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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10 (January 2, 1939)

White Kiwi, and the “Pinto.”

White Kiwi, and the “Pinto.”

That rara avis, a white kiwi, came into the Hauturu story every once and again. The custodian “got a good look at it by the light of the full moon,” one night and several times afterwards. It seemed a kind of spirit bird, a forest ghost of the night. The Maoris would have tapu'd it thrice over. It is an albino bird caught in the Taupo country and taken to the island. Native folklore of the Tongariro-Taupo district invests white birds, whether tui or pigeon or kiwi, with an aura of sanctity, infringement of which brings dread penalties. “Should a man kill a white bird in these woods,” an old warrior of Ngati-Tuwharetoa told me, “he would be punished by the fairy gods of the mountains and the forests. Te Ririo, the atua of the mountains, would come for him and drag him into the wild lands, and if he survived to reach his home and people again, he would be demented, talking a strange tongue.”

This lone albino of Hauturu struck up acquaintance early with the brown kiwis. At any rate, one day Mr. Nelson, when travelling up a gully, saw a young vari-coloured kiwi; its head feathers were white, its back and breast brown, like the North Island species, its legs light yellow, and the hinder parts white. “It looked pretty,” he wrote in his report. And in the following year he reported again that the al-

(Continued on page 44.)