A partial skeleton provides evidence for the former occurrence of moa populations on Rakiura Stewart Island

The pre-human moa fauna of Rakiura Stewart Island is poorly known, and although there is little clear evidence that moa occurred naturally on the island, isolated moa bones are often found associated with archaeological middens. Here we report the discovery and collection of what is likely a naturally deposited partial South Island giant moa (Dinornis robustus) skeleton from West Ruggedy Beach, Rakiura, radiocarbon dated to 1297–1395 CE (95.4% CI). The time of death of this moa overlaps with the early occupation of the island by Māori.

Late Holocene Depositional Episodes in Coastal New Zealand

During the Late Holocene (1800 years BP to the present day) there have been three depositional episodes in coastal sand dune areas: Tamatean (1800 to 450 years BP), Ohuan (450 to 150 years BP) and Hoatan (150 years BP to the present day). Each episode comprised two phases: an unstable phase with a high rate of deposition, followed by a stable phase with a low rate of deposition and soil formation.