25 May 2017

Te Huia. Gone But Not Forgotten.


My favourite bird in the whole world is the huia.(Big call)
From her white tipped blacky- purple metallic tail feathers to her long slender curved ivory beak. A beauty she must have been to watch in our ngahere. Teaming up with her male,the couple would work together using each others skills to probe and forage for difficult- to- get kai.
"Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou..."
You can imagine my absolute joy when my librarian/kaiako friend Kristin showed me the book "12 Huia Birds" a beautifully written and illustrated book on the demise of the huia.
I quickly flicked through the book and  found the amazing illustrations haunting and mysterious. So intrigued by it that I raced to the nearest place I could purchase it.(Impulsive? Yes but worth it.)


Here is a blurb about the kaituhituhi -Julian Stokoe and the ringatoi Stacy Eyles.

Julian Stokoe is a creative director of animation and interactive media. He is also a children's book author with a keen interest in conservation issues.

The tale of the huia has so many compelling story beats. From their unique appearance and special place in Maori culture to their extinction related to an international fashion for wearing their tail feather in hats. The tragedy of the loss, so recently in New Zealand history adds extra potency to the story's power to speak for the wider topic of extinct and endangered species.

Huia were last seen in Julian's childhood district of the Tararua region. But there is no huia bird monument or even lessons about the huia in the local schools. The bird was in danger of going extinct again in the common memory of the place where it once lived. Hoping to safeguard the story for the current and future generations is what propelled Julian to write and produce 12 Huia Birds as a print and interactive digital book.

"The huia might have vanished but their story can still live on to be understood by the current and next generations. Even now we are repeating the same actions that led to the extinction of the huia such as with Maui dolphin and kauri forests."

Stacy Eyles


Stacy Eyles (Ngāti Porou) is an art director, artist, and award-winning illustrator based in Wellington. He produces work in many different media, ranging from canvas and murals to clothing and television.

The illustrations and text really go well together. My friend used it with her Year 1's. They loved it. It could definitely be read to and utilised  by Year 7 & 8's.
The package gets better and better. It is available as an app with games, huia facts and ideas on conservation/ kaitiakitanga. This resource would be awesome to begin a kaitiakitanga  inquiry topic.
But the best thing,besides the app being free, the story has a te reo Māori version read by George Henare.
If you would like some free downloadable resources and teachers notes, here is the webpage.
I had often wondered why we never learnt anything about this bird at school. In actual fact it wasn't until I left school that I found out it was extinct. I am so happy our ākonga will be able to  have a cool interactive way of engaging with an extinct manu māori. (manu māori=native bird).

As Julian says , the huia live on in pictures and products, street names and cafe's and now in this book and app.
When I left my last school, the lovely Kaurilands I was fortunate to receive a beautiful painting by a local ringatoi Tracey Henderson. Now I have a painting and a book to bring my favourite bird to life.


Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou-Julian, Stacey and Tracey.


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