New evidence has come to light in the case of the Brighton
weka but, although some of the pieces are coming together,
the mystery of how the weka reached the area is no closer to
Since the story of the weka, which was killed after it was
hit by a Brighton resident's car on Sunday, appeared in the
Otago Daily Times on Wednesday, the Department of
Conservation (Doc) has been contacted by five people who
reported seeing wekas, including one sighting in Dunedin's
Woodhaugh Gardens which turned out to be a dead hen pheasant.
Doc biodiversity assets programme manager David Agnew said
perhaps the most interesting sighting came from Don Frengley,
who reported seeing a group of adults and at least one chick
while surveying on a piece of land near Waihola about 10
Three people had also come forward saying they had seen a
weka in the Brighton area in the days leading up to the weka
being struck by the car, Mr Agnew said.
Weka experts had also come forward and identified the bird as
a young male brown morph western weka, which lived in the
South Island, he said.
In an effort to get more information on the bird, it has been
sent to Massey University's Wellington campus, where it will
be DNA tested.
Massey University Associate Prof Steve Trewick said the tests
could help determine where in New Zealand the bird came from.
Mr Frengley, who was working as a contractor for a forestry
contractor when he believed he saw a group of weka about 10
years ago, told the Otago Daily Times he was
"absolutely sure" about his sighting, which he made while on
a reasonably isolated piece of land south of Waihola.
"I am familiar with them and familiar with their call and
they were in the bush calling and a number of them came out
in a paddock area," he said.
He remembered seeing at least two adults and one or two
"The fact that somebody found one in the Brighton area
indicates to me that it is likely there are more through that
area," he said.
Mr Frengley did not think to contact Doc about the sighting
at the time because he "didn't realise that weka were in
short supply in the Otago coast area".
Mr Agnew said, despite all the new information, Doc was
"probably" no closer to finding out how the weka got to
"We may never know," he said.