IWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS
Tukukino was one of a handful of land activists of his
generation.1 He was a rangatira of Ngāti Hako and Ngāti
Tamatera and fiercely resisted the opening up of Ohinemuri for
goldmining. It's hard to imagine what it might have felt like back
in his time to have had a road cut through one's backyard and be
forced to defend tangible and intangible aspects of one's Māori
legacy, traditions and life pathways.
Goldmining was eventually opened up at Ohinemuri and in the
greater Thames district. Ngāti Hako and Ngāti Tamatera lands came
into the hands of the government. Tukukino had kinship ties to Taraia Ngākuti and to Mere Kuru
who was also an irrepressible environmental activist.2
In this portrait of Tukukino he is wearing a puhoi or skin of a
huia, minus the tail feathers in his ear as adornment. A
beautiful, trusting and inquisitive bird, the huia was reputed to
sing soft and clear flute-like songs. The twelve white-tipped tail
feathers of the huia were prestigious trading items and a treasured
New settlers also wanted huia plumes to wear in hatbands and
they were eagerly collected by museums to stuff and send to Europe
for display. Along with this demand, the introduction of stoats,
cats and rats, resulted in the extinction of the huia. The last
recorded sighting of the bird was in 1907.
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