Mallard quite at home in Moatown

Trevor Mallard just can't let go of his fascination with resurrecting the moa.

Yesterday Inglewood, a town long associated with the extinct flightless bird, came to the attention of the Labour MP.

He was in Taranaki yesterday to talk about sport and recreation, but was fascinated to learn Inglewood was briefly known as Moatown in the mid-1870s.

Last week Mallard caused a ruffle when he told his electorate that breakthroughs in modern science could bring back the species and they could one day roam the hills above Wainuiomata.

And, if the moa was brought back from the dead then Inglewood could be a great place for some to live, he said.

"It may well be that within careful enclosures some of the smaller moa will be there at the time of our grandchildren or great grandchildren," he said. Not the big ones though, because the farmers in Taranaki might not want the birds near their cattle, he said.

It would be a great tourism market for his district, but Taranaki could cash in on that too.

"The science of this is rapidly developing, but we are talking about a period that is 50 to 100 years away," he said. Because the moa had already become extinct once they would have to be carefully monitored.

There'd be no feasting on the birds this time round, even though they'd been an easy kill for mankind back in the day, Mallard said. And although the moa wouldn't have adapted for better survival, they would no longer have to face off with the bird above them on the food chain - the Haast's eagle.

Mallard's plan landed him some swipes from National Party members, but yesterday he was sticking to his theory. "There's no doubt that it will happen."

Mallard, Labour Party spokesman for sport and recreation, was in town to speak at a Sport Taranaki Forum.

While he could not tell the Daily News about Labour's policy as it was yet to be released, he did say resources needed to be poured into increasing participation in sport.

The numbers had been dropping since Saturday shopping became the norm, he said.

Taranaki Daily News