Ngā manu

Nga mānu 🐦
My first encounter with a fantail was on the treaty grounds at Waitangi in the North land.
I was walking across the grass all of nine or ten and it stood boldly defending it's territory. This fantail was no bigger than my hand and I was curious at the way it was acting. I suddenly felt like a stranger because birds don't normally react this way around me.
It stuck with me all these years and then I started getting more sightings. As I walked on my hikois I'd pay attention to my surrounding and I'd see them and know they were coming to bring me a message. Usually within days I'd receive a message sometimes good and sometimes not so good.
When my dad passed away I felt like they were my connection to the spiritual realm and I always felt at peace.
Birds have always come to me in twos or threes and always seemed happy and cheerful.
I saw one in Ihumatao on my last trip and the next day arriving back in Sydney I saw it again in my backyard. immediately I was at peace as I watched my nearly two year old run after it laughing as if they were playmates.
In different cultures the bird can mean different things. It's not superstition.
It's how my tupuna sailed the seas. It's how they sent messages from village to village. It's how they knew to hunt and where to fish. It's how you know when there is danger and which way the wind blows.
The piwaiwaka is small but fierce. It knows its purpose and is loyal.
It touches my heart, it's touches my soul.
It signifies to me that the stories or myths and legends we were brought up hearing a true. So very true.
When you grow up seeing birds on the other side of a glass or in a cage it makes you wonder. Usually by its reactions to being caged any sudden movements would make it scared or afraid.
The saying 'you can't cage a bird' resonates with me. You can't hide who you are and you can't do what you've been born to do if you are stuck behind a cage or a glass window.
Our tupuna just like the birds were fierce and ready. Even if they knew the risks and the sacrifices they stood strong, held their ground and fought for what they believed in.
The fantail is endemic to nz so you can also find them in other parts of the world as well.
If you've ever heard the call of the pipiwharauroa announcing that spring is here, there's nothing quite like it. It lays it's egg in the riroriro nest whose song signalled it was time too plant crops.
Our very own native bird the kiwi comes from the same family
. Legend has it that the Kiwi sacrificed his wings to tanehokahoka who was the brother of Tane Mahuta the god of the forest.
Tane Mahuta spoke to all the birds saying something is eating my children I need you to live on the ground so that my children can be saved and your home can be saved.
Pipiwharauroa refused as they didn't want to give up their freedom and lose sight of the sunlight which brought meaning to each day. So did the pukeko and the tui.
Considering living in the dark on the cold damp floor wasn't an option as it meant too much of a sacrifice.
The Kiwi with a pure heart and real intent said a silent goodbye to the sunlight filtering through the trees and it's feathers and beautiful wings.
The legend lives on today as the Kiwi is an icon for Aotearoa. A symbolism of courage and strength.
When the wero is given to you and you somehow wonder if you can handle the responsibility think of the piwaiwaka small and fierce or the pipiwharauroa announcing that spring is here and to plant seeds of wisdom and watch flowers blossom in the warm sun.
Remember the Kiwi who sacrificed everything to save the children of the forest and it's home.
These qualities instilled in us from our tupuna who are forever embedded in our hearts. As they breathe life into us so shall we breathe life into our children and grandchildren.
Listen for the call, listen as they whisper in the wind
I am the land, the land is me.
'Ko au te whenua, ko whenua ko au'.

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