Maeroero

Wildman of New Zealand.

Etymology: Maori (Austronesian) word for a "wild man" or a "lost tribe."

Variant names: Macro (an occasional mis

306 madagascan hawk moth (giant)

spelling), Maero (North Island), Mairoero, Ngatimamaero (South Island), Ngatimamo.

Physical description: Smaller t han a man. Cover ed with long, coarse hair. Bald forehead. Long, bony fingernails.

Behavior: Solitary. Climbs trees. Eats birds. Said t o kidnap humans and st ab t hem wit h it s finger s.

Habitat: Mount ains.

Distribution: Tararua Range, North Island, New Zealand; Fiordland National Park and the Tautuku Forest, South Island, New Zealand.

Significant sightings: Naked, humanlike tracks were found in 1974 near Dusky Sound and in 1993 near Lake Manapouri in the Fiordland National Park, South Island. Possible explanations:

(1) The arboreal Silver-gray brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) was introduced to New Zealand in 1858, but the Maeroero tradition had been established by 1844. This possum is only 22 inches long at most, with a 15-inch tail.

(2) Surviving r emnant s of moa-hunt ing pr e-Maori Polynesian or Melanesian aboriginals. Sources: J. E. Gray, "Habits of the 'Kakapo'

and 'Macro' of New Zealand," Annals and Magazine ofNatural History 18 (1846): 427; Fer dinand von Hochst et t er, New Zealand: Its Physical Geography, Geology and Natural History (Stuttgart, Germany: J. G. Cotta, 1867), p. 211; Alexander W. Reed, Treasury of Maori Folklore (Wellington, New Zealand: A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1963); Karl Shuker, "Death Birds and Dragonets: In Search of Forgotten Monsters," Fate 46 (November 1993): 66-74; Herries Beat tie, TraditionalLifeways of the Southern Maori: The Otago University Museum Ethnological Project, 1920, ed. Atholl Anderson (Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press, 1994), p. 214; H. W. Orsman, ed., The Dictionary ofNew Zealand English (Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 458-459; Craig Heinselman, "Hairy Maeroero," Crypto 4, no. 1 (January 2001): 23-26.

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