Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Disappointment after rare feathers stolen

A volunteer at the small museum where two valuable rare feathers from an extinct native bird were stolen is not hopeful they will be returned.

The 123-year-old tail feathers were taken from one of two stuffed huia birds that were kept in a secure glass case at the Gallery of History in Dannevirke.

Dannevirke police are investigating and are appealing to the public for any information about the theft, which is believed to have occurred on either Wednesday or Friday last week.

Pat Mills, who is one of a number of volunteers at the museum, told NZ Newswire she doesn't hold much hope the feathers will be returned.

"It's going to be very difficult to find out who took them."

She said there will be an amnesty, so if the person who took them felt that they had done the wrong thing, they could slip them under the gallery door and nothing more would be said.

"But I don't know if that will happen," Mrs Mills said.

The museum has been looking after the two huia for a local family for 25 years.

Mrs Mills says the huia were shot in the nearby Pohangina Valley in 1889 for a wedding present.

The museum is disappointed the feathers have been stolen and Mrs Mills says the theft has deprived future generations the chance to see what an authentic huia looked like.

The last live huia was seen in the Tararua Ranges in 1907.

A feather, similar to the ones stolen, was sold at auction in Auckland in 2010 for $8400.

It was said at the time to be a world record price for a bird feather.

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