I didn’t know that

So I tripped over a blog in which the kite of Maui is mentioned…

Me, trying to decipher correct pronunciation of Polynesian word… “keee…tay?”





in Moana, we see kids flying kites.

Is that a cute anachronism, sort of like Maui “tweeting”…?


eh, no.

The kite thing is for real.


Kites were flown for recreation, but they also had other purposes. They were used for divination – to gauge whether an attack on an enemy stronghold would be successful, or to locate wrongdoers. They were also a means of communication. It is said that when the founding ancestor of Ngāti Porou, Porourangi, died in Whāngārā, on the East Coast, a kite was flown and his brother Tahu, the founding ancestor of Ngāi Tahu, was able to see it from the South Island. Sometimes people would release a kite and follow it, claiming and occupying the place where it landed.

Manu means both kite and bird.

Some of these were pretty serious…

The large manu whara was tapu, and made by priests for divination. Flying it required the strength of several men. Made from tree roots, raupō and toetoe, the sticks of the frame projected upwards and could injure or kill people if it landed abruptly.



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