I was surprised and delighted to learn from Reyahn King’s article (The Press, May 16) that York has its own moa skeleton.

I remember standing next to a moa skeleton in New Zealand. At 12 feet tall, it towered above my humble six foot height. The Maori showed a nice sense of irony in calling the bird a ‘moa’, because this was originally the Polynesian word for a chicken. Some chicken!

There is no mystery about its presence in remote New Zealand. They did not get there by swimming or flying: they travelled with the land mass as part of the process of continental drift, the movement of tectonic plates across the Earth’s surface.

Moas belonged to the Order Struthioformes, the ostrich-like birds that first evolved in Gondwanaland, the ancient super-continent that once dominated the southern hemisphere. When the continent split up, the birds were carried to different places: South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Alas, the early Maori ate the bird into extinction. A poem describes this nicely - bear in mind that Aotearoa is a Maori name for New Zealand. “No moa, no moa / In old Aotearoa. / Can’t get ‘em, they’ve et ‘em. / They’ve gone, and there aint any moa.”

David Martin, Rosedale Avenue, Acomb, York