Water monsters, mystical reptiles, creatures that inhabited the land: Tony Healy has spent a great part of his life exploring these “out-of-place” animals…
New Zealand’s taniwha aroused his interest a few years ago, and Healy has collected many files on the beast’s reported sightings.
He discovered an article from the Evening Post in 1886 about a so-called monstrous saurian reptile, allegedly spotted in a brook near Hamilton.
In one article was written “The Herald considers that it is an alligator. Two tourists noticed a water monster with a head mostly like an alligator, in the Waikato River … a native girl was detected dead in a flow in those surroundings with the flesh teared off from one arm.”
On his most recent journey to New Zealand, Tony Healy visited key places where taniwha are reported to have been seen. He didn’t see any himself, but got a lot out of the experience nonetheless.
“I think that the Maori don’t believe these things are flesh and blood beasts, but some kind of custodian spirits. That’s why it is always interesting that non-Maori claim sightings of these creatures,” said Healy.
“After spending a lot of time on this kind of research, I am becoming more and more superstitious and I am starting to believe in nature spirits, I am sure these places have many secrets.”
In Professor Pou Temara’s research was written:
“They not only represent magic force, they are unique kaitiakitanga in their own equally different ways. They have their own names, given by our people according to their character and disposition. They had their own territories and borders they guarded”.
The report said. “The water bodies were highly valued for spiritual and cultural causes, so the significance of these can not be overvalued.”
Tony Healy became interested in them after meeting an animal that was in the wrong place. He writes books about his explorations and his main interest lies in reports of unknown out-of place creatures.
“When I was very young, I saw something that looked like an American mountain lion in North Queensland. Later I found out that I wasn’t the only one who has seen it” said Healy.
Tony Healy spent 40 years of his life visiting places where mythical creatures have been seen. He has even searched for the Himalayan yeti and the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland.
This year Tony is interested in the black panther, reportedly spotted in Canterbury.