Thursday, December 16, 2010

A feathered detainee

From the Auckland Star 1 October 1931.

It falls to the lot of the Auckland police to perform some queer tasks and make some strange arrests. Sometimes it is difficult to know just precisely what charge to lay at the door of a visitor. Last night the Newmarket police were in such a quandry. They were forced to "detain" a kiwi.

The family of Mr W H Tongue, of 11 Remuera Road, had just finished dinner when they heard a noise coming from the outbuildings at the rear of the house. "Burglars!" was the common thought, and the son rushed out to the back and Mr Tongue to the front garden to prevent escape that way. Their dog barked excitedly and the rest of the family thought its bark must confirm their suspicions. Mr Tongue, jun., searched all around the back, but could find nothing, and then finally traced some scufflings to the garage, led there by the dog.

There he beheld a frightened kiwi, peering with its head on one side from where it had crouched in one corner. The dog showed an immense personal pride in its find. By that time all the family were on the scene, and it fell to the portion of the head of the house to make the capture. His prey offered small resistence.

The problem was what to do with the bird. Mr Tongue had no idea whither it had come. The Newmarket police station is almost opposite, and he took it there.

Though used to all sorts of callers, the police were puzzled. Apparently the bird had an unblemished career,. and it seemed quite at home. No charge was entered against it for, as Sergeant Finch observed, there is no charge that can be laid against kiwis which evince a tendency to wander. Its "lock-up" for the night was a warm box in the house.

Mr Finch said that there used to be kiwis down in the gully near where the Newmarket station is now, and there were still several wooded spots where the birds yet might linger. It was, however, a most unusual place to find one

The kiwi has been released "on probation" in the Zoo.


  1. Poor wee Kiwi great story too and a mention of Funeral Director W.H. Tongue of course now a well established firm of many decades since.
    Interesting too. I'll add a small note onto my list of Auckland Zoo's aquisitions