Story: First peoples in Māori tradition

New Zealand king shag

New Zealand king shag

Te Kawau-a-Toru was a sacred bird – a king shag, also known as a cormorant – loyal to Kupe. Possessing a huge wingspan, he was reputed to be ‘the eye of the ancestor’ – a special bird with insights into ancient knowledge. Kupe also had a pet pigeon, Rupe, who is said to have found so much food in the South Island’s forests that he neglected Kupe and remained there.

About this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10038112
Photograph by Andy Cox

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'First peoples in Māori tradition - Kupe', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 March 2018)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 8 Feb 2005