said it could reach the heavens; there was contention between them. The hokioi said to the hawk, “what shall be your sign?” The hawk replied, “kei” (the peculiar cry of the hawk). Then the hawk asked, “what is to be your sign?” The hokioi replied, “hokioi–hokioi–hu–u.” These were there words. They then flew and approached the heavens. The winds and the clouds came. The hawk called out “kei” and descended, it could go no further on account of the winds and the clouds, but the hokioi disappeared into the heavens.

“Kei” is the cry of the hawk. “Hokioi–hokioi” is the cry of the hokioi. “Hu–u” is the noise caused by the wings of the hokioi. It was recognized by the noise of its wings when it descends to earth.

The bird was also depicted in rock drawings.

Haast eagle claw

Figure 1. Phalange measured from summit to articular end to point,
2.9 inches (70 cm); circumference, 3.17 inches (85 cm).

Sub Species: 

Other common names:  — 

Description:  — 

Extinct bird

10-14 kg., wingspan almost 3 metres.

More Information:  — 

»»»  Pouakai, Haasteagle page,
       (in NZ bird gallery)

Illustration description: — 


Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, 1871.

Reference(s): — 


Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, 1872, p.435.

Riley, Murdoch, Maori Bird Lore, 2000.

BBC article

Page date & version: — 


Saturday, 30 October, 2010; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.