I took this picture (one of 36) of a lone White Heron (Kotuku) in Whakapuaka Estuary this morning.
In Maori culture one of the highest compliments, is to compare someone to Kotuku. The White Heron symbolise everything rare and beautiful. It is easy to understand why, particularly when they leap into flight with a slow elegant wing beat. Kotuku was believed to be an inhabitant of the the spirit world, hence these words from an old funeral chant...
"Ko to kotuku to tapui, e Tama - e" (Kotuku is now thy sole companion, O my son!).