The kiore or Pacific rat was brought to New Zealand by the ancestors of Māori in the 13th century. Though the rats have been targeted for eradication because of their effect on the environment, there has been a push to preserve some. The Ngātiwai tribe see themselves as kaitiaki (guardians) of the kiore. Knowledge about the arrival of the kiore in New Zealand is recorded in their genealogies. As Hori Parata, the environmental kaitiaki for the Ngātiwai Māori Trust Board has noted: ‘Ngātiwai are the guardians of the kiore and have been from the time we all first arrived in this land. Despite the stories that have been told about the coming of the kiore, the real knowledge rests with the genealogies and with our ancestors.’
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Dick Veitch
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