Wild man of Australasia.
Etymology: From the mountain range.
Variant names: Forest taniwah, Hairy moehau,
Matau, Moehau monster, Toangina, Tuuhourangi.
Physical description: Covered with red or silver
Distribution: Coromandel Range, Waikato
River, and Tongariro National Park, North Island,
New Zealand; Cameron Mountains, Milford
Wilderness, and Lake Wakatipu, South Island,
Significant sightings: In 1878, gold prospectors
on Martha Hill in Waihi reported large,
long-haired man-beasts carrying stone knives,
hand axes, and wooden clubs.
Large, five-toed, humanlike footprints were
found embedded in mud along a creek in 1903
by miners in the Karangahake Gorge.
In early February 1952, hunters Douglas
Tainvhana and Roy Norman got a fleeting
glimpse of a hairy man running along a track on
the Coromandel Peninsula.
In 1963, Carl McNeil saw an apelike creature
running along a track bed on the Coromandel
Trevor Silcox was hunting wild pig with a
companion in the Coromandel Range in 1972
when they spotted a 6-foot, naked man covered
with dark hair moving through the scrub. Four
tracks measuring 14 inches long and 7 inches
wide were found.
Possible explanation: A surviving remnant of
postulated pre-Maori inhabitants of New
The most common explanation for the Hairy Moehau is that it is a gorilla.
However, in 1970, County Councillor J. Reddy told Robyn Gosset that the Hairy Moehau was an exaggeration started from a joke.
Also in 1970, Bob Grey told researcher Robyn Gosset that the term “Moehau Monster” came from a name given to a Yankee steam hauler that was utilized for logging. In New Zealand Mysteries by Nicola McCloy, the author discredits both theories by citing several Moehau sightings during the early 19th century.