morepork owl in maori mythology

Ruru in Māori Mythology

Ruru (Morepork) in Maori Mythology

  • The Ruru is a powerful figure in Maori mythology and tradition.

    Morepork Owl Ruru

    Being said to originate from the underworld, the morepork (ruru) is strongly associated with the spirit world in Māori mythology. For example, it is believed that if a morepork sits conspicuously nearby or enters a house there will be a death in the family and in times gone by these strong beliefs led to some Taranaki Māori eating morepork, believing that it would prolong their lives.

    The ancestral spirit of a family group can take the form of a ruru in some Māori tradition. This spirit is known as Hine-ruru, the 'owl woman'. It is believed that these owl spirits can act as kaitiaki or guardians and have the power to protect, warn and advise.

    While its high piercing ‘quee’ call spells bad news, its normal ‘more-pork’ call means that good news is on its way.