Cryptid Profile: Roa-Roa
The Roa-Roa is said to be a large flightless bird that inhabits the forests of New Zealand. Many people who believe the Roa-Roa to exist think that it may be a surviving Moa (large flightless birds that lived in New Zealand and were hunted to extinction in the 1500’s. The largest of these birds reached a height of 12ft and weighed almost 510lbs).
Witnesses of the Roa-Roa describe the cryptid bird as resembling a modern kiwi-bird in appearance, yet being roughly the size of a turkey at its smallest. Some sightings of the bird have described it as being around 8-9ft tall; this leads many to believe that the bird continues to grow throughout its life. The Roa-Roa is covered in feathers from its head down to the start of its knees. The color of the feathers that have been seen by witnesses range from gray, blue (like a peacock), and occasionally darkly spotted. The creatures head is described as being small and in possession of a relatively stubby beak. A long thin neck connects the head to the body. Attached to the body are two large legs that are covered in keratin scales, and attached to the legs are large, 14inch, three toed feet. Each toe possess a large claw. The Roa-Roa is described as not having any wings (or wing-like appendages) at all. This characteristic is much like that of the extinct Moa, as they are believed to be the only wingless bird to have ever existed.
Sightings of the Roa-Roa have been documented since the early 1800’s. Modern day sightings continue to take place in New Zealand.
- In 1963, a scientist witnessed a large Moa-looking bird in the North-West Nelson State Forest Park.
- In 1991, a man named Jim Stranton watched as an extremely large, dark feathered bird, walked out in front of him and crossed a trail. Stranton claimed the bird stood around 10ft tall.
- In 1993, a bird that stood around 6ft tall and looked like a Moa was photographed by Paddy Freaney (former instructor with the British Army’s elite Special Air Service). The bird was also sighted by Paddy’s two hiking partners, Sam Waby and Rochelle Rafferly. The three witnesses described the large bird as having red/brown and gray feathers, very thick legs, and gigantic feet. (see photo below)
- In 2001, Rex and Heather Gilroy came upon large, three-toed bird tracks in the Urewera Nation Park. They made plaster casts of the tracks and the largest measured at 9.5in long.
So what is the Roa-Roa? What are people seeing? All signs point to it being a surviving species of Moa, but then again, these sightings could be nothing more than the quick misidentification of other large animals moving within the forest (Red Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Chamois). Like usual, this mystery will only officially be solved when a body is found, a clear photo or video is taken, or a living creature is captured. Until that day happens, this large bird shall remain an elusive mystery.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google