Story: Shags

Sky dancer

Sky dancer

In Māori legend the seabirds and the birds of the land went to war. Shags instigated the battle after the pied shag of the sea visited the inland black shag, and decided that he preferred the taste of river eels. On returning to the coast, he called upon the seabirds to invade the land birds. Author Witi Ihimaera took up this legend and developed a novel, Sky dancer, around it. This is its cover, with a pied shag and a tropicbird bearing a moko or chin tattoo.

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Penguin New Zealand
Photograph by Brian Chudleigh of a design by Nik Andrew

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How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Shags - Black-footed shags', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 March 2023)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 11 Jul 2016