This bird, the Hokioi, was seen by our ancestors. We (of the present day) have not seen it - that bird has disappeared now-a-days. The statement of our ancestors was that it was a powerful bird, a very powerful bird. It was a very large hawk. Its resting place was on the top of mountains; it did not rest on the plains. On the days in which it was on the wing our ancestors saw it; it was not seen every day as its abiding place was on the mountains. Its colour was red and black and white. It was a bird of (black) feathers, tinged with yellow and green; it had a bunch of red feathers on top of its head. It was a large bird, as large as a Moa. Its rival was the Hawk. The Hawk said it could reach the heavens; the Hokioi said it could reach the heavens; there was contention between them. The Hokioi said to the Hawk, "What shall be your sign?" The Hawk replied, "Kei" (the peculiar cry of the hawk). Then the Hawk asked, "What is to be your sign?" The Hokioi replied, "Hokioi-hokioi-hu-u." These were their words. They then flew and approached the heavens. The winds and the clouds came. The Hawk called out "Kei" and descended, it could go no further on account of the winds and the clouds, but the Hokioi disappeared into the heavens. "Kei" is the cry of the Hawk. "Hokioi-hokioi" is the cry of the Hokioi. "Hu-u" is the noise caused by the wings of the Hokioi. It was recognized by the noise of its wings when it descends to earth.

Description of the extinct gigantic bird of prey Hokioi, by a Maori; communicated to Sir G. Grey; Wellington Philosophical Society, 23rd October, 1872. The side illustration shows the Hikioi's claw beside that of its near relative, the Australian Little Eagle

1 comment:

The Collector said...

Haast's Eagle, a.k.a hokioi or pouakai, has just recently reared its head in the news again. I wrote something about it at http://seansturm.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/haasts-eagle-is-real/