Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuke in NZ Geographic

I just finished reading the great article "The Also Wren" by Kennedy Warne in the New Zealand Geographic (Num 97, May - June 2009). Warne's article traverses much of the relevant Rock Wren terrain in time and space. From Guthrie Smiths encounters near Milford to the work undertaken by Sue Heath and now Megan Willans in the Murchison Mountains. From the New Zealand wrens in history to the efforts of modern day philanthtopists like Barry Dent and Sue Freitag preventing the rock wren becoming history.

Most importantly though the article examines the trends in time and space. A rock wren reduction of 44% in 30 years in the Murchison Mountains study area, and an overall according to an analysis undertaken by Heath and Peter Gaze of DOC "the rock wrens range had decreased by a quarter since 1984".

Not wanting to take two much from the article which is studded with great quotes from the likes of Herbert Guthrie Smith and great photos, I thought I might just reveal what it says about the meanings of the rock wrens two Maori names...piwauwau and tuke... "Piwauwau means "little complaining bird" - a touch unfortunate, given its merry tweet. Another name for the rock wren is tuke, which can mean elbow, a possible but misleading reference to the rock wren's prominent stripe above the eye (which is by no means elbow-angled), or twitch, a logical allusion to the wren's distinctive bobbing up and down"...Tuke it is then!