Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Painstaking Research Brings Extinct Birds to Life

Media Release for immediate use: 15 November 2006

Painstaking Research Brings Extinct Birds to Life

58 Paintings by renowned artist Paul Martinson and expert commentary by palaeontologist Alan Tennyson breathe new life into New Zealand’s extinct bird population in a book published by Te Papa Press this month.

New Zealand’s flora and fauna thrived in its isolation for over 80 million years and developed many unique characteristics which subsequently fascinated scientists and collectors alike from around the globe.

In the last few hundred years many of these unique flora and fauna, including over a quarter of all New Zealand’s original bird species, have simply ceased to exist.

The book Extinct Birds of New Zealand by Alan Tennyson and Paul Martinson is the fruition of years of research and collaboration. Each of the 58 breathtakingly lifelike paintings and their descriptions is the result of careful drafting and re-drafting, consultation with experts from around the world, and the examination of rare museum specimens and records. All these resources have enabled Tennyson and Martinson to portray the birds, together with their habitats, and what (or who) killed them in remarkable detail.

Other projects at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa benefit from this type of exhaustive research. The current exhibition Blood Earth Fire contains life-like models of the birds like the flesh-eating adzebill, and the soundtrack includes the recreation of calls from 5 extinct birds; moa, huia, New Zealand goose, Finsch’s duck and whekau. The fossilised remains of trachea rings were used to help determine the sound these birds would have made: the longer the trachea, the deeper the sound would have been.

The demise of these birds is largely attributable to the arrival of foreign predators and most dramatically to the arrival of humans themselves. “13 alien predators helped drive these bird species to extinction,” says Tennyson, “but human hunters exterminated more birds than any other single agent.”

Extinct Birds of New Zealand is a vital resource for expert and amateur ornithologists, art-lovers, teachers, students and anyone passionate about how best to preserve those species which remain.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>


New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news