Of course New Zealand is known for its natural beauty and probably less known for some of its unique animals and insects.
The Moa, a now extinct twelve-foot-tall flightless bird roamed the forest of New Zealand for millions of years. These birds became extinct about 600-700 years ago from the over hunting by the indigenous Maori people.
The Weta, a relative of the cricket grow in New Zealand to enormous proportions and is the largest living insect. The tusked weta (Motuweta isolate) shown can reach 7 centimeters (including the tusk).
There is some biological evidence that suggests the Ancestors of today’s Maori originally set out from mainland south-east Asia 6,000 years ago, traveling from island to island, starting with Taiwan, and arrived in New Zealand 800 to 1,000 years ago. It is generally believed sometime around 1250 and 1300 century the Polynesians settled in the islands that is now called New Zealand and this settlement then developed into the Maori culture.
Traditional Polynesian boat in Auckland Museum. It believed to be used by the Maori to get to New Zealand at some time between 1250 and 1300 CE.
The indigenous Māori are the largest minority now in New Zealand. Most of them have converted to Christianity but they still have many of their original roots and culture.
The Maori have had a history of being involved with many aspects of the nature world and one important aspect has been the eel. Long fin eels have been around for at least 65 million years, making their home in the inland rivers, lakes and other fresh waters of New Zealand.
The Maoris have for hundreds of years incorporated the eel into their traditions, culture and folk stories. To this day, also many Maoris still use the eel as a main source of protein.
Maoris observed a connection between a star galaxies and the swimming patterns of the long fin eels
Kite flying was a favorite past-time of Maori in times of peace
Kites were seen as connectors between the heavens and earth and the Maori were expert kite makers and flight controllers of the sometimes enormous kites.
The Tohunga (Maori priests) used sacred kites as messengers to their gods. Often many men were needed to hold the rope of the kites as the kites would fly over 2000 yards.
Karakia (incantations) were used to assist the asent to the heavens. A small container was propelled up along the string to take water to the bird.
Climb up, climb up
To the highest surface of heaven
To all the sides of the heaven
Climb then to thy ancestors
To the sacred bird in the sky
To thy ancestor Rehua
In the heaven
My bird, by power of charm ascending
To the higher heaven
Like tie sparrow hawk
By this charm shall my bird arise
My bird bestrides the heavens
Beyond the swirling waters
Like the stars Atutahi and Rehua
And the spread out thy wings
To the very clouds. Truly so!
Kite song record in 1912
Tohunga (priest, or man of knowledge) saw kites as a metaphysical means to communicate with the Gods; as a means for divination and to see beyond the real world. Their sacred kites, Manu Whara, were constructed according to strictly guarded protocols, with flights that required chanting of sacred karakia (chants) in tandem with karere.
Many men to hold a line more then 2,000 yeards ong.
Incantations were used to assist the asent to the heavens. A small container was propelled up along the string to take water to the bird.
These sacred kites were also used for communication between tribes
Hangi earth oven
Hangi is a traditional earth oven that was designed to cook food using steam generated by water placed on hot stones in an insulated pit. This technique is still used on special Maori occations.