New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

Restoring Paradise December 5 - 21, 2008 Chapter 1. Introduction

The Maori demi-god, Maui, crouched in the hull of his two older brothers’ waka (ocean-going canoe) on a beautiful Pacific Ocean day of calm waters and blue skies punctuated with floating white clouds. He was hidden because they had refused permission for him to join their daily fishing expedition, as they always did. They said he was too young and would bring them bad luck. The big canoe had set off from their home island, Hawaiiki, its actual location lost in the shadows of time and myth. But Maui was confident he would lead them to many more fish than they had ever caught in a single day, because he was convinced that his forefathers had granted him magical powers. For this adventure, he had woven a special fishing line as instructed by his personal protector. When his brothers discovered him they were already far from land. Exasperated, they realized they would not be able to take him back home before beginning again because the daylight would fade from the sky before they could come back with the day’s catch. So all three began fishing accompanied by thegrumbling of the two brothers. Very soon they realized that they were hauling in a huge number of big and healthy fish, much more than usual. They began to tease Maui about his “magic powers” but were pleased at the take. Suddenly, Maui’s line was almost bent double by the weight of his fish. He called to his brothers to help him pull it in and they hurried to assist him. The effort was enormous but they persevered using every remaining bit of strength they possessed. A huge dorsal fin and long backbone broke the ocean’s surface and they marveled that Maui must have snagged a whale! The great contest continued for several hours before the entire “catch” appeared floating before their wondering eyes. They called the prize “Te Ika a Maui” (Maui’s Big Fish), but today it is known as the North Island of New Zealand. Maori legend insists that this is the true origin

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