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Special Corner - Ken Mills Maori little people November 17, 2012

The Little People.

My first thoughts about reading my chosen poem were that I had no idea of Maori Folk Lore and if the story would have any meaning. I set about searching for Maori legends and discovered a whole new field of interest also that I was not alone in my thinking. So I am quite happy to introduce you to an Englishman's view of the Little People. I might also add that these are common in Ireland, the Isle of Man and of course many other lands.

I wish to tell of my inner joy in New Zealand that I never had the experience of before.

I have been here for a good many years now and have always appreciated the scenery and the Forrest. Later when I had the time to relax and enjoy the sound of the birds each morning, the Bell bird so clear and crisp. To experience the Kakapo, the loveable little Fan Tail and so many others. As was my custom I set out a large bowl so the birds could drink and bath plus I noticed the odd cat also used it, plus an assortment of food. It was not long before the birds came ready for my daily handout, many would sit on the clothes line ready to pounce, the smaller birds looked for the smaller pieces or took a piece away to enjoy.

At some stage I moved to a property next to a Bush reserve and it was here after a short while that I met the little people. Or Patu-paiarehe as they are known by Maori.

As was my custom I set out the feeding bowl and water. But here things started to change as I had ventured into the bush and began to notice what I can only describe as a small platform as though something took place there; this intrigued me so I also placed a bowl of water and food and began to watch. Now I have always loved cats and had a large black Persian called Sasha. This could have been a problem, but Sasha sensed quickly that I did not wish her to do damage so she would keep her distance.

After a few weeks I began to see more of what I thought was strange shadows dancing about understand I was some distance away and I also noted that the food was missing more often and the water diminishing more rapidly. Then I started to think more about what I was seeing and decided that I was privileged in seeing the Little People. Many tales and stories have been written about Elves and Fairies and it was not something you would speak of too freely about actually seeing them.

But I had no choice and I carried on and built up a relationship more or less with these little people as I like to call them, now maybe they are Elves I am not sure if they are the same. But they display a strange aura when they gather around and perform their dance among the trees at least that is what it seems to me they are doing but on the other hand it could be a ritual of some sort for they certainly seem able to communicate within the Forrest.

Here in New Zealand many of the Maori people easily accept that all of nature is a part of the great spiritual concourse such as the River, Lakes, Mountains the Trees and Land all have spirits. They are said to always offer prayers whenever they take anything from these natural resources and in fact when writing this story original some years ago there was a very important discussion on these very resources concerning this understanding.

So I see no problem with these little people among these giant trees and maybe they are only seen among the forest as it protects them.

Well unfortunately as life moves on I never found the same kind of environment a great pity; this gave me more zeal to save our Forrest and Lakes as they also are used by many of our animals and birds.

Yours Ken Mills.

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