mauri warrior with Kahu feather head plume

Kahu in Maori Mythology

Maori & Birds of Prey / kahu in Maori Mythology

  • The Kahu is also commonly referred to in Maori mythology.

    bird of prey feathers - Kahu Harrier

    The Kahu (Swamp Harrier) appears in Maori mythology in the story of Maui. During this story the colour of the Kahu’s plumage is told to be the result of it having been scorched by the fire of Mahuika.

    A Kahu seen flying over a village during a tribal meeting was seen as a good sign, and the phrase "E hui o nga kahu" refers to a meeting of the maori chiefs.

    Harriers were commonly caught in snare type traps known as ‘wiwia’ for their feathers. These traps were constructed from rushes and long grasses and the feathers were commonly used as head plumes known as ‘piki kahu’ or for decorating traditional flax baskets known as ‘kete’.

    maori warrior: Te Puia, NZ Maori Arts & Crafts Inc.