Tohua or Mohua?

Who cares the Herald sure doesn’t…


The real name of the bird is mohua. If only the NZ Herald had learned to use Google or Wikipedia.

The Yellowhead or Mohua (Mohoua ochrocephala) is a small insectivorous, passerine bird endemic to the South Island of New Zealand. Recent classification places this species and its close relative, the Whitehead, in the family Mohouidae.

The Yellowhead and the Whitehead have sympatric distributions as, conversely, the latter is found only on the North Island and several small islands surrounding it. Although abundant in the 19th century, particularly in beech forests from Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds to Southland and Stewart Island/Rakiura, they declined dramatically in the early 20th century due to the introduction of black rats and mustelids. Today they have vanished from nearly 75% of their former range. A quarter of the mohua population now lives in the beech forests of the Catlins area.



THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Salacious T Crumb

    Easy. Lets just refer to them by their English names. Just like the North Island and South Island should remain.

    • They are remaining. In fact they’ve just been made official. As well as the maori names so you can use either.

      • Salacious T Crumb

        That’s the same line they used with Mt Egmont, TP.

        • I still call it Egmont. others I know that live down there still call it Egmont.

          Nobody will use the maori names for north and south islands.

  • Dick Brown

    Geez, get it right Herald.

    Bloody amateur hour

  • Daniel

    Are there staffing issues at the Herald? Why are they letting so many basic, easily identifiable, errors and mistakes through to their final product?

  • Bunswalla

    They also referred to a plane this morning as a “oeing 777-300”

  • wanarunna

    Stuff is just as bad. The other day they ran the headline “Pair dies in snow cave”

    • I suspect that is grammatically correct – although not as common usage would have it.

      • wanarunna

        I don’t think it is. A pair would be considered singular if it is referring to a single entity, such as a pair of glasses. It would be plural if referring to a number of individuals. Would you say “I met a pair of students on the bus this morning, it was its first time on public transport”, or “… their first time on public transport.”

        • Bunswalla


      • slade52

        Yes that is grammatically correct. There is only one pair, so you use the singular: “dies”.

        • wanarunna

          A pair can’t die, it is not a living thing

          • slade52

            I see what you’re getting at, although the jury’s still out on that one here. A better headline would have been “Climbers die in snow cave”. It avoids ambiguity.

          • wanarunna

            Agreed that would have been a better headline. My response to that headline would have been “Did they? – that is sad”. As it stands I have to respond “Did it? – that is sad”.

          • OT Richter

            I think Len’s pair died recently.

      • Bunswalla

        Wanarunna is correct. “Pair” can be both singular and plural, depending on what it refers to. If it’s a “set” then it’s singular e.g. a pair of glasses, a pair of trousers. “I washed three pairs of Len’s pants – two of them came out still stained but one pair is fine.”

        In this case the headline refers to two people as a pair, even though they’re not a single item. The correct headline would have been “Pair die in ice trench” (since it wasn’t a snow cave at all – that would likely have saved their lives). However the point here is that when referring to two people as a pair, it’s a plural term, not singular.

    • AnonWgtn

      Sadly they were not in a snow cave but a snow hollow so were sadly highly exposed – but why spoil a story with the truth.

  • richard.b

    Listen, the Herald are aware of the world wide shortage of letters and have started conserving them.
    “The Mohua” will now be know an the “Tohua”
    Tomorrows editorial with have every second letter removed to furthur save the poor starving letters.
    In fact, it should make more sense that way.
    The Herald, conserving letters for 100 years…..

  • cows4me

    According to Metiria these birds will be under threat if the monorail line goes in down south. I fucking wish Metiria would hang out around railway lines.

  • Rodger T

    All those Mayori words look the same :