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Orbell uncovers the fascinating history of the relationship between Maori and the birds they found in Aotearoa, New Zealand, from the largest of the Moa to 'little birds', like the tiny rifleman. The Maori birds have been a constant source of ideas and metaphors because of their power of light, their songs, their beauty and the variation in their appearance and behaviour. Orbell recounts the traditions explaining the birds' origins and natures, quotes from songs that they appear in, and provides scientific information. The book is illustrated with a wide range of images, from reproductions of early charcoal drawings, to colour paintings and photographs.