Pīwakawaka pounamu earrings te Tahi
These green beauties are a tribute to the piwakawaka (fantail) and its incredible tail. Hung from our rolled gold hoops they swing and move in our ears just like the dance of the fantail. Is there any other tail quite like it? That fan – form and function. It’s a creative masterpiece.
Pīwakawaka are an integral part of life here in Aotearoa and play an important role in many Māori legends.
Indeed it is even said that the haka owes some of its movements to the dance of the Piwakawaka. During a battle between the sea manu and land manu Piwakawaka went to the seas edge, taiaha in hand, and in a warring passion he danced and glared and performed all manner of gesticulations toward the sea manu. And so some of the movements of haka emulate this.
When Māui was seeking the source of fire Piwakawaka refused to tell Māui where his tūpuna Mahuika kept it hidden. In retaliation Maui took the bird and squeezed it so hard that its eyes nearly popped out, hence their prominence now. This also explains why its tail projects so far behind its body and why it flies so erratically.
Pīwakawaka, so cheeky and mischievous, even caused the death of Maui. Some say it was in revenge for the way Māui squeezed him and changed his shape. You see piwakawaka couldn’t keep quiet when Māui tried to sneak up on Hine-Nui-Te-Po (his grandmother and the goddess of death) and eradiate death. Piwakawaka began laughing, waking Hine-nui-te-Po who promptly killed Māui.
So you can see, Pīwakawaka are a staple part of life here in Aotearoa. I think we all love them, don’t we? Cheeky little manu who love to come and play around us while singing their happy little song. And here is our contemporary nod to them and their incredible tails.
- Kawakawa pounamu from Te Tai Poutini
- One of a kind taonga by Timoti
- 94mm from hoop to bottom. Pounamu 77mm
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