In the U.S., every state has had Bigfoot sightings, a fact known by most cryptozoologists, including Marc Coppell, who lived in the U.S. for 20 years. That’s probably one of the reasons why he’s looking instead in New Zealand for that country’s version of Bigfoot – which may actually be two different but possibly related creatures that are mentioned often in native Maori folklore but are encountered – either directly or via footprints, howls, etc. – far less frequently today. Coppell is one of those people who claims he’s found footprints, heard howls and woodtaps and been hit by stones thrown by “New Zealand’s illusive Bigfoot known as Matau, Maero, Tuuhourangi, Taongina, Rapuwai and Moehau or Moehau Man.” He’s raising money to launch an extensive hunt for any and all of them and is talking to anyone who will listen about the creature.
“After finding unusual footprints in hard to reach places and hearing heavy bi-pedal approaches etc. along with the unnerving feeling of being watched. I decided to start making casts of prints and wearing point of view cameras out to this particular area of interest. I am dead serious.”
According to his website, Coppell – who calls himself the Haunted Man – grew up in Auckland where he claims to have had many paranormal experiences, including his family “being forced in horror film like fashion out of our home in the mid 80’s due to powerful poltergeist activity.” He told stuff.co.nz that he spent 20 years in the U.S. as a paranormal investigator before moving back and working as a graphic artist and photographer. His first encounter with something that might be New Zealand’s Bigfoot occurred in 2015.
If Coppell is going to come face-to-face with New Zealand’s hairy cryptid, he may be hoping it’s the Moehau Man, not the Maero. According to Maori mythology, the Maero are forest-dwelling wild men with long, sharp fingernails or claws that they use to kill, slice, dice and eat their enemies – who coincidentally are the Maori who took their lands away from them. There are stories of their magical powers – a man cut up a Maori but the head wouldn’t die so he left it in the forest where it put itself back together again – and their crossbreeding with humans – some Maori families claim their large physical size is a result of them being descendants of such a mating.
That crossbreeding could also be how the Moehau Man came into being. These creatures, named for the Moehau mountains where they reside, are said to be more human-like with thick, full-body hair and the ability to swing stone clubs as tools. Sightings of the Moehau are more recent and some say it may just be an escaped gorilla or a joke or urban legend that got out of hand. It’s not surprising that the legends of both the Maero and the Moehau Man are similar, and Coppell may find one, both or perhaps even something else on his quest. That quest will begin when he raises the money for a documentary on the project.
Will Marc Coppell find New Zealand’s Bigfoot or the creature that made the footprints he’s seen and thrown the rocks he’s dodged? We’ll keep an eye on him … and undoubtedly so will the Moehau Man which Coppell claims is responsible for his “unnerving feeling of being watched.”