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The Tale of the Hakawai

Episode:102Te Papa Collection:Natural Environment

Suggested curriculum levels:3 – 7

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Science: Nature of Science Living World

Description:Tales of the giant and terrifying eagle, Te Hokioi were well-known to ancient Māori through myths and legends. Scientists combined these stories with fossil remains to identify the creature. But what of another legendary bird that scared muttonbirders with its fearsome cry as recently as the 1960s?

Questions for students

  1. What is the Hakawai? How did it get this name?
  2. The Hakawai is now extinct in many places. Chart the main reasons for this and name the places where it can still be found. What does this tell you about the ecology of the Hakawai?
  3. What other creatures have stayed 'alive' through myths and legends? Carry out research to find out if there is any truth behind other legendary creatures such as dragons, the phoenix, the dodo or the unicorn.
  4. How would you describe the sound made by the Hakawai? Use the 'Ideas' response template to develop ideas for a story, based on what you've seen and heard of the Hakawai.
  5. Scientists think the Hakawai uses its tail feathers to help produce the loud sound. Explain how they think this is done.

Related templates: