Story: Bird migration

Godwits in flight

Godwits in flight

Before the development of international communication, the mysterious seasonal arrival and departure of thousands of migratory birds, such as these bar-tailed godwits, raised questions as to where they went. Nests, eggs or chicks of certain species are never seen in New Zealand. Māori believed that they returned to Hawaiki, the spiritual homeland, to breed. Godwits may have guided the first Polynesian settlers across the Pacific towards New Zealand.

Using this item

Private collection
Photograph by Brian Chudleigh

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Christina Troup, 'Bird migration - The phenomenon of migration', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/7208/godwits-in-flight (accessed 18 July 2019)

Story by Christina Troup, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015