Kiwi Print from Birds of NZ by Walter Buller
Kiwi Bird PrintImage size in millimetres: 300 x 210
This small print has been re-printed by Thorndon Fine Prints. The kiwi bird is a symbol of NZ and New Zealander’s often refer to themselves as “kiwis”. This print of a kiwi was published with the accompanying notes on the origins of this superb image: “Sir Walter Lawry Buller (1838 - 1906), The Kiwi Apertyx Mantelli. The national bird of New Zealand, the Kiwi is the sole survivor of an ancient order of birds including the now extinct Moa. Few New Zealanders have seen this bird in the wild because of its semi nocturnal, secretive habits. Probably for this reason it is called by Maori Te Manu huna a Tane (the hidden bird of Tane, god of the forest). Although it is a flightless bird with no tail it has the ability to out run humans. Historically the kiwi was a valuable food source for Maori and its feathers were much valued in the making of cloaks, which were created by weaving the feathers into the base of flax fibre. The numbers killed for these purposes however were insignificant and it was the arrival of the European in the nineteenth century that contributed to the reduction of the Kiwi population. At that time many thousands were captured for European zoos, museums and private collections and in the twentieth century bush clearing, introduced predators, possum traps and cars accelerated the depopulation. The naturalists on Captain Cook’s voyages noted the Kiwi feathers used in the weaving of cloaks, but the bird itself was overlooked, unsurprising because of its secretive nature. It was not until the exploration of New Zealand by the French, in the corvette Coquille in 1824, that the Kiwi was first described by Europeans. The original of this print is a handcoloured lithograph published in 1873 in a A History of the Birds of New Zealand by Sir Walter Lawry Buller. Born in New Zealand, just prior to European colonisation. Buller became a judge in the Maori Land Courts, but he was better known for his achievements in the studies of New Zealand birdlife and the publications of books on the subject. In 1873 he combined with the talents of naturalist and artist J. G. Keulemans to publish the first edition of A History of the Birds of New Zealand - thirty six handcoloured lithographs representing the birds native to New Zealand.
Prints similar to the Kiwi Print from Birds of NZ by Walter Buller feature in these collections of prints for sale online at NZ Fine Prints:
Buller’s Birds / John Keulemans