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Forest Lore of the Maori

The Maori as a Fowler

page 112

The Maori as a Fowler

The generic term for birds in the Maori tongue is manu. It is true that Williams gives aotea and kauwhanga as equivalents, but, inasmuch as a man can live a long life among natives without hearing either term used, why then, we will keep to our manu.

With regard to the question of the origin of birds, the mythical origin thereof, which is the only aspect of origins that has interested the Maori in the past, I must refer readers back to No. 11 of this series, where, under the heading of Origin Myths, he will ascertain how birds entered the world. Speaking generally, and in unison with popular belief, birds may be viewed as the offspring of Tane, but we find, on enquiry, that other mythical beings are closely connected with birds, of whom the most prominent are Punaweko, who represents land-birds, and Hurumanu, representing sea-birds. Likewise certain species possess, in their own right, originating or tutelary beings, parents, or personified forms, all of which is explained in the above-mentioned work. Barbaric myths always contain an element of confusion, hence we are not surprised to learn that certain birds originally pertained to the heavens, and were brought down to earth by Tane, he who represents the sun, fertility, forests, birds, and knowledge, while the owl and bat were brought hither from the underworld.

It were well to note what early European voyagers saw, and what they thought, of our Maoriland birds, also what they heard. In Anderson's account of Cook's third voyage he speaks of having seen the kaka, kakariki, pigeon, the two cuckoos, the tui, robin, fantail, kingfisher, and a few other species of land-birds, including what was apparently the bell-bird—'a small greenish bird, which is almost the only musical one here, but is sufficient by itself to fill the woods with a melody that is not only sweet, but so varied that one would imagine he was surrounded by a hundred different sorts of birds, when the little warbler is near.'

When lying at Queen Charlotte Sound in January, 1770, Cook made acquaintance with bird song as it then was in these isles; he wrote: "In the morning we were awakened by the singing of the birds: the number was incredible, and they seemed to strain their throats in emulation of each other. This wild melody was infinitely superior to any that we had ever heard of the same kind; it seemed to be like small bells, most exquisitely tuned, and perhaps the distance, page 113and the water between, might be of no small advantage to the sound." Further on in his narrative Cook mentions the duck, shag, hawk, owl and quail, and adds, 'several small birds.' Banks writes in the same strain, and evidently from the same original notes, he concluded that the bird-song of the Sound was "perhaps the most melodious wild music I have ever heard, almost imitating small bells, but with the most tunable silver sound imaginable."

In Edgar's account of Cook's third voyage the bird concert in the Sound is described as follows: "We were quite delighted in the Mornings with the sweet Harmony of the Birds, which surpass'd anything of the kind I had ever met with for a pleasing Variety of Notes." In L'Horne's Journal, 1769, we are told that the birds of New Zealand are very tarne. The brilliant author of Rovings in the Pacific, who was in New Zealand in 1840, teils us in piain language that there are 'one or two varieties of birds' here. It is well to be observant. Crozet is another who noted the tameness of birds here, which birds allowed persons to approach them closely, until frightened by the Frenchmen's firearms, though even then natives could still approach them. A settler writing home from Wellington, or rather 'Britannia,' as he headed his letter, in April, 1840, told the old folks in England that: "It is delightful to hear the sweet notes of the numerous birds here." In the Auckland Chronicle of… 1843 appeared a tourist's opinion of Taranaki, in which he describes bush-scenery, and adds: "Then came up, ever and anon, the piping, gushing and thrilling of birds, just as we heard them in the woods near the Porirua road."

Yate, a missionary of the 'thirties of last Century, also appreciated our forest songsters, but notes that the marvellous morning concert ofthose days, the māra o Tane of the Maori, was not of long duration, commencing at the first sign of dawn but gradually ceasing as the sun rose and silenced one after another of the songsters. In 1839 Wakefield, in Queen Charlotte Sound, listened at dawn to the chorus heard by Cook at the same place 69 years before, and wrote: "How well Cook has described the harmony of the birds at this very spot. Every bough seemed to throng with feathered musicians, and the melodious chimes of the bell-birds were especially distinct." Shortland, down south in the 'forties, "was deafened by the sound of the bell-birds. The woods which were close by seemed to be thronged with them." He also refers to Cook's remarks, and states that the bird concert lasted from dawn until sunrise, while another was given in the evening from sunset until dark. Dieffenbach, of the same decade, wrote: "The birds that enliven the rocky shores of New Zealand and the primitive forests on its hills surprise the traveller page 114most agreeably by their beautiful and various melody. The voices of many winged choristers always fill the air. Sounds pure and full, like those of a glass harmonica, are heard from morning to night, but especially at break of day. But little disturbed, the birds are so tarne that the hand is deterred from killing where so much confidence appears." Now most old bushmen have noted that but few bird calls are heard in the heart of a New Zealand forest during the day, birds are much more in evidence about Clearings and the skirts of a forest.

Nicholas, who sojourned a space in New Zealand in 1814-15, was enraptured "by the swelling notes of the woodland choristers, and never either before or since did I hear such delightful harmony." This was at Waimate, in January, where "the forest seemed to ring with the mellow warblings of nature." He describes 'the organ bird' as surpassing all others "as well by the compass and variety of its notes as by their incomparable sweetness." He goes on to say that, in his opinion, the notes of the nightingale are inferior to those of the bell-bird. This 'organ bird' might be the bell-bird, but further on in his narrative he says of the poe (tui) "that no successful rival can be found for it among the woodland songsters of Europe."

J. S. Polack, a trader of the 'thirties, also eulogises the bird-concerts, and remarks on their "vocal sweetness, tone, and ability"—and concludes that: "The wild melody of the birds in a New Zealand forest is superior to any strains of the kind I have ever heard." Dr. Thomson is correct when he describes the silence that reigns in the interior of a New Zealand forest, broken only by the occasional sound of a falling branch, or the cry of the kaka parrot, "as birds which enliven the outskirts of forests are mute in their interior." But most of our birds prefer to remain near the outskirts, or in the vicinity of Clearings; one does not see many in forest depths. Major J. Richardson, who published a little work on New Zealand in 1854, traversed a good deal of very rough bushland in the North Island, and teils us that scarce a bird was to be seen or heard in the forest-depths, except in the morning. J. C. Crawford mentions the bird-song he heard at Karatia, Whanganui River, in 1861, where "the concert of bell-birds here and elsewhere on the river surpassed anything of the kind which I had previously heard." Julius Haast, in his Report on the Western Districts of the Nelson Provtnce (1861), teils us that: "It is true that the New Zealand songsters cannot be compared with the European singing birds, but their music has also its charms, and it is a moment of delight for the traveller to listen to the concert of all the different birds when the morning dawns."

I myself can remember that morning bird-song, the māra o Tane, as I heard it in the early 'sixties in the bush at Porirua; truly it was a page 115melodious clamour on fair mornings, the choristers being led by the tui and korimako, or bell-bird. The last occasion on which I heard such a Performance as reminded me of what I had heard 35 years before, was in 1900, when the tui appeared in large numbers on the white pine (kahika) in the Whirinaki valley, above old Fort Galatea. For some distance the right bank of the Whirinaki river is open land, and some distance back from the river is the edge of the bush. This is on land sloping downward to the river, and facing east; a sunny, pleasant place, hence natives lived along the outskirts of the forest in olden times. Grey old bush folk have told me that, in the days of their youth, the sound of morning bird-song along that expanse of forest was a marvel, even that 'the voice of man could not be heard,' as old Te Arno put it. The expressions ko, korihi, korohiko, koroki, kōkī, are all used to denote the singing of birds, but ko is properly employed with regard to the morning concert only. The word tangi 'to cry, to give forth a sound,' is often used nowadays to describe the singing of birds; but it is a somewhat careless usage; the Maori was more precise in olden days. Ka describes one form of bird cry, Me he mea ka ka haere te matuku, he tau waipuke. If a bittern flies ka-ing away, then a season of floods follows. Ke is used to describe the cry of the hawk, keke and keakea the quacking of the duck, koē and koekoe a screaming cry.

Polack of the 'thirties, told us that some species of New Zealand birds disappearing in those far-off days. Such birds as the kakapo and kiwi may have dwindled to some extent in numbers, but it is doubtful if swift-flight birds had. Taylor mentions (1870) the kiwi, weka, and kakapo as having decreased in numbers according to native evidence. Dr. A. S. Thomson, writing in the 'fifties, urged collectors to secure specimens of our birds, "as some species have entirely disappeared, and others are decreasing." He noted that pigeons were decreasing in some places where they formerly abounded.

An old native, when speaking in 1874 of his forebears, said: "They greatly prized the tribal forest-lands, the fruitful trees therein that provided food for birds, hence they were careful with fire, lest the forest should be destroyed. But in these times birds have become scarce, owing to the introduction of cats, rats, and bees, the bee is especially harmful. The disappearance of the hordes of birds from our forests has a depressing effect on us."

In the Porirua district, near Wellington, pigeons were numerous until the 'fifties of last Century; in 1860 they were scarce, albeit there was still a large extent of bush in the district, and it is very doubtful if the gun, in those days, destroyed as many as did the Maori in pre-gun days.

page 116

Some have thought that birds had decreased considerably in numbers before Europeans arrived on these shores; certainly the moa had become extinct, and the disappearance of the kakapo from a number of places in the North Island had probably commenced. Why did such a bird as the hakoke or rock owl disappear so soon after the arrival of Europeans, from rocky cliffs on wild ranges where man did not molest them? The kakapo disappeared from the Tararua and Aorangi ranges just prior to European settlement, and about the same time it disappeared in the Tuhoe district. Possibly some introduced European animal or influence marched ahead of European settlement and brought destruction to native birds and the native rat. In vol. 2 ofthe Transactions ofthe N.Z. Institute (1869) Potts deplores "the rapid diminution in the numbers of our birds." At that time the North Island forests had not been interfered with to any serious extent; they covered a vast area of land, the feathered life of which was rapidly decreasing. In vol. 3 of the same Journal Walter Buller, afterwards Sir Walter Buller, dealt with the same, subject, and wrote: "In the course of a very few years, species formerly common in every grove, have become so scarce throughout the country as to threaten their extinction at no very distant date." He believed that the introduced rats formed the principal cause of this destruction of bird-life. In vol. 40 of the above-mentioned Journal Dr. Fulton has an interesting paper entitled "The Disappearance of the New Zealand Birds."

When living in the far-spread forest of the Tuhoe or Urewera district in 1895-1910, I made many enquiries as to the diminishing of the birds of that area, then unvisited by European sportsmen. The natives gave me the names of twelve species that have disappeared, viz.:

  • Hakoke or whekau—The rock owl.
  • Kāha—The crested grebe.
  • Kākāpō—Ground parrot.
  • Kareke—Marsh rail.
  • Kea—Said to have been an open-country bird, smaller than a kaka and with a different form of bill. He manu ahua whero, it was of a brownish or reddish colour.
  • Koitareke—Quail.
  • Kotuku—White heron.
  • Moho-patatai—Landrail.
  • Moho-rangi.
  • Momotawai—Bush wren.
  • Tieke—Saddle-back.
  • Tihe—Stitch-bird.

Another species of moho has also, I believe, disappeared; moho is a generic term for several rails. The piopio or thrush, I was told, had not been seen for a number of years, but some thought it might still exist in the wild forest-land of the far-back Whakatangata range. page 117Some other species were rarely seen. The above list of names comprises such species as have disappeared from the district since the arrival of Europeans, although no precise dates could beiascertained. Those that have survived have woefully diminished in numbers, and this in a great extent of bush land containing few Clearings and few inhabitants, where the art of the fowler had greatly declined since the arrival of the potato, and where large areas of forest contain no Single human denizen.

The arrival of Europeans. As used by an isolated inland tribe I would take this phrase to mean the time when such folk first came into contact with Europeans, and not the time of the arrival of early voyagers on these shores. The introduced rat and bee long preceded European settlement in such places, and Potts remarked on "the feeble hold on life which appears to be shared by every living thing that is indigenous, whether animal or vegetable, when brought into contact with foreign influences."

With regard to the Maori names of our birds. the best list on record is that usually termed the Williams list, for which see the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 15, p. 193. A few bird names have been collected since the last edition of Williams' Maori Dictionary appeared; among these are the following names:—

  • Kakawairiki—The parakeet.
  • Karirorio—The grey warbler.
  • Karu-patene, Mata-karaihe, Pi-karaihe—The blight bird.
  • Katuhituhi—The robin, S. Island (From Brunner's Journal).
  • Kuruwhetu—A South Island bird name. Cf. kuruwhengu.
  • Kerangi—A honorific or personi-ficatory term for the hawk.
  • Patahoro.
  • Penu—South Island.
  • Pokaka—Probably for the kakapo. It was taken on the Tararua range.
  • Tahorehore—A forest bird, not identified.
  • Taihorehore—Probably same as foregoing.
  • Turorohu—A Waikato name, not identified.
  • Totoroheti—A Waikato name, not identified.
  • Wirairangi—A Whanganui name, not identified.
  • Wirarai—The miromiro or North Island tit.

It is clear that many of the Maori bird-names were brought hither from Polynesia. The late Mr. S. Percy Smith has shown us that, out of 63 Tahitian birds, 24 have Maori names; out of 20 Rarotongan, nine have Maori names; out of 17 of far-off Mangareva, seven have Maori names; out of 67 Samoan, eleven are Maori; out of 17 Tongan, seven are Maori; out of 92 Hawaiian, 19 are Maori. Doubtless the Maori, as in the case of tree and plant names, was wont, when he settled in new lands, to call birds by the names of others he had page 118known, if they resembled each other. Half-a-dozen Maori bird names are in use at Niue island.

The generic term for birds is manu, the same being a very farspread term, carrying this meaning for some 4000 miles athwart the Pacific.

A number of different terms are used to denote a flock of birds, and some of these have a very restricted application. Here follows a list of such terms, commencing with the more generic forms:—

  • Kahui—A flock, cluster, swarm, assemblage.
  • Rahui—A flock or herd.
  • Pokai—A flock, swarm.
  • Rāngai—A flock, herd, shoal, Company.
  • Taki—I have heard this used only in connection with the whitehead, he taki tetaeto. Ta and taki are used in the Matatua district.
  • Tipapa—Used in connection with the wood pigeon, he tipapa kereru. I have not heard it applied to other species.
  • Pa—A flock, clump, group.
  • Ta—A flock. I have heard this term used in connection with but a few species, e.g., the tataeto (whitehead), huia, and kokaka (crow).
  • Wiri—Said to be applied only to the koko (tui), as he wiri koko.
  • Kawai—Used in speaking of ducks, as he kawai parera.
  • Waka—Given by Williams as denoting a flight or flock of birds.

There are also a number of terms used to denote the young of birds. The word kuao is employed to define the young of animals, but it is seldom applied to young birds, and it must not be applied to children. Other terms to bear in mind are as follows:—

  • Pi, Pitaketake, Korahoraho, Pirahoraho, Maunu—An unfledged chick. Hauturuki, Pirere, Hukari, Kukari, Pikare—A fledgling bird. Kawaiwai—Ducklings after they have taken to water. Karawa—female parent of birds. Punua, punuka—Occasionally used to denote the young of birds, after they commence to fly.

Some differences occur, as in different districts, in the use of some of the above terms, but that is to be expected; we find the same thing with regard to the names of species, while the collector of plant and shellfish names meets with the same annoyance. Moving from district to district usually calls for the acquiring of a certain number of new words when one is dealing with cosas de Maori.

The terms kohanga, kowhanga, owhanga and kopae are applied to ordinary bird-nests, the first two names being the ones usually employed, while rua, puta, and hapoki are used to describe such nests as are made in hollow trees or in the earth, thus we hear the expressions rua pekapeka and puta kākā, or hapoki kaka. Puta and hapoki I have heard applied to holes or hollows in trees only. A bees' nest page 119in a hollow tree was alluded to by a Ngati-Porou bushman as a hapoki pi.

Eggs are hua to the Maori; to be precise, hua manu, for hua is also used to describe fruit, the roe of fish, etc. The yoke of an egg is toua, tohua, tokari and hakari, while the shell is pápapa and anga, and the words tenga and nae mean the crop of a bird.

Regarding feathers, the following terms have been collected:—

Hikumaro Humarereko Maeko
Hukumaro Hurumaeko Rumaeko

Applied to tail, or tail-feathers:—

Kotore Kurutou Remu
Kururunu Marihope Tou

Denoting the wing:—

Paihau Pakihau Parirau
Pakau Pakirau Kira

Feathers on distal Joint of wing, primaries:—

Hikutau Matakirea, prob. syn. of hikutau.


  • Huru, Huruhuru—The ordinary terms for feathers. Hou—Feather; perhaps only such as we would term plumes. Awe—Certain white feathers of albatross and heron. Hokai—Quill feathers. Awe, Nehu, Hüne, Hunga—Down of birds. Kounu, Whakamaunu—To moult. Kumikumi, Peruperu, Pohoi—The white throat feathers of the tui or koko. The 'choker' of the parson bird. Mākaka—Long plumes of the albatross. Punga-toroa—White albatross down. ? hunga-toroa. Piki, Rau, Raukura—Plumes, such as were worn by men in their dressed hair. Piki kotuku, ornate plume of white heron. Long wing feathers are called kira by Tuhoe. Kotore—Tail. Tail feathers. Such used as decorative plumes are termed kotore. Pore—Different styles of head dress, including a feather one, so termed.

Prized plumes from wing of white heron:—

Hikurangi Rau-o-titapu, or titapu Whaitiri
Kapu Tatarahake Wharawhara
  • Rau-o-piopio—…. Said to have been the name of a moa feather heirloom occasionally worn as a plume. Ta—Feather, quill of a feather. Tuaka—Quill of a feather. Kaiwharawhara—Certain plumes of albatross used for personal decoration.

Colenso, in writing of the kotuku or white heron, remarked concerning its feathers: "Those from within its wings, and near their junction with the body, were of two kinds, the larger of them were called meremere, and the smaller awe. These last were sometimes stripped off with the skin adhering, so as to form a ball-like bunch [termed a pohoi] to be worn in the ears. The larger feathers on the outside (secondaries, wing-coverts, and scapulars were termed page 120waitiripapa [whaitiri-papa], while the extreme feathers of its wings (primaries) were called hikurangi."

We can here see how nomenclature differed in different districts, as remarked above. The Tuhoe told me that, in each wing, the kotuku has four long, prized, plumes, each of which has its proper, distinctive name, these are tatarahake, whaitiri, and titapu (sometimes called rau o titapu), the fourth name my informant could not remember; from information obtained later I believe that kapu was the fourth name. The Matatua folk seem to have employed the word kira to denote the larger, stiff, wing-feathers. The term awe seems to be applied to several kinds of feathers, also the long white hair on the tail of the Maori dog. As Colenso has shown, awe is a term used as a name for many things that are light, as feathers, down, fine hair, soot, etc.

The application of the term kaiwharawhara given above is not quite clear. Williams says: 'Feathers from the wings of an albatross,' but an Arawa contributor explained that the name is applied to the tail-feathers (No te kotore o te taroa nga huruhuru kaiwharawhara). Then wharawhara has been given as the name of the long kotuku-plumss, and waiwhara as 'an ornament of kotuku feathers.' It will be as well to explain here that women should by no means be induced to wear the plumes of the white heron (kotuku), the consequences of such an act being most serious. In days of yore native women were not allowed to wear the better, more highly-prized plumes of this bird, but only the inferior ones. Should a woman be so unreasonable, so contumacious, as to wear such a plume, then assuredly all her hair would fall off, and she would become a pakira, i.e., bald-head, a condition much disliked by the Maori. Again, no woman was allowed to join in partaking of a meal should any participant therein be wearing a rau-o-titapu plume; if the wearer took off his decoration and laid it aside then women might sit in. Grave elders have assured me of the truth of these Statements, and far be it from me to doubt them.

Prized plumes were often referred to as piki ariki, piki kahurangi, piki turangi, rau kura, etc., apart from names that included the name of the species, as piki, kotuku, rau huia, etc.; ariki and kahurangi are names for males and females, respectively, of superior rank. Certain feathers of the amokura (Phaeton rubricauda), albatross, white crane, cuckoo, huia, etc., were held in high estimation, hence their use was reserved for persons of superior social Status. In few cases were superior plumes allowed to pass into the hands of women; such feathers as they wore as decorations for the head were, as a rule, worn in the form of fillets, or inserted in a woven tipare, a page 121band or fillet, often a plaited fabric of Phormium or other leaves. As most men wore their hair long they were enabled to arrange it in divers forms so that plumes might be inserted in it. Women wore their hair very much shorter as a rule, and so it was not tied up or arranged on the top of the head as was the hair of men.

We hear of certain birds, known to the Maori ere they came to New Zealand, that provided highly prized plumes, though the procuring of such esteemed Ornaments seems to have necessitated a long voyage. (See Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 31, p. 2, 3, 5, 6, etc.) These birds are called in tradition kakerangi, kohirangi, kore-kerangi, taputurangi, kaukaurangi, kura-a-rangi, rakorakoa, kohiwai.

Prized plumes and feather-covered cloaks or capes were often utilized as presents in the old days of Maori rule. In an account of a present-making function, a hakari taonga, before me, there are mentioned, among other things, gifts of kakahu-kura (feathcr cloaks), two boxes of kakapo (feathers of the night parrot), thrce boxes of wharauroa (feathers of the shining cuckoo), four boxes of huruhuru o nga keke nei o te toroa-a-ruru (feathers from under the wings of the albatross). These boxes were small, oblong receptacles, cut out of the solid, fitted with a lid, and a as rule carved with well-executed designs. They were used wherein to keep Ornaments, such as feathers, sometimes prized pendants, etc., and were known as papa hou (feather boxes), papa huia (Tm/a-plume boxes) or waka hniay and other names denoting a species of bird, as waka kautuku, waka wharauroa, waka kakapo, etc.

In addition to Single plumes, feathers were worn in other ways, small feathers and bird-skins being largely used, occasionally the whole bird of some small species being worn as an ear pendant. An early writer teils us of his seeing a Maori wearing a small living bird as an ear pendant, noting that, in its struggles to escape, it had scratched his cheek, Kaitoa!

Captain Cook speaks of having seen a form of feather head-dress worn by natives of Queen Charlotte Sound in 1770; he writes: "The women in these canoes, and some of the men, had a head-dress which we had not before seen. It consisted of a bunch of black feathers, made up in a round form, and tied upon the top of the head, which it entirely covered, and made it twice as high, to appearance, as it was in reality." So the Hawkesworth edition; in his Journal Cook says: "Many of these People wore on their Heads round Caps made of Birds' feathers, which were far from being unbecoming." He mentions these caps again further on, and in such a manner that we must presume that he had not seen them elsewhere. Parkinson, in his short vocabulary of Maori words, gives potai page 122(potae) as the name of 'the feather Ornament on their head.' He also gives heebeeke (he piki, plumes) as denoting 'a bunch of scarlet feathers which they stick in their hair.' In Cook's account of his second voyage he speaks of the Maori folk at Dusky Bay decorating themselves to meet the Europeans "with their hair combed and oiled, tied upon the crowns of their heads, and stuck with white feathers. Some wore a fillet of feathers round their heads, and all of them had bunches of white feathers stuck in their ears." G. Forster, in his account of this voyage, speaks of the short hair of the women of Queen Charlotte Sound, and of seeing the feather cap. Anderson, in his account of Cook's third voyage, remarks that a few women "have small triangular aprons adorned with the feathers of parrots, or bits of pearl shells …. I have sometimes seen caps or bonnets made of the feathers of birds." These were seen at the Sound.

The terms tope and tope kura are said to be names of some kind of feather-ornament worn on the forehead in former times; it may have been a feather-covered circlet, or plumes inserted in a headband. Nicholas, a very early sojourner in the north, in speaking of certain feathers of the gannet that were used for decorating the head, remarked that: "These feathers are neatly dressed, and each of them has a small piece of wood tied round the quill end, which serves to stick in the hair." Kutukutu is said to be the name of some kind of ornament composed of gannets' feathers. The bunches of feathers, usually white, worn as earpendants were known as pohoi; these were composed of short, soft, curling feathers or down. Bunches of feathers used for decorating weapons, canoes, etc., were called puhi; as a rule these were made by bunching together a number of tail or wing-feathers, the stiff quills of which had been removed, or rather a thin strip of the shaft, with its adhering web, was taken off each side, and the stiff part of the shaft rejected. This resulted in bunches of flexible feathers that pleased the eye much more than would a number of straight, stiff feathers tied together. In some cases a piece of bird-skin with its adhering smooth-laid feathers was used as an ear-ornament, the kopu toroa was such a pendant, a piece of feather-covered skin from the kopu or belly of an albatross (toroa). Another kind was the poua tarata, already described. The white down of the albatross and gannet was prized as pohoi, and the feathers of a number of other birds of both land and water-species were employed for such decorative purposes. The black and white tail-feathers of the huia were very highly valued, its head and feathered skin were also used. Angas mentions having seen the wings of the hawk used as head-page 123ornaments by a native; both sexes were given to feather Ornaments, and both wore pohoi, but the use of upstanding head-plumes seems to have been almost confined to men.

One of the most grotesque modes of adornment adopted by the Maori was the poniania, known to some as the 'sprit-sail yard'; it must be nearly 35 years since I saw this curious decoration, which consists of two long, stiff plumes, wing or tail-feathers, the quills of which are thrust through the septum of the nose, one from either side, so that the vanes stand out horizontally on either side. Given good stiff feathers not less than six inches in length, the effect is most striking, not to say entertaining. In Hawkesworth's account of Cook's first voyage we read: "In one instance we saw the gristle that divides the nostrils, and called by the anatomists the septum nasi, perforated, and a feather thrust through the whole, which projected on each side of the cheeks: it is probable that this frightful singularity was intended as an Ornament, but of the many people we saw, we never observed it in any other, nor even a Perforation that might occasionally serve for such a purpose." Cook would not be aware that only a limited number of men had the septum of the nose pierced, or that the poniania were inserted on Special occasions only. Personally I have seen the decoration only at meetings; the hole through the septum is not easily detected in ordinary intercourse. Mariner teils us that this extraordinary facial adornment was known in the Fiji isles, though there meant to inspire fear; he remarks: "… . . to give themselves a fiercer appearance they bore a hole through the soft part of the septum of the nose, through which, in time of war, they stick a couple of feathers, nine or twelve inches long, which spread out over each side of the face like immense mustaches, giving them a very formidable appearance."

Albatross feathers were also sought for the purpose of providing decorations for canoes, for certain food-receptacles at feasts; feathers served as paint brushes, and entered into certain Performances of white magic; their use in the case of love-charms is said to have been most effective. In the following saying the toroa or albatross is referred to as the source of decorations for man: Toroa e! Toroa whakapai tangata: Huia e! Huia tangata kotahi. In the saying: Ka whaka rongo pikari nga taringa, the ears are listening chick-like, applied to any person who is ever listening for the call to meals, even as young birds do.

Birds have flourished in this world ever since Tane the Fertilizer breathed upon the forest and so caused it to be fertile, caused trees to bear fertile fruit, and so to reproduce their kind. In the beginning of things there was much pother in connection with sex, and when page 124the sons of heaven were seeking a form of female life from which mortal man might be derived, then was it that all such forms were caused to conceive in order that the aspect and good and bad points of their offspring might be observed. Now it was seen that reptiles produced eggs, and eggs that bore an uncanny appearance. This procedure was at once put a stop to, and it was decided that birds alone should be oviparous, and that other creatures should be born in their own form, not through the medium of eggs. We now see how it was that so many creatures became viviparous, while birds remain oviparous.