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  • In 1880, Alice McKenzie saw a large blue bird in a remote part of Fiordland. Alice and her family made careful observations of the bird and used this evidence to infer that she had seen a takahē – perhaps the last person on Earth to do so.

    Rights: © Crown 2013

    Connected article: What Alice saw

    An article in the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I spy’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    Illustration by Adele Jackson.

    This Connected article uses a combination of diary entries, maps and photos to tell the story of Alice’s experience. Several decades later, takahē were rediscovered and Alice realised that she had seen a much different bird. Based on her descriptions and measurements of the bird she encountered, experts think Alice may have been the last person to see a little bush moa!

    Teacher support material

    The teacher support material (TSM) for this article lists the key science and nature of science (NoS) ideas featured in the article. The notes provide explicit NoS links to sections of text.

    The five learning activities in the TSM explore observation, classification, thinking like a scientist and using measurement and scale to determine the size of an unknown bird. The activities support the science capability ‘Gather and interpret data’.

    Check your school resource area for the article from the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I spy’, download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Rights: © Crown 2013

    2013 Connected level 2: I spy

    The cover of the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I spy’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles ‘What Alice saw’, ‘The takeaway table’ and ‘Look out for monarchs’.

    Micrograph of yellow mite by Eric Erbe; digital colourisation by Chris Pooley.

    The TSM (Word and PDF files) and reusable content (text and images) can be downloaded from Tāhūrangi. Look for the icons below the article abstract.

    Related content

    Alice thought she had seen a takahē, the bird species once thought extinct. Read about the takahē’s rediscovery in the article Takahē conservation efforts.

    Comparisons between the North Island takahē, South Island takahē and pūkeko are in the article The takahē’s evolutionary history. This information will be useful for TSM activity 2: Comparing and contrasting data.

    The article Takahē – an introduction has links to other takahē resources.

    This Connected article is a great example of the integration of science and literacy. Read the Hub article Literacy through science to discover ways to create cross-curricular learning opportunities.

    Observation is a key skill as explained in the article Observation and science. Scroll to the end of the article for a list of activities that will help students develop their observational skills.

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    Useful links

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 22 March 2019 Referencing Hub articles
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