Brave messenger Picture

Piwakawa (other name: NZ fantail) is an endemic bird. I found these guys by chance in Rotorua whilst visiting one of these thermic parks. The males have impressive white tails. I was watching them for quite a while and made tons of photos because they are really hard to capture. The fantail has due to his sudden yet agil flying manoeuvres alot of other Maori names: hiwaiwaka, tirairaka, tiwakawaka, etc..The last one, tiwakawaka, is really important, because that's also the name of one of the the first settlers of New Zealand according to Maori mythology.

In Maori mythology the fantail stands for bravery and courage. But he's also a messenger of death or brings messages from death to humans. The legend is the following: Maui was the first human and according to the Maori gods he was also supposed to be the first one to be mortal. But Maui didn't want to die so when the time came, he had a plan how to stay immortal. It was said that anyone who was supposedly mortal can make himself and his kind immortal if he passes through Hine-nui-te-po (goddess of the underworld and death, but the name translates also into "Great woman of night"). Of course, the goddess has to sleep otherwise there would be now way that she'd let you pass through her. So Maui waited until she fell asleep and tried to pass through her. Unfortunately, one of his companions, the fantail, wakes Hine-nui-te-po with his birdsong and as she realises the situation she cuts Maui into two and Maui ultimately dies. And ever since is mankind mortal.

Picture was taken on 16 June 2013.
Continue Reading: The Underworld