Monday, December 12, 2011


Undoubtedly one of the most important members of our family, the kiwi represents the soul of Tane Mahuta and lives in the heart of the forest. Like the heart the kiwi remains largely unsee but without it the forest would simply die. Maori have always treasured the kiwi. It’s feathers are prized by cloak makers all over the country and there is no finer cloak than a korowai-kiwi (kiwi cloak). 
Rongokako and his pet Kiwi

On the East Coast a chief named Rongokako had a giant pet kiwi. The bird was so big that it could not be killed by humans. Rongokako was the son of Tamatea-Arikinui, captain of Takitimu, and they lived around Heretanga (Hawkes Bay). Paoa captained the Horouta canoe and lived at Turanga (Gisborne)
For some reason these two became rivals. Paoa challenged Rongokako to a race from the East Coast to the far north. Rongokako accepted the challenge and the race started in Heretaunga. Paoa boarded his canoe and sailed up the coast. When he reached Uawa he heard Rongokako was coming overland riding his giant kiwi. It’s strides were huge, clearing mountain tops in one step, Paoa decided to stop the kiwi. Somewhere between Waipiro and Tokomaru Paoa built a huge trap to catch the giant bird. As Rongokako approached on his kiwi he noticed something strange about the path. 
He saw the trap and was able to deal it a mighty blow with his taiaha. The trap sprung with such force it flew into the air. The place where the trap finally landed is now known as Mount Arowhana. The place where Paoa set the trap is called Te Tawhiti-o-Rongokako (The trap of Rongokako). Rongokako and his kiwi went on with the race. Paoa was so shocked he never did manage to catch them

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