An encounter with a Wild Man in Southland


In some notes which Mr. James Cowan kindly gave to the collector to make use of as desired, occurs the story of Sandy’s shooting expedition. The collector was also told this tale, but as Mr. Cowan’s account is fuller it is herewith presented:—“In the very early days Sandy, a pakeha, met a Maero on Puke-maeroero (‘Fairy Hill’—between Tautuku and Hakopa). The Maoris warned him that there were fairies there, but he would go. Into the dense forests he went shooting and firing at kereru (or kuku, pigeon). He hit a kereru and it dropped flopping to the ground. Just as he went forward to pick it up, suddenly a terrible figure—a wild, hairy man of the woods—appeared and menaced him. Sandy immediately rammed down a charge into his gun and hurriedly fired at the Maero at very close range. The shot should have struck him, but he was no mortal man to be killed by shot. He laughed loudly, snatched up the pigeon and disappeared into the woods—ka mauria te manu—carrying the bird. Sandy’s shooting was over for that time, and he got out of the bush with speed.”

From the Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 28, No. 112 –  Traditions and legends. Collected from the natives of Murihiku. (Southland, New Zealand) Part XI, by H. Beattie 1919

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