He Kuaka


The kuaka has magnetic sense for long distance navigation. They spend, a significant part of the summer loading up on fuel reserves to fly long distances. The bird sets off from Alaska and, flies non-stop to Aotearoa. 

The bird provides a metaphor of facing different wind belts and needing to keep your compass fixed despite challenges. The kuaka flight south starts off in a belt of Westerly winds that blow towards the Pacific. It then strikes a set of variable winds that could take it in any of a number of directions. It then encounters the trade winds in the tropics, and, after that the doldrums, then the south east trades, then another band of variable winds.

 NZ present a target that is only 3.5 degrees wide. The kuaka have got an inbuilt GPS. It can determine its position with 1km to 2 Km anywhere on earth. Have a magnetic map with latitude and longitude. The kuaka have magnetite in their blood. When they are flying at night they can’t see, so just like cook and Tupaea they must be able to determine a positron. A compass on its own is not ood enough

The story of the kuaka has been somewhat lost. We can look back to the 1950s and urban migration whereby after two or three generations acquiring urban memories and losing connections with rural and coastal phenomena.