Kairuku waewaeroa is a newly identified species of penguin discovered in Kawhia Harbour on the North Island of New Zealand. The extinct species roamed the Earth some 27-35 million years ago. It has characteristics similar to that of Kairuku giant penguins but with longer legs. The name ‘waewaeroa’ is a M?ori term for “long legs”. The species is taller than other ancient penguins. Its height is around 1 meter.
The newly discovered specimen has provided detailed insights into the timeline of the evolution of modern-day penguins. The species is unique to Zealandia (ancient New Zealand). Evidence of their presence in other parts of the world has not yet been found.