New Zealand’s indigenous people are called Māori. They migrated there around 700 years ago from Polynesia. Due to their isolation, they developed a very rich culture and distinct social customs. Their myth about why the Kiwi doesn’t fly also features the Pūkeko (also known as the purple swamp hen or pook) is a lesson about not being whiney:

A forest god asked a bunch of birds to eat the bugs on the floor of the forest because the trees thought the bugs were gross. “Will you come down from the tree tops and eat these bugs?”

The Pūkeko was like, “No way, Bro. It’s all wet and yucko down there.”

After a long silence, the Kiwi said, “Ok. I’ll eat the bugs.” Kiwi was rewarded for his generous spirit with losing his colorful feathers and the ability to fly, but became the most well-loved bird in the land.

And because of his reluctance to help, the Pūkeko must now forever live in the yucko swamps.

Least Concern



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