The long-extinct New Zealand Moa is about to make something of a spectacular digital return in Bungie’s much-anticipated game Halo: Reach.

During a singleplayer preview session held at Microsoft’s offices in Auckland this morning, Halo: Reach’s executive producer Jospeh Tung introduced us to one of the alien planet’s local fauna, a large emu-like bird.

Tung's intent was to display that the planet of Reach is as much a fully-realised character as any of the human protagonists, replete with its own "unique" ecology.

“This is the Moa,” said Tung, unaware of the significance of that name to New Zealanders, before unloading a full clip of his machine gun into the flightless bird’s flank. Minutes later, he was swerving his vehicle to collect more of the defenseless creatures' feathers in his warthog's grill.

The New Zealand Moa was hunted to extinction by 1500 AD. If Tung's preview session is anything to go by, they may not last much longer on Reach, either. Forgive them, New Zealand, they know not what they do.

Stay tuned for our preview of Halo: Reach.