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New
Zealand
Birds


New Zealand Birds’
(The Greytown Gallery)

65 Wood Street
Post Office Box 146
Greytown, 5742
Wairarapa
New Zealand

Mobile: +64 (0)27 508 5078 narena@nzbirds.com

Historical fantasy

Available from Amazon

Te Tini o Toi, The Children of Toi, (book one), by Narena Olliver

The Song of the Tui



White Tui



This little song, the Maori idea of the duet of a pair of tui, the male and female birds, was recited by Mere Ngamai o Te Wharepouri, the venerable lady of Ngati-Awa, who gave me (Sir Maui Pomare), much other poetic lore of her people.

 

The two birds, said she, are sitting on a bough of a tree, the tane and the wahine, and this is their musical dialogue. The tane says to his bird wife:

“Te tu e hu,
Te tu e hu,
Te to karekare
Te memeke tetere ma-maku
Riri hengihengi.”


(These words describe the gentle, soothing sound of the birds as they flit on softly winnowing wings to and fro, and their movements in shaking their plumage free of moisture in the foliage.)

The male bird nods his head repeatedly as he utters these words and shakes his white throat-tassel.

The female bird says:

“Ko wai, ko wai tenei?
Ko au, ko au;
Tui pai, huruhuru maeneene.
Ko terepu, terewai.
Horohoro-horo!”

 

(Who, who is this? ‘Tis I, the pretty tui, with soft, smooth plumage.’ The words in the last two lines are onomatopoetic, descriptive of the musical call and the deep-throated gurgling sound often uttered by the tui.)

 

The pair flap their wings and they rise and fly away to the fork of a tree nearby, where the keikei plant grows in great bunches, with ripe tirori fruit (patangatanga), usually called the tawhara, which is the name of the flower.

The female bird utters these words:

“E toro
E toro
Ki te pakihaka tirori
Ma taua.”


(“Reach out, stretch out and break off the sweet fruit of the keikei for us two.”)

 

The birds feast on the tirori fruit, and then the tane utters this in a flute-like note, prolonged to a whistle:

“Hu-hu-e! whio-o, whio-o!”

Tui
Taxonomy
Kingdom:
Animalia.
Phylum:
Chordata.
Class:
Aves.
Order:
Passeriformes.
Family:
Meliphagidae.
Genera:
Prosthermadera.
Species:
novaeseelandiae.
Sub Species:
novaeseelandiae, chathamensis.

Song:  — 

 Viking Sevenseas

This section should be replaced with an audio player, if not, please select the link below:
»»»  Song of Tui

Other common names:  — 

Parson bird, poe bee-eater, New Zealand creeper, koko, mocking bird.

Description:  — 

Endemic bird

30 cm., male, 120 g., female, 90 g., looks black but in the light has green, bluish-purple and bronze colouring, lacy collar of white filaments and white throat tufts, black legs and curved black bill, white wing bar, sexes alike, juvenile dull slate black with glossy wings and tail, greyish-white throat, lacks white throat tufts or pois.

Where to find:  — 

Common throughout New Zealand but scarce east of the Alps in the South Island.

More Information:  — 

More Information:  — 

»»»  Tui page (main)

»»»  Tui welcome speech

»»»  Tui nest page

Poetry:  — 

“Me he korokoro tui”

“How eloquent he is; he has the
 throat of a Tui”.

Credit for the photographs: — 

 

Mandy Hague

Illustration description: — 

Reference(s): — 

 

Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Legends of the Maori, Hon. Sir Maui Pomare and James Cowan, 1987.

Page date & version: — 

 

Friday, 23 May, 2014; ver2009v1