Aug. 12, 2017, 1:53 p.m.
Every August the Pārengareanga harbour welcomes the kuaka otherwise known as the godwit, back to Aotearoa. The kuaka arrives from Russia. Flying from the far reaches of the northern hemisphere to Aotearoa and back again. World wide, this journey is the longest any migratory bird make.
The bird arrives to eat the toke moana and other sea creatures, its purpose is to replenish it’s self. While in New Zealand, the birds also replace their flight feathers, growing new ones so that they will be strong enough to last their next round jouney of 30,000 km flight. The birds do not breed in Aotearoa but only visit to feed.
A Te Aupōuri tribal aphorism makes mention of this. Kua kitea raini te ohanga o te kuaka? Have you ever seen the nest of the Kuaka? In this sense the kuaka has been revered with mystery. The kuaka was also once a part of the late summer diet of tangata whenua. Another tribal aphorism mentions the connection of the kuaka and the navigational pathways of our ancestral waka, that brought our people to Aotearoa. He kāhui kuaka ki te rangi - He kāhui waka ki te Moana. The kuaka is also associated with the spirits of the dead as they return to Hawaiki Nui Hawaiki Roa, Hawaiki Pamoamoa.