New Zealand // Fiordland //

Tu-to-Raki-whanoa and Te Namu


In Maori legend Fiordland came into being when the great god Tu-te-raki-whanoa hewed the rough gashes of the southern fiords around Preservation Inlet and Dusky Sound, leaving Resolution and Secretary islands where his feet stood. He honed his skill as he worked north, reaching perfection with the more sharply defined Milford Sound (Piopiotahi).

After creating this spectacular landscape, he was visited by Te-Hine-nui-to-po, goddess of death, who feared the vista created by Tu was so wonderful that people would want to live here forever. To remind humans of their mortality, she freed namu (sandflies), at Te Namu-a-Te-Hine-nui-te-po (Sandfly Point), at the end of the Milford Track. And the pesky bugs have certainly had the desired effect. In 1773, when Cook entered Dusky Sound, he was already familiar with the sandfly:

The most mischievous animal here is the small black sandfly which are exceedingly numerous and are so troublesome that they exceed everything of the kind I ever met with… The almost continual rain may be reckoned another inconvenience attending this Bay.

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