The huia became extinct because its feathers were prized by both Māori and Pākehā. Huia had 12 black tail feathers tipped with white. These could be worn singly, or the entire tail might be smoke-dried and worn in the hair. It is also recorded that huia tail feathers were used in ancient times to make a special kind of war headdress, the 12-feathered marereko. Huia feathers were so treasured that specially carved boxes called waka huia were made to store them safely.