The beautiful poetry of the Maori/Polynesian Star Compass - Atea a Rangi

Atea a Rangi: Star Maps of the Maori and Pacific Peoples

In the past, I've written about Maori sea navigation by the stars and the legend of Matariki. Although nothing prepared me for the utterly beautiful Maori star compass which has been carved and placed on a remote and wild beach in the Hawkes Bay, between Hastings and Napier. The Star Compass - Atea a Rangi…

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 Maori 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…

Tui - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

The ultimate guide to collective nouns for New Zealand birds

This post is for all of the New Zealand and global bird-lovers out there. New Zealand has some wonderful and incredibly intelligent birds that also tend to have rambuctious, mischievous and cheeky personalities. Check out this video of a kea being, well... a kea if you don't believe me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxoCuRuHlt8 Here are some little known…

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand

A few years ago we went to Central Otago on a trip. It really was a magical time away, At that stage we both had highly stressful jobs and we were really needing to get away from everything. Probably one of the best places in the world to blow the cobwebs out of your world…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Seal of Mahia Beach

Travel: Baby seal on Mahia Beach, New Zealand 

While visiting family on the east coast of New Zealand we came upon a little baby seal or what the Scottish would call a selkie (a water spirit) lurking precariously close to the road. She was laying in a clump of harakeke flax and staring up at us with wide, black shiny eyes. I was…

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Overlooking the majestic and pure beauty of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, the peace and serenity of the place lends itself well to comtemplating life plans, love, the meaning of it all. The dramatic cathedral of the big sky and jutting snow-capped mountains is ever-changing and there's a reverent silence here like inside of a medieval…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Extinct volcanos in Auckland

Every Picture Tells a Story: Extinct volcanos in Auckland

There are approximately 53 volcanoes in Auckland, which have over thousands of years produced an array of interesting lagoons, tuft rings and lava flows in Auckland city. The biggest, most active and most visible volcano – Rangitoto sits on an island of the same name in Auckland harbour. This has erupted repeatedly over the past…

Bronwyn Waipuka - Rehutai and Tangimoana

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Maori 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…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Extinct volcanos in Auckland

A Brief History of Auckland’s 53 Volatile Volcanoes

There are approximately 53 volcanoes in Auckland, which have over thousands of years produced an array of interesting lagoons, tuft rings and lava flows in Auckland city. The biggest, most active and most visible volcano - Rangitoto sits on an island of the same name in Auckland harbour. This has erupted repeatedly over the past…

Travel: Maori waka ama (racing war canoe) on Auckland Harbour

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…

An excellent MTB adventure in Huka Falls, Taupo

An excellent MTB adventure in Huka Falls, Taupo

This 17 km track located close by to the town of Taupo is a scenic loop crossing Huka Falls initially then continuing north along the Waikato river. There are some great panoramic lookout points along the way which feature the powerful Waikato river, bright green belts of forest and tracts of farmland. From atop high…

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

Every Picture Tells A Story: by Maori 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…

Tane Mahuta's Triumph

Every Picture Tells A Story: Tane Mahuta’s Triumph by Jane Crisp

In the beginning there was no sky, no sea no earth and no Gods. There was only darkness, only Te Kore, the Nothingness. From this nothingness, the primal parents of the Maori came, Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, and Ranginui, the Sky father. Papatuanuku and Ranginui came together,embracing in the darkness, and had 70 male children. These…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako https://wp.me/p41CQf-JXQ

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako

The earth's crust is made up of a patchwork of interlocking slabs (techtonic plates) which move independently like enormous ice flows. Today New Zealand straddles the boundary between the Indian, Australian and Pacific plates. Tremendous natural energy is released which results in many spectacular geologicial occurrences including mountain building, earthquakes and volcanic activity. Over the…

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

The Maori 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…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Taupo and Rotorua Part Two

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Waiotapu

Waiotapu means sacred waters in Maori. It's an active geothermal area at the southern end of New Zealand's Taupo Volcanic Zone just outside of Rotorua. It's a place of surreal colour, beauty and otherworldly wonder. It's no exaggeration that you haven't seen anything like this before. The alchemy of mineral deposits mixing over thousands and sometimes millions of…

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 Maori 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…