The first name you were given by us was Mātuhituhi. Did you know that? In those days, we coexisted quite happily.
Later, we called you Bush Wren.
We wanted to classify you, so we decided that you belonged in the genus of New Zealand wrens, Xenicus.
We gave you another name, Xenicus Longipes, ‘the long-footed one’.
We discovered you. We named you. We categorised you.
You used to live in the forest; you didn’t really fly very well, but that didn’t matter. You were safe in the forest and could move around easily with your long feet. You were so little: only 9cm long and weighing just 16g.
You built your nests on the ground, which used to be perfectly safe; that was how you’d always done it.
You lived in what is now New Zealand, perhaps for hundreds, thousands of years before we came to your home.
Then we brought predators, deliberately and accidentally, who gradually took over. It wasn’t that long before there were only a few of you left, and then just one. And then no more.
It didn’t take very long for us to destroy you, without really noticing. Less than 100 years before you were all gone. No more births and no more deaths.
We killed you. We tried to save you. We failed you.
We tried to stop it, but it was too late. We tried to find a way to keep you alive, but it didn’t work. We lost you.
You were unique and you were sacred. We are diminished by your loss.
We had no right to do this to you. You did not deserve this.
I am sorry.
I remember you. Even though you and I were never on this Earth at the same time. You are significant to me and I will not forget your names. I will not forget what you look like.
I will not forget you.
“Population Information: None remain.” https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22698580/93690852