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3D Printed Moa Egg HC262

3D printed replica moa egg, printed to be the exact weight of a South Island giant moa egg. Included with the egg is a sample of the 3D printer PLA filament used to create the egg.

This moa egg is the exact size and shape of an egg in the Te Papa collection called the Kaikōura egg. Scientists think it was laid by the largest of the moa, the South Island giant moa, Dinornis robustus. It was found in Kaikoura in the 1850's and spent more than 100 years in a private overseas collection. It was purchased by the museum in 1966.

> See the actual egg here

KAIKŌURA EGG (ME12748, Te Papa, Wgtn)

This is the pre-eminent moa egg because it is the largest known—240 x 178 mm. It was also the first to be found—in the late 1850s by a workman digging foundations for a building at Kaikōura. The site turned out to be a Māori grave, and the egg had been placed beside a human skeleton. The egg has a perforation at the narrower end to make it into a vessel, and a portion of it was broken during excavation. The much-travelled Kaikoura egg was exhibited at the New Zealand Exhibition, Dunedin, in 1865. The same year it went to London and was auctioned. It passed into private ownership but was exhibited at the New Zealand Court of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, in 1886. It returned to this country in 1966, when it was purchased by the people of New Zealand to be a treasure in the national museum (now Te Papa), in Wellington.

Real moa eggs are incredibly rare. There are only 36 in the world. Four are held in the Natural History Museum in London, while the rest are in eight New Zealand museums or research collections, from Auckland Museum in the north to Otago Museum and the University of Otago in the south.

The shell of a moa egg is surprisingly thin. One egg has a shell that is as thin as 1.06mm. It makes you wonder how such large birds avoided crushing them. The latest research suggests that it was the male bird who kept the egg warm before hatching.

Before the appearance of humans in Aotearoa the Haast’s Eagle was the only predator of Moa. Their disappearance occurred approximately 200 years after our arrival. Most scientists believe they were extinct by 1445.

Moa were a valuable food source, and their bones, feathers and skins were also used in a variety of ways, including clothing, fish hooks and pendants. 

> Click here to download 'Moa Bones- A 'Hands on Tauranga' teacher resource'

Read this  article to find out how the Moa came to be 're-discovered' in the mid 1800's.

Read this article from National Geographic about Moa eggs here

date: Replica, created 2022

maximum dimension: 178mm (width), 240mm (length)

Weight: 4kg

Manufacturer: This egg was designed and printed by Palmer Design in Tauriko, Tauranga. They have three of the largest heated camber FDM printers in New Zealand. 

subject area: Social Science, Science

subject themes: Biology, Environment, Resources, Aotearoa, New Zealand, History

handling collection number: HC262

Why not get your hands on...

Set of 14 Moa Bones HC150/1-14

Moa bone (Femur) HC235

Handling information:
Supervision Required
To Touch
To Handle
Additional information:
Caution Required
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