Saturday, December 5, 2009

Scenic Sunday: Weta


Weta have been around long enough to see dinosaurs come and go and to evolve into more than 70 different species, all of them endemic to New Zealand.

Talk to New Zealanders, and you will get terrified reaction about this grass hopper/cricket lookalike Weta. The Māori for the Giant Weta is 'wētā punga' (lumpy or jointed weta), in English as 'god of ugly things'

There are many similar species around the world, most are in the southern hemisphere. The name comes from the Māori word 'wētā' Many weta are large by insect standards and some species are among the largest and heaviest in the world.Weta can bite with powerful mandibles. Tree weta bites are painful but not particularly common. Weta can inflict painful scratches, with the potential of infection.

Programmes to prevent extinctions have been implemented since the 1970s.

I traveled through Te Kuiti many times and saw sculptures of the weta. This sculpture of the giant Weta is located beside Rora Street in the Te Kuiti shopping area. I saw this model of the weta at the Information centre of Waitomo and live ones inside the caves. To me, it is not terrifying, but then, I am quite a brave woman. LOL. The cave was too dark for me to take photos of them.

To those of you outside New Zealand, you are probably more familiar with the Weta Workshop. With names like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy; his 2005 remake of King Kong features creatures bearing a strong physical resemblance to weta, called Weta-Rexes.

Weta Workshop http://www.wetanz.com/weta-workshop-services/is a multi-award winning conceptual design and physical manufacturing facility servicing the world's entertainment and creative industries.

Weta Workshop houses a range of disciplines under one roof - including conceptual design, weapons, armour & chainmaille, specialist props, vehicles, specialty costumes, models & miniatures, special makeup & prosthetics, public art & displays.

Weta Workshop is a 65,000 square foot facility in the suburb of Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand, five minutes drive from the airport and fifteen minutes from central Wellington (the capital of New Zealand).

The facility is the biggest in the world of its kind. Housed under one roof is the equipment, infrastructure and capacity to create anything from fine jewelry, costuming or creature suits through to large-scale tank and vehicle construction.


Glennis said...

One of our more unusual natives, not one of the prettiest either. Giant Weta are a bit scarey but are not really harmful.

Joe Todd said...

Very informative post appreciate the link also

Unknown said...

I've never seen a weta before. Thanks for all the information about them. I don't think I'm as brave as you are. :)