A highly competitive sale has lead to a huia feather to sell for just over $46,000.

A spokesperson for Webb’s Auction House said the sale reportedly makes it the most expensive feather in the world, beating second place by 450%.

Prior to the auction, it was reportedly expected to sell for between $2000 and $3000. It eventually sold for $46,521.50.

The huia was a member of the wattle-bird family, which had its last credible reported sighting in 1907.

According to Webb’s the huia bird was important to Māori and were often worn as headpieces by chiefs and their families, as well as gifted and traded.

“The plumage is distinct and has a beautiful white tip across the edge, which made it highly coveted for decoration in wearable garments such as hats.”

Webb’s Auction House head of decorative arts Leah Morris said they are “very pleased” the rare item of natural history has received “such a huge bidder interest”, highlighting the fragility of our ecosystem and the importance of looking after its fauna.

Potential buyers were required to provide a permit from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage before they were allowed to purchase.

A spokesperson for Webb’s Auction House said a Victorian, taxidermied pair of huia once sold or $457,704 at a United Kingdom auction in 2023.

The previous feather record of $8,400 was achieved by the same bird species at a Webb’s auction in 2010.

The new record breaking feather was sold to a private collector at Webb’s material culture live auction, which reportedly saw “exceptional prices” reached objects such as a large hei tiki which sold for $10,157.50; a prestigious and chiefly taiaha which sold for $9,560; and a Pā Kahawai fishing hook which sold for $1,553.50.