A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree

Learn about NZ through a Maori Christmas Song:

Pukeko, Photo by Richard SeamanPonga Tree photo I took from Rangitoto IslandOn the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(The pukeko is a native bird, also known as the purple swamphen.

The ponga tree, or the silver fern, is a common tree in New Zealand which is associated with all things New Zealand. An unofficial symbol, it is also the popular “All Blacks” rugby team logo.)

All Blacks Rugby team

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(Kumara is a popular native sweet potato.)

Kumera, Photo from thefoodcoach

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

Flax kit bags from Toy Planet

(Flax kits are bags made from flax, a popular New Zealand fiber.)

Huhu grub photo fro Socy BertyOn the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(Huhu grubs are an edible endemic beetle found in New Zealand. They are said to taste like buttery chicken.)

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

Awwww Pigs, photo from UNH

PoiPoi from Aloha Hula SupplyOn the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(Poi is a performance art involving weights attached to the end of strings. It is very common in the traditional Maori, and it is said that practicing poi keeps wrists nimble and the Maori used poi to keep in shape when the threat of attacks was imminent.)

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven eels a swimming, six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

eel_wikipedia(The longfin eel can be found in many places around New Zealand. Andrew and I saw several in the Rotorua area. The longfin eel, also known as a tuna in Maori, is a threatened species but one which the Maori used to eat and are still fished today.)

Puha from  nmessencesOn the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight plants of puha, seven eels a swimming, six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(The puha is a common plant, a weed similar to the dandelion. It is a bitter tasting plant, but can be used as salad greens and many encourage eating the bitter plant to aid in digestion.)

Pipis from the Australian Museum webpageOn the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine sacks of pipis, eight plants of puha, seven eels a swimming, six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(Pipis are bivalve mollusks common at beaches around New Zealand. They are edible and commonly served in fritters. The Maori ate pipis regularly and used to collect the shellfish in flax kit baskets which allowed smaller ones to fall back to the beach and continue to grow.)

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten juicy fish heads, nine sacks of pipis, eight plants of puha, seven eels a swimming, six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

Teethy fish

Haka of Tamararo Kapa at Foulk MaoriHaka at All Blacks gameOn the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven haka lessons, ten juicy fish heads, nine sacks of pipis, eight plants of puha, seven eels a swimming, six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

(Haka is a traditional dance and war cry of the Maori. The dance involves tensing all muscles in your body and lots of jumping and stomping. The New Zealand national rugby team has taken to performing a haka prior to their games, giving the dance more recognition around the world.)

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twleve piupius swinging, eleven haka lessons, ten juicy fish heads, nine sacks of pipis, eight plants of puha, seven eels a swimming, six pois a twirling,  five, big fat pigs! Four huhu grubs, three flax kits, two kumara and a pukeko in a ponga tree!

Piupiu from  Te Papa Museum  Piupiu(Piupiu’s are the traditional Maori skirts or kilts. Often made from flax.)

Have a wonderful Christmas or simply enjoy the day off all!

Song by Kingi Ihaka, 1981

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