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hoiho: yellow-eyed penguin

Seven kinds of penguins come onto our shores to breed and raise their chicks. Then they all go back to sea. All except for one. All except for hoiho: the yellow-eyed, the yellow-crowned.

Each morning of the year, hoiho leave the land. Into the surf – hopping, flopping, jumping, & diving.

Underwater their stiff flippers flap like wings. Down deep down (up to 160m) they hunt near the ocean floor.

It’s said that this way of flying underwater was a gift of Tane. Toroa (the albatross), and tawaki (a crested penguin), argued and argued about which one was better at flying and fishing. On-and-on it went, until Tane changed both their wings.

“Tawaki”, he said, “you will be the only bird to have these narrow, flipper-like wings. Now you can fly below the ocean waves, and catch all the fish you need.”

Only a few hoiho are left. Still they live on the southeast coast of te Waipounamu (the South Island), and on many sub-Antarctic islands.

In Cloak of Protection, hoiho is eaten by ferret, cat, stoat and adzebill

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