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Volume 4, 1871
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Notes respecting the Discovery of the Egg of the Moa at the Kaikoura Peninsula.

2. “Notes Respecting the Discovery of the Egg of the Moa in the Kaikoura Peninsula,” by J. D. Enys.


Having seen in the “Wellington Independent” of 8th July, 1871, that, at a recent meeting of the Wellington Philosophical Society, Dr. Hector stated that the Moa egg found at the Kaikoura Peninsula, and bought by the trustees of the British Museum from Mr. Fyfe, was found in alluvial soil when digging a well, and not in connection with any human remains,* I have put on paper the few notes which I shall now read. Dr. Hector makes this statement on the authority of Mr. Buchanan, who affirms that Mr. Fyfe had given him information to that effect. As I was the person from whom Dr. Haast obtained the information, as given in an appendix to his paper on Moas and Moa-hunters, I beg to state that being on a visit to the Kaikouras at the latter end of 1861 I was shown by Mr. Fyfe the Moa egg, together with a human skull and a black stone adze, which he kept in a box together, as having been found together when digging the foundations for the store close to his house. Mr. Fyfe observed at the same time that he had only preserved the skull of the skeleton with which the egg was found, and that the Maoris had no traditions whatever of a burial place in that locality, although one of their pahs is situated about a mile from the spot. Concerning the rumour which was published in the “Lyttelton Times,” when the egg was sent home, that the skeleton in question was found in a sitting posture, I have no recollection of Mr. Fyfe's mentioning the subject to me. I had some trouble in pursuading Mr. Fyfe to separate the egg from the heavy stone implement, as I feared that the egg would be damaged by it. He would not separate the skull, as he did not wish to disassociate the things which were found together. Since writing these notes I have asked Mr. John Innes, who was living at a station in the neighbourhood at the time the egg was found, if he remembered the circumstances under which it was discovered. He entirely confirms the correctness of the account I have given, and adds that the egg was found, as far as he remembers, in the early part of the year 1860, or end of 1859.

[Footnote] * See p. 363, ante.