Watch: How to catch an emu

By Kristin Edge, Alexandra Newlove -
1 comment

The method for bringing a wayward emu to heel has been revealed in video footage of the giant bird being taken into custody.

After careful analysis of the video, the "Kaiwaka Method" can be explained in five steps:

Step One: Wave an old woollen blanket like a matador's cape.
Step Two: Advance toward the emu, holding the blanket.
Step Three: Try to corner the bird, and pray it doesn't rip the legs off the poor lady in the summer dress and sandals, bravely waving her bare arms around.
Step Four: Get a firefighter, preferably from Kaiwaka, wearing heavy protective clothing, to tackle the emu.
Step Five: With your pants shredded from the emu's claws, lie on top of it and proudly declare "only Kaiwaka could do this, eh!".

When Blake Raven saw an emu wandering the streets of Mangawhai yesterday, he thought it was pretty random.

Then, as the 30-year-old watched a team of firemen corner the big bird and tackle it to the ground, he thought it was hilarious.

After a flurry of feathers the lone emu, named Mr Emu, had its legs bound and was bustled into a truck and delivered home nearly 3km away.

"They got it in the corner and threw a blanket over it then one guy tackled it," Mr Raven said. "It was pretty funny. But one of the guys did get kicked and it ripped his pants," Mr Raven said.

Members of the Mangawhai and Kaiwaka volunteer fire brigades were nearby, having put out a small grass fire, when they got the call to contain the large, flightless bird.

The emu's owner, who asked not to be named, said a tree-trimmer had scared "the bejesus" out of the bird, causing him to flee his Mangawhai Heads Rd home.

He careened through a wire fence, skinning his shins, before taking off down the road.

"He's fairly tame ... [But] you can't jump in front of them and corner them, they just take off," the owner said.

"By the time we got the calls he was quite stressed."

Mr Emu, a 7-year-old bachelor, had also fled around Christmas, when a firecracker startled him. He was retrieved from a neighbour's property.

Kaiwaka's chief fire officer John Bowmar said it was a new recruit who had made the brave dive at the bird. He was kicked in the leg and taken to a medical centre.

Late yesterday, Mr Emu was recuperating with an alpaca herd, which his owner said had a calming influence on him.

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