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What the.....folklore help please...
I was at a tangihanga in Bluff (quite some years ago now) when I called in home with an aunt to pick up the guitar. It was overcast. As I waited for her in the car, I looked at Bluff Hill and lo' and behold...the clouds parted and this humungous winged creature came out from behind the hills - carrying a soul with its feet and flew to the heavens. I rubbed my eyes and thought "Nah, this isn't real", looked again and it was still there, flying to the heavens. I tooted the horn to get my aunties attention. She looked out the window and I was pointing to the hills,"LOOK! Look! There's something in the sky!" She just looked at me dumb and said, "if there is, only you can see it anyway." Man that pissed me off. When we got back to the marae, I told mum. She said, "funny you said that because only a few people have seen it." Now, I'm not from Bluff but was raised there since I was 3.
Is there anyone out there that may know the history of this thing? Surely someone must know about it. Any help would be most appreciated.
Whakar, when I first saw your comment, I didn't know what you meant until retimana pointed it out.
Eeee, I'm quite hurt as I've never done drugs. It sounds to me that you were only trying to add a little humour but please, don't make assumptions on someone that you don't know. Tino mamae ana to korero.
I'll try and let it pass.
Edited by - Ri on Feb 02 2007 09:33:10 AM
When I first saw whakar's comment, I had to have giggle but believe me, it was not because of what you said but more about his comment and the fact that I get that comment all the time when I tell stories, some factual..some not..hehe. I wouldnt take it that seriously.
Anyway I am here to give you a little background information on a breed of eagle that was once indigenous to NZ, but now sadly is extinct. Or so everyone thinks! haha You may well have witnessed the return of this eagle although I would encourage you to look at all alternative explanations before entertaining that idea.
Now when you say "soul" do you mean a person? or a spirit? If you meant a person then that would agree with some of the earliest accounts from Maori regarding a giant eagle that would on occasion carry off people or children. It also indicates the size of the animal. If it was carrying a spirit, then maybe you should roll those joints a little less rather than loose!
Nah..relax I am not making fun of you. You sound genuine so it seems likely you saw something. Exactly what is unclear. That bird has not been seen for over 300 - 400 years. Maybe more! It is extremely unlikely one or a few, could have survived this long without some-else spotting it. Yet not impossible..who knows?..maybe some did survive aye? haha I suppose that is why you posted the story aye.
Anyway, here is some information I found on the net regarding the NZ giant eagle. Cheers
<The New Zealand Eagle
(Also known as the Giant Eagle and the Haast Eagle)
The largest eagle ever known once flew in New Zealand skies - the New Zealand or giant eagle. The giant eagle was endemic to New Zealand, which means it was only found in New Zealand. Its wingspan measured up to three metres and its talons (claws) were about 7.5cm long!
Scientists think that the giant eagle preyed on other birds, including the moa. There have been three complete sets of giant eagle bones found. The set of bones found most recently was in a cave near Nelson in 1989. The youngest set of bones is about 500 years old. Because the giant eagle would have been at the top of the food chain in New Zealand it is most likely that there were never great numbers of this bird. Scientists cannot be sure what caused this giant bird to become extinct but they believe it was a victim of early Polynesian settlers in New Zealand. It may have been hunted and would have suffered from a lack of food to hunt when the moa disappeared
Giant eagles not just the stuff of legends
Reprinted from the University of Canterbury's "Chronicle" - 18/02/05
Gigantic eagles swooping from the skies to rescue Frodo and Sam in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy may not be just the stuff of legends and fairytales, according to research published this week in the journal PloS Biology.
University of Canterbury senior fellow and palaeobiologist Dr Richard Holdaway is among a group of researchers from New Zealand and the UK who have shed new light on the evolution of the now extinct giant eagle that once ruled the skies over New Zealand.
The enormous Haast's eagle dominated its environment. Weighing in at between 10 and 14kgs, it was 30-40% heavier than the largest living bird of prey around today, the harpy eagle of Central and South America, and was approaching the upper weight limit for powered flight.
Led by Professor Alan Cooper from Oxford University's Ancient Biomolecules Centre, the New Zealand researchers extracted DNA from fossil eagle bones dating back about 2000 years.
Christchurch evolutionary molecular biologist Dr Michael Bunce, now based at McMaster University, Canada, who was part of the Oxford team that carried out the DNA analysis, said when they began the project it was to prove the relationship of the extinct Haast's eagle with the large Australian wedge-tailed eagle.
"But the DNA results were so radical that, at first, we questioned their authenticity," he said.
The results showed that the New Zealand giant was in fact related to one of the world's smallest eagles - the little eagle from Australia and New Guinea, which typically weighs less than one kilogram.
"Even more striking was how closely related genetically the two species were. We estimate that their common ancestor lived less than a million years ago. It means that an eagle arrived in New Zealand and increased in weight by 10 -15 times over this period, which is very fast in evolutionary terms. Such rapid size change is unprecedented in birds and animals," added Dr Bunce.
UC's Dr Holdaway, co-author of the highly-acclaimed The Lost World of the Moa, was extensively involved in the interpretation of the results and the writing of the paper.
Speculating on why Haast's eagle grew so quickly to such vast proportions Dr Holdaway said: "The size of available prey and the absence of other predators are, we think, the key factors driving the size increase. The eagles would have been able to feed unhindered on their kill."
Haast's eagle is the only eagle known to have been the top predator in a major terrestrial ecosystem. They hunted moa which could weigh up to 200kg. With a truncated wingspan of around three metres for flying under the forest canopy, the eagles struck their prey from the side, tearing into the pelvic flesh and gripping the bone with claws the size of a tiger's paw. Once caught, the moa would be killed by a single strike to the head or neck from the eagle's other claw.
The scientists believe the eagle died out within two centuries of human settlement of New Zealand. Forest fires destroyed its habitat and humans exterminated its food supply. There is some evidence to suggest the eagles were hunted too.
"There are so many unanswered questions about our biological past that ancient DNA can help provide answers to, and it's great to see New Zealand's birds being the focus of this international research," Dr Holdaway said.
Edited by - matahuru on Feb 02 2007 2:30:00 PM
Kia Ora Matahuru,
Wonderful korero and an enjoyable read. I'm sure ri will appreciate it. I must admit that when I first read this panui, my first thought was of a really old korero told about such a 'bird' accompanying our waka on it's journey to these shores. A description of the 'bird' included a long beak, razor sharp talons, stingray tail and bat-like wings and body.MANAIA
Oh Well, 'tis no matter what others may think, I was enthralled with this korero and sensed that there was a genuine 'attachment' to this Guide/Tupuna.
Edited by - Retimana on Feb 03 2007 03:23:40 AM
Kia Ora Hine Te Po,
Thankyou for that link.
Found on page 57 of Eldon Best's The Maori As He Was: A Brief Account of Life as it was Pre-European. was:
In the fable of the the hawk and the hokioi we note the humbling of a boaster. The hawke challenged the hokioi (a mythical bird apparently) to a flight toward the heavens telling him that he could fly no higher than a fern-bird. In the contest that ensued, both rose to a great height until at last the hawk was compelled to descend. When his companion jeered at him for a boaster, and continued his own upward flight. To such a great height did he ascend, that he never returned to earth; but sometimes, in the dead of night, men hear hokioi, far up above the earth, calling out its own name: "Hokioi! Hokioi! Hu!" The last word is supposed to represent the sound of the flight of the bird.
Now, when a person is given to boasting and self-praise,the Maori compares him to hokioi, far above the the earth, calling out its own name.
Interesting read also, but not what I was alluding to.
Kia Ora Ano.
Hm, sounds like you've been given interesting leads.
The manaia is my whanau's kaitiaki. We believe it to be a snake, not a bird. It also looks rather similar to the seahorse, which we also call, manaia. Hm.
One of our places is called Manaia (in Hauraki).
My personal feeling, I think you were just plain old having a pohewa.
Don't read too much into this. If there was a point to you seeing this, it would have manifested itself now. Unless, the tupuna wanted you to learn about the hokioi.
Your description doesn't match up with any oral traditions I know to do with death either.
Nevertheless, I'll ask my Waitaha informants for any information.
Those infos was a good start anyway. My best bet would be to ask someone at Bluff marae about the mural in the Wharekai. It shows a bird coming from behind the hills. Of cos, don't know when my next visit to Rakiura will be.
Here's a research newsletter that I found on web, some significant:
You could be quite right to say that there's nothing special about Bluff or it's surrounding areas mythology-wise, however, no matter where we go, nga tupuna was once there. Omaui I was told was a headland where a pa had once been - a coney hill (I was told) called Rocky Noll was like a look out. But that's another story...
Should anything else suffice, would be nice.