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