"Strange Hairy Creature Reported on the East Coast
Believed by some to be a gorilla"
Persistent reports from Coromandel Peninsula say that a strange hairy creature thought by some to be a gorilla lurks at the back of the Wai Aro, in the wild bush country of the Moehau Range. When Dr. Roy Norman, Waikawau and Mr. Douglas Taiwahana, North Auckland were pig hunting in the area, they said they caught a fleeting glimpse of a hairy man or possible a gorilla running along a bush track.
Mr. F. W. Wenzlick, Amadeo Bay said tonight that about 30 years ago a ship was lying off Wai Aro which had a young gorilla as mascot. The animal left the ship and got ashore. Since then there have been repeated rumors of strange occurrences in the hills. Stories deal with night intrusions into camps, dogs bristling and snarling because of a strange presence and mysterious foot-falls in the bush. A hunter, Mr. H. Beazley has found a cave with evidence of a man or beast living under primitive conditions which contained bones of animals presumably eaten raw and collections of shells.
It was possible but highly improbably that the "strange hairy being" believe to be lurking in the Moehau Ranges was a gorilla or in fact any species of the ape family, the director, R. W. Roach of the Auckland zoo said tonight.
If the strange creature did exist it was more probably a member of the baboon family. He would regard the story as more feasible if someone had discovered footmarks or nest in the tree-tops very much larger than that made by any known bird. Mr. Roach completely discounted any suggestions that the cave that had been discovered by Beazley was likely to have been the home of the creature.
All members of the monkey families lived in nests built in the tree tops although they spent most of their time on the ground, he said.
Another article (undated) but related to the Moehau creature was sent to me from Ron Schaffner.
"Tourists Tail Beast"The hunt for the elusive silver beet bandit, the Great Hair Moehau, believed lurking in the dense brush on the West Coast is taking to the air. Coast publican Les Lisle is organizing Helicopter forays in the area for excited Japanese tourists arms with cameras gunning for a glimpse of the legendary creature. Sunday News reported last week that a startled Les, while enjoying a cuppa in the kitchen of his Lake Mahinapua pub, spotted the critters dawn raid on his veggie patch. When Les yelled out, the man-ape - - believe descended from pre-Maori Melanesian settlers and described in sightings over many years as shy gentle and retreating and secretive scampered into the misty bush with an armful of Les silver beets. Busloads of tourists, mainly Japanese always stop at the Lake Mahinapua pub, just south of Hokitika, en route to southern glaciers, Fox and Franz. "I got the idea when an animated group of Japanese pointed at the Sunday News Story pinned on the notice board, Les said.
Their translator explained and they asked if they could hunt the Kiwi Godzilla (they called it) in a helicopter. The Japanese love monsters. Take Godzilla they have TV re-runs in Japan every week. So Les is discussing the project with a mate, local chopper pilot Mark Reid. We reckon that a Hughes 500 carrying four to six passengers is the answer Les continued. Fifty buck a head for a ten-minute spin is a good deal theyll love it. Ark can take along his tranquilizer rifle and when we spot the Moehau man-ape bingo! Well make a mint mate.
© The Taranaki Daily News, Tuesday, 5 February 1952
Press Assoc. Auckland, NZ
Source: Both news articles courtesy Ron Schaffner
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