The Kaka and the Tui in the Kowhai tree

This is the Kowhai, the New Zealand native spring blossom tree:

We were in the Wellington Botanical Gardens yesterday evening where there are a number of  Kowhai trees in flower.  “Kowhai” (ko’fai) is the widely used Maori name for this tree.  It means “yellow”.  It flowers in Spring, a mass of beautiful yellow bell-shaped flowers.  Nectar rich, they attract nectar loving birds from all over the city, particularly the Tui, one of New Zealand’s iconic native birds.

It was glorious to hear them singing away in clear, bell-toned notes.  Each tui has a different song.  They are also great mimics, and some times they pick up songs that are not so wonderful…

We were extra surprised to see this rare kaka (rhymes with baa) in the tree!  A worried tui (you can see him at the bottom of the picture) tracked it, seemingly saying “Hey, what are you doing?? That’s my food! Don’t eat it all!!”  The kaka, a New Zealand native parrot, is an endangered bird.  They have a typical raucous parrot screech, but they can also emit a beautiful clear melodic tone as well.

Here’s a clearer picture of the kaka – unfortunately the sky got blanked out, but you can see the bird better:

Thanks to the efforts of Zealandia (formerly the Karori Sanctuary) they are becoming quite a common site in this part of Wellington. If you click the link I’ve provided to Zealandia and wait a second or two, you should hear some lovely birdsong when the page opens up (including the tui’s).  It’s birdsong that is thankfully becoming more common in suburbs around the sanctuary (including mine) as the birds branch out from their base.  Zealandia is not caged in – there is predator-exclusion fencing, but the birds are free to fly in and out they please.

Here’s a better pic of the tui.  Such a pretty bird!  You can just see the white stripey collar and the iridescent black feathers that shine with a green tinge in the light.

It was a lovely interlude on a gorgeous afternoon.

On another note, thanks so much to everyone who has shown interest in the Strong Heart mittens!  It made me so happy to see all the interest in them.  🙂

Don’t forget – two more days before the giveaway closes.  If you’d like the chance to try some New Zealand yarn for yourself, go ahead and leave me a comment as per the instructions!

I realise I forgot to show you pictures the other day.  These are the two balls of Zealana’s beautiful Rimu:

And these are the two balls of Stansborough’s wonderful Mythral:

On the knitting front, some happy knitting has been taking place…  I’ll be back soon with news on the knitting front.

15 thoughts on “The Kaka and the Tui in the Kowhai tree

  1. For years I wouldn’t go to Zealandia because of their high entry fees. Once we did start going though, we all love it!

    1. The entry fees are an issue with me too. I should save up for a membership so we can go as much as we like. It’s so worth the visit.

  2. Wow, you certainly live in a beautiful country ! Loved to hear the birdsong to go with the pictures, should be great to hear that ‘live’ 🙂
    I also love that blossom tree… Actually, I love both spring and autumn most, for their temps, too, but mostly for its colour and all.. always so much to see !

    1. Good point. I was thinking the same thing about Spring today. Although it makes me feel sad that warmer weather is approaching, it’s lovely to see all those colours and catch the enthusiasm of the animals and birds as they celebrate the return of warmer weather (and food).

  3. Thank you for the link, they sounded lovely. We didn’t get to Wellington on our trip last year. Maybe next time. I loved New Zealand, we had a wonderful time. You live in a beautiful place. ps Like the yarn too!

  4. Thanks for that. I miss the Wellington Botanic Gardens – my old weekly knitting destination. The tuis are one of the things I miss most about Wellington, they were always so beautiful, I loved listening to them. And Zealandia is awesome – such an amazing place!!

  5. I love to visit you because I feel the love your have for New Zeland. I learn so many wonderful things. Thank you for that! Those birds are just lovely.
    The yarn of course is love. 🙂

  6. Love the photo’s i live near there and the trees are beautiful and the birds are great also. Though those Kaka can be very loud at times!!

  7. I remember when I was very young and visiting Wellington, it was a huge deal to see the Tui. There would be loads of people outside with cameras any time one flew by. When I was there two years ago, it was no big deal. I hope that the Kaka’s numbers grow to the point where it is no big deal to see them around.

    1. That’s a great memory to share. Thank you! I remember when I was young, there was only one tui in my area. We knew it was the same one because it was the same song all the time. It’s wonderful that the tui has regenerated to the extent that it is a relatively common bird now. I hope the trend continues!

  8. Congratulations on publishing your design! I admire anyone who can design a knitted garment.
    The most I ever do is tinker a little with a pattern and then with great trepidation.

    The air is thick with Tui song and their swooping flight right now too. I just love the resurgence of all our native birds and plants:-)))

    No Kaka in Porirua as far as I know.

  9. I come home to New Zealand every year but have not been to Wellington in many years -your post has me convinced that I need to in March .I love your blog -its beautifully written and photographed. The mittens are wonderful -they are next on my list. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. 🙂 Wellington is a good base to explore the Wairarapa as well. The flax will be flowering in March and you’ll get to see the tui close up as they feast on the flowers!

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