While in the Abel Tasman National Park, Kyle Mulinder (Bare Kiwi) from Abel Tasman Kayaks, our guide for the trip, told us an amazing story.
This particular story really stuck with our German Trade Ambassador, Michél, so much so that he felt he wanted to share this with others.
A re-telling by Michél Pretzsch, as originally told by Kyle Mulinder (Bare Kiwi)
“At first, all the lines that Kyle was carving into the sands on this breathtakingly beautiful and deserted beach, deep in the Abel Tasman National Park, made very little sense. But his voice was shaking, almost trembling with excitement, as he told us the story of Māui, who, disregarding the warnings of his two older brothers, secretly climbed into their canoe (waka) to go fishing with them.
He begun fishing and quickly started fighting with a huge fish that had taken hold of his magical fish hook. Despite the shouts from his brothers to let go, Māui tried vainly to pull this massive fish into the canoe.
POW! Kyle pounds the sand with his tool, exclaiming that the fish had taken a bite out of the canoe, then how the brothers jumped onto the fish, beating and cutting away at it.
I was beginning to realize what he was drawing in the sand, and the significance of the story he was telling us in New Zealand history. It was nothing less than the Māori legend of the origin of New Zealand.
Suddenly everything started to make sense. The lines in the sand were the outline of a canoe and the fish, which was strikingly similar to the shape of the North Island - it’s head in the south, and tail in the north. Even the sculpted sand dorsal fin on its back was roughly where the volcanoes of the Tongariro region are found.
We were standing at the top of the canoe outline with the jagged line where Kyle had smashed his tool and, there on the picturesque beach at the top of the South Island of Aotearoa, we realized that, from above, this rugged coastline of bays and fiords would look remarkably like the bite marks.
We were looking at a Map of New Zealand!
The two Islands: "Te Ika a Māui", the Fish of Māui, and "Te Waka a Māui”, the canoe of Māui.
The story of the islands is still lovingly shared by the New Zealanders today. And before we set off with our kayaks to explore the National Park, Kyle asked the crucial question, which forever will remain in my mind:
“This story has been told for many centuries, but how did the Māori know what the islands looked like from above?"
It was probably the moment I fell in love with this wonderful country, with all its natural and cultural beauty.”
To read the full Blog, check out Michél’s Bio with more photos, videos and his highlights from the trip.
Kyle still guides in Abel Tasman, watch his video here to find out more about “Bare Kiwi”.