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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 3 (July 1, 1933)

The Morepork's Perch

The Morepork's Perch.

The Maori had a genius for coining apt descriptive names of places. Here is one that I do not think anyone else has recorded. The sharp, steep summit of Maunga-kakaramea, the Mountain of Coloured Earth, or Rainbow Mountain, towering over the entrance to the Waiotapu Valley, in Geyserland, was called by the old Maoris of the district Tihi-o-Ruru, meaning Citadel of the Owl, otherwise Morepork's Perch. To the native fancy that sentinel peak of the enchanted valley was an excellent look-out place for bird as well as man of old. Unknowing of this, but striking unconsciously exactly the Maori point of view, a writer (“Traveller”) in the May issue of this magazine described the steamy mountain's top as an eagle's nest, with old Hielan'man McAlpine, of the Forest Service, its keen-eyed occupant. An excellent name, Tihi-o-Ruru.

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