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Atua Hine Raukatauri loves her flute so much that she becomes a case a moth so she can live out her days inside her instrument, a pūtōrino. Her playing is the most beautiful music in all of the forest and the magic of her song is irresistible. Away in the distance Tāne Pēpepe hears her waiata and falls in love with her immediately. He must find her, and follows the sound. They meet, and Raukatauri too, falls in love. She lays her eggs in the bottom of her case, lying down to nurse her babies, and surrendering her own life that they can become strong and healthy. Tāne Pēpepe is heartbroken that they cannot be together, and cries out in a song of deep sadness as he leaves to die of grief, alone. When the tamariki are grown they eat a doorway across the middle of their whare and leave home. The boys fly out and away, and the girls climb up and out across the branch to find a place to make their own beautiful case to live within.
Sometimes when we hear softly beautiful yet indecipherable sounds in the forest we say it is the voice of Raukatauri's daughter, Wheke.
Composed for 'Force of Nature: Celebrating 100 Years of Forest & Bird'
17 Mar 2023: Auckland Arts Festival | Force of Nature