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Who Killed the Huia?

Episode:96Te Papa Collection:Natural Environment

Suggested curriculum levels:2 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Science: Nature of Science Living World

Description:Sadly you'll never get to see a live huia – they mysteriously died out a hundred years ago. But how? Riria Hotere discovers why bird fanatic Walter Buller was a prime suspect.

Questions for students

  1. This Tale is like a murder mystery. What does it investigate? Who are the 'police' in the story? What specific question did they investigate first? What was their first conclusion?
  2. What other questions did they investigate? What were the results? What did they conclude about who killed the huia? Do you agree with their conclusion? Why is this still controversial?
  3. What is your opinion of Walter Buller as a scientist? Use the 'Key questions' response template to pose and investigate questions you have about him and his work. Record possible sources of information and make notes that will help answer your questions.
  4. Describe the main features of a scientific investigation. Give an example of an investigation you have done or would like to do. What question did you want to answer? How did you go about the investigation? Was there just one explanation, or several?
  5. What factors are now known to contribute to the extinction of bird species in New Zealand? Describe one project to protect an endangered species. How does the project make use of knowledge of the bird's ecology?

Related templates:

Key questions