Maori nature ancient kea bird

Words and Music: Earth the slumbering pūriri

In the Beginning Earth Breath on me Earth the cool breath of life Earth the slumbering pūriri Earth the misty valley Earth the departed sun Earth the tingling blue sky Earth the dark sheen of a woman river Earth the mottling tides tumbling ashore Earth the sweeping godwits Earth our home Earth the giving land…

Kea - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

Maori tribes have long held beliefs and customs about the native birds of Aotearoa New Zealand. Birds or Nga Manu had a vital place in Maori tribal life as they provided food, beautiful feathers for adornment and their strengths and personalities were a rich source of metaphor and poetry. Their behaviour was use to predict…

All About Maori Kite Making

All About Māori Kite Making

There are 17 types of Maori kites. Traditionally made from strong timber framing like manuka wood they were woven with flax and the paper and bark of the mulberry plant until the plant went virtually extinct. Birdman kites have a powerful symbolism for Maori tribes. One such taonga was gifted to the British Museum in…

Bronwyn Waipuka - Rehutai and Tangimoana

The Māori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana

This painting by Bronwyn Waipuka illustrates a story by Wairarapa kaumātua (elder) Mita Carter. Rehutai and Tangimoana were beautiful twin sisters who lived on the banks of the Ruamāhanga River. They both fell in love with Rautoroa, a handsome warrior, but he could not decide which to marry. Rehutai asked Tangimoana to fetch some water from a…

Travel: Māori waka ama (racing war canoe) in Tāmaki Makaurau

Waka Ama is a sport akin to outrigger canoe racing or group rowing. It's based on traditional modes of Polynesian sea travel which relied upon celestial navigation. Since the 80s and 90s high-tech canoes of Hawaiian or Polynesian design have become hugely popular as a sport among Māori, often performed as part of cultural festivals held…

Every Picture Tells A Story: by Maori Goddess Taranga by Robyn Kahukiwa

The Māori Goddess Taranga by Robyn Kahukiwa

In Maori legend, Taranga is the mother of the god Maui and her husband is named Makeatutura. When Maui is born prematurely, Taranga wraps his body in her hair and throws him into the waves. In the ensuing years, sea-creatures care for Maui, hiding him in the sea coral and kelp until one day following a…

The Maori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef retold in street art

The Māori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art

Pania is the legendary Kaitiaki (guardian/protector) of the reef in local Maori legend and her wairua (spirit) is connected strongly to the moana (ocean) close by to the town of Napier. Legend has it that Pania was a shimmering and iridescently beautiful maiden who lives in the sea and following a human encounter and a broken…

An interesting holistic model for health according to the eight tentacles of the Octopus, Te Wheke in Maori culture

An interesting holistic model for health according to the eight tentacles of the Octopus, Te Wheke in Māori culture

The Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) which includes myself, have a very different way of defining health outcomes compared to western medicine. Te Wheke (the octopus) is often used as a symbol to define integrative and holistic health. This holistic approach to health encompasses ten elements in Maori life. Funnily enough this holistic…