HUIA BIRD

The Huia was a legendary bird native to New Zealand.

The Huia had exceptional dimorphism where there was extreme difference in the shape of the bill between sexes.

Male Huia had a short, robust bill and a strong muscular skull structure suited to ripping open rotting wood. Female Huia had long, thin, curved bills that were suited to extracting the grubs.

This meant the birds paired for life, using their complementary abilities to feed each other and their offspring.

This distinctive feature along with the birds’ beautiful plumage, made it highly prized by international collectors and the Maori, where wearing the Huia feathers was considered an honour.

The Huia feathers were said to represent wisdom, elegance and great dignity.

At Huia Vineyards we share these philosophies to grow and make our selection of organic wines.

Sadly, the bird became extinct in 1907. However there are unconfirmed reports of the Huia birdsong being heard in the isolated Urewera bush around 40 years ago.


INSEPARABLE HUIA

by NZ Artist Dr. Fiona Pardington

To commemorate 20 years of Marlborough's Huia Vineyards, celebrated New Zealand photographer Dr Fiona Pardington (Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe and Ngāti Kahungunu), Chevalier de l'Ordre Française des Arts et des Lettres, has created an original work of a pair of Huia, an extinct native bird of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Huia mated for life, their distinct male and female beaks a result of their close cooperation without which they could not survive. Pardington uses this pair to represent Claire and Mike Allan's love and commitment to each other and the making of fine wines. Like Huia wines, Pardington's photographs are painstakingly created to emphasise their feeling of authenticity, place and the love of the maker.

 
 Maori wahine, Mihiterina Takamoana adorned with Huia feathers, revered by both Maori & Pakeha settlers | painting by Gottfired Lindauer (1839-1926)

Maori wahine, Mihiterina Takamoana adorned with Huia feathers, revered by both Maori & Pakeha settlers | painting by Gottfired Lindauer (1839-1926)

 
meek+artists+portrait+FP+copy.jpg
 Inseparable Huia 2016 | With thanks to Canterbury Museum, New Zealand | ©  Fiona Pardington Courtesy Starkwhite, New Zealand

Inseparable Huia 2016 | With thanks to Canterbury Museum, New Zealand |© Fiona Pardington Courtesy Starkwhite, New Zealand

Pardington has long been drawn to the beautiful Huia, driven to extinction by the demand for its feathers to decorate fashionable ladies' hats  in the nineteenth century and the destruction of its ancient forest habitat. Now examples of the Huia can only be found stuffed in museums and no recording was ever made of their cadenced flute-like call. Pardington captures this poignancy in her photograph, giving them a moment's second chance of life, reminding us to treasure and protect the unique and precious..

Huia feathers were worn by Māori chiefs as symbols of wisdom, dignity and elegance, something that also characterises Pardington's photograpy. These are central values to Huia Vineyards as well: the wisdom of twenty years of hand-crafted wine, the dignity of nurturing the land exclusively through biodynamic and organic practice, and the elegance of wines that speak only of the soil, water, air and geography they came from. - Andrew Paul Wood 

On the evening of celebration we chose a very special hero wine to don Fiona’s magnificent artwork, Her work was lovingly translated to our wine label by her brother, Neil Pardington - a truly gifted artist in his own right.

Inseparable Huia by Fiona Pardington Magnum - Huia Millennial Brut 2000

 For more photos by Bonny Beattie of our celebration night, visit the Journal entry  here .

For more photos by Bonny Beattie of our celebration night, visit the Journal entry here.