The Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei, known in Mäori as the pouakäi) was the world’s largest eagle, with an impressive 2-3 metre wingspan and weighing up to 17.8 kilograms. This imposing predator’s main source of prey was the moa, which it was more than equipped to hunt. It is thought that the Haast’s eagle would perch in the forest waiting for suitable prey to wander into its midst before swooping down with incredible force. It would camp out by its kill until it had devoured it entirely, which in the case of the moa (which could weigh up to 250 kilograms) could easily have
Unfortunately the reliance on food sources such as the moa could have directly caused the Haast’s eagle’s extinction. After early human settlement resulted in the extinction of the moa, New Zealand goose, New Zealand swan and large rails, numbers of the Haast’s eagle diminished when it was unable to adapt, and it became extinct around 500 to 600 years ago.
This 1oz silver proof coin has been designed by renowned Mäori artist Dave Burke and features a visually impactful design. The coin depicts a close-up of the Haast’s eagle in the background, with the impressive bird swooping down to catch its prey in the foreground. The rim of the coin features both the Mäori and English name of this extinct species.
This legal tender coin is the only $5 silver proof commemorative coin to be issued annually. The coin comes with an individually numbered certificate that contains further detail about the Haast’s eagle. With a low worldwide mintage of just 1,500 coins, this beautiful coin would make a perfect addition to any New Zealand coin collection.