The weka is a native New Zealand bird. It s a large, brown flightless bird that has a famously feisty and curious personality. These two qualities traditionally made the bird an easy food source for Māori and early European settlers. The Europeans called them “wood hens”. By all accounts, they’re damn good eating.
They have all but disappeared from mainland NZ and are protected. They now survive mainly on islands, that also are home to other endangered birds. The problem is, weka eat the eggs and young of other ground-nesting birds.
Currently, the only place where the legal harvest of weka can occur is on the Chatham Islands and on some islands around Stewart Island. But now, they threaten the survival of other birds on the Open Bay Islands off Haast on the South Island’s West Coast. So, up to 70 weka on the islands are to be killed to save other native species. The Department of Conservation and the trustees of the Maori-owned islands have agreed that the birds will be killed and in some cases ‘culturally harvested’.
It’s OK, guys, to manage the conservation of native birds wisely. And when culling is necessary, it’s very OK to eat the birds instead of wasting them. But stop making us puke with your politically correct double-talk. “Culturally harvested” indeed!