Kōkō - a gift from Tane story banner

URL: https://datastore.landcareresearch.co.nz/dataset/421fc3a5-4908-45bf-a586-1dfa730a7cae/resource/85c55286-d1e1-40bc-8737-3ba399a5aaef/download/tui_banner1_f05c.jpg

Kōkō – a gift to Tāne

The kōkō is also associated with the star Rehua (Antares). In a story retold here by Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe), Tāne ascended to the heavens to seek knowledge.

Before Tāne returned to Papatūānuku, the supernatural being Rehua gifted him kōkō and other creatures to populate Papatūānuku, the earth. The kōkō, the tātarakihi (cicada), the kēkerewai (mānuka chafer beetle), the hākūwai, and the pihareinga (black field cricket) were collectively referred to as Ngā manu a Rehua (the ‘birds’, or flighted creatures of Rehua). Other creatures, including the korokoro (lamprey), the moki, the kohikohi (trumpeter fish), the kaiherehere (a type of eel), the maomao and the inanga were referred to collectively as Ngā pōtiki a Rehua (Rehua’s infants).

Ngā manu a Rehua and Ngā pōtiki a Rehua are a group of stars near Rehua and below the constellation of Te waka o Mairerangi (the body of Scorpio).

Rehua adorned the kōkō with a whetū (star) on its neck to bring a voice and to remind everyone of its origin.

Kōkō (or tūī) - a bird with many names

As the tūī (or Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae in Latin) is such a lively and beautiful bird, it is not surprising it has many different Māori and English names. Although most of the tūī’s names reflect its behaviour and appearance, Māori names for tūī also vary depending on the time of year, the bird’s location and sex. Here we illustrate with a few examples how the tūī’s name has changed over time.


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