Geoffrey Orbell

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Geoffrey Orbell
Born (1908-10-07)7 October 1908
Pukeuri, New Zealand
Died 15 August 2007(2007-08-15) (aged 98)
Dunedin, New Zealand
Occupation Doctor

Geoffrey Buckland Orbell MBE (7 October 1908 – 15 August 2007) was a New Zealand doctor and keen tramper/bush walker best known for the rediscovery of the takahē in 1948. The takahē was widely thought to be extinct but Orbell suspected it might survive. While taking time off from his Invercargill practice to search for the takahē, he discovered a set of unfamiliar footprints. After following the footprints with three companions he rediscovered the species on 20 November 1948 in a remote valley of the Murchison Mountains near Lake Te Anau. A lake in the valley was named Lake Orbell in his honour.

Orbell was one of the founders of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and was its first president, holding the position from 1938 to 1952. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for scientific work in the 1953 Coronation Honours.[1] He retired from medicine at the age of 70 and in later years lived in Mosgiel,[2] near Dunedin, New Zealand.


  1. ^ "No. 39866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 May 1953. pp. 3003–3006. 
  2. ^ "Cemetery record". Retrieved 10 April 2011. 


  • Takahe Fact Sheet, Kiwi Conservation Club
  • Associated Press (2007-08-15). "New Zealand doctor who rediscovered rare flightless bird dies aged 98". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 

External links

  • New Zealand Herald: Takahe man dies at 98
  • Rediscoverer of the takahe dies at 98
  • The China Post: New Zealand doctor who rediscovered rare bird dies
  • Obituary, The Independent, 20 August 2007
  • Obituary, The Times, 29 September 2007
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