Story suggested by Veronica Wilson Tuesday 16 March
The bellbird is called korimako or makomako in Maori and is endemic to New Zealand.
These birds are a type of honeyeater, a bird that mainly feeds on nectar. They mainly sip nectar from native and introduced plants. However, they also feed on fruits and will even eat insects. Sadly, it is one of the native birds that is impacted by the introduction of exotic mammalian species like stoats, rats and possums.
The blooms of the kōwhai are widely regarded as being New Zealand’s national flower
The word kōwhai is also used in the Maori language for the colour yellow, because of the bright colour of the flowers
Bellbird song can be heard all over New Zealand, but it is Tuis’ calls which are more widelyknown, starting with Wellington airport where taped recordings echo continuously through the building.
Bellbirds and Tuis can be heard all over the country in woodlands and add a sweet and almost mystic experience.
The bird and the flower and especially the birdsong are New Zealand icons. The bird itself is not particularly remarkable other than its song. Brown and similar hues seem to be the most popular colours for inhabitants, other than the flashy Tui.
Sadly there are very few bird types in New Zealand. Born and bred Kiwis are amazed by the plethora of birds in neighbouring Australia and the raucous cacophony they create. They somewhat resent the few rainbow lorikiets that have been blown across the Tasman to North Island. They are very loud and garish – quintessentially Australian.
But Kiwis love what they have got, and that is good.