He Kuaka


The kuaka are champions of long distance flight - Te wharau o te kuaka. They follow migratory patterns that lead them to Parengrenga harbour.

Te Aupouri have a lot of metaphorical sayings because of the almost impossible journey they complete. They are a great symbol for striving to achieve. One bird will take off first and one will land first. It is a symbol of leadership, breaking new ground and making a path for others to follow.

It’s a metaphor for the necessary change amongst our men, respect for the women, te whare tangata, and care for the children, manaaki nga tamariki.

Using kuaka as a metaphor is a useful notion. It promotes a mature understanding of parenting. Young Maori men have a great need for this. On its own an individual kuaka would fail. Without the flock it wouldn’t survive. We need the support of knowledgeable elders, both male and female. Young families seem to lack that and need guidance. These cycles or arrival and departure are outcomes of the laws of the universe. We can observe bird behaviour and reflect on our own. After all we are all products of Tane.

Numerous tohunga, kaumatua, kuia, plan their annual cycle around the bird. It is the natural environment, part of natural cycles. The old people of the north would love to share their stories about the kuaka with the young.