South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA)
Date: September 10, 1898
Page Number: 8
A bushman states that fifty miles from Gisbourne a strange animal ran to an immense rata-tree and disappeared in a hole. Other bushmen traced the tracks of the animal to the tree. The footprints were as large as a man's hand, and circling the tree was a track worn by the claws of the animal, which is described as being like a large lizard with four legs. The corresponds with the description handed down to the natives by their forefathers of a reptile called kumi, which has not been seen for several generations. It was sometimes 12 ft. long, with a head like a bulldog and with curved teeth. A party has been organized to capture the animal.
Strange Animals
The Broadford Courier and Reedy Creek Times (Broadford, Vic.)
Date: September 16, 1898
Page Number: 4
We hear from Auckland that the fabulous "kumi" of prehistoric New Zealand has materialized at Gisborne, Poverty Bay. He was seen by a bushman to run up an immense rata tree and disappear into a hole. The Austral Cycle Agency who are nothing if not enterprising, have offered 50 for the animal under the following conditions: (That he shall ride a Swift)? No, let us be serious a moment, the conditions are these:--

(1). That the huge lizard be delivered alive at their Wellington Depot.

(2). That it measure 10 feet from tip to tip.

A party has been organised to secure the "kumi" and "boodle" as well.
Boodle: a large sum of money.

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA)
Date: September 19, 1898
Page Number: 5
A party visited a tree near Gisborne in which the strange animal supposed to be the kumi was reported to be located. They found that the animal had disappeared. It is thought it had been frightened away into the bush. In the vicinity was unmistakable evidence that some strange animal had been hunting. Near the place leading to the tree was a rut apparently made by an animal dragging a heavy trail along the ground. The party are now camping in the vicinity trying to discover the animal.
kumi001009.jpg kumi001008.jpg
"Near the place leading to the tree was a rut apparently made by an animal dragging a heavy trail along the ground"
Note that legged reptiles like the komodo dragon (left) and crocodile (below) do not drag their heavy tails or bodies along the ground when they walk.
A Strange Reptile.

Launceston Examiner (Tas.)
Date: September 24, 1898
Page Number: 9
A story comes from Poverty Bay of a strange reptile having been seen there. A bush-feller on Lysmore station was startled by surprising a strange animal, which ran into hole in a large rata tree. Calling some of his companion's they traced the track of the animal to the tree. The footprints were larger than a man's hand, and round the tree was a track made by the claws of the animal. There were apparently traces on the holllow trunk of the tree where the animal ascended. The man who saw the animal or reptile said it was like a large lizard, with four legs. Maoris, on hearing of the descrliption (writes the Dunedin correspondent of the "Argus"), stated that it must be what their forefathers called a kumi, none of which have been seen for three generations. According to tradition the kumi grew to be 12ft. in length, and lived in the hollow of a large tree or among boulders. They possessed huge jaws and curved teeth, and ascended trees by travelling in a spiral fashion. The kumi used to be found in company with the moa, and was called in olden times the protector of that bird. If tradition is to be relied on, the district where the find was made was a favourite haunt of the kumi. Search parties are out endeavouring to secure the specimen.
Oakleigh Leader (North Brighton, Vic.)
Date: October 1, 1898
Page Number: 2
News is to hand that the Gisborne party who went forth to secure the "Kumi," or the Bulldog Lizard of New Zealand, have not yet been successful. They found the tree up which the lizard was seen to vanish, but on polite inquiry they found the prehistoric tenant was from home, though there were abundant traces of his presence in the vicinity. They are now looking for him, and if they find him it seems probable that the lizard is in for a bad quarter of an hour.