Canterbury was home to one of the oldest flying seabirds, as discovered by fossil hunters from Canterbury Museum.
Dr Paul Scofield, from the Canterbury Museum, and Dr Gerald Mayr, from the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, published their findings this week in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Bones of the previously unknown species were found in 2009 in Waipara by Leigh Love, an amateur fossil collector from the region.
He heads out most weekends to look for fossils, and anything he cannot identify he turns over to museum staff.
Though Scofield had the fossil early on, it sat unexamined for several years while work was disrupted by earthquakes.
Once he had a chance to come back to it, Scofield said it was obvious the fossil was something extraordinary.