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The Maori legend of how the Kiwi lost his wings is a children's favorite

Tanemahuta was walking through the forest and noticed that bugs were eating the trees. He called all the birds, and asked for one of them to live on the ground to save the trees and the rest of the birds. First Tanemahuta asked the Tui, but he was afraid of the cold and the dark. Next, he turned to Pukeko, who did not want to get his feet wet on the ground. Pipiwharauroa was busy building his nest, so he did not want to come down and live on the forest floor. Finally, Tanemahuta turned to Kiwi and asked, "Kiwi, will you come down and live on the ground?" Kiwi said, "I will." Tanemahuta knew he needed to warn Kiwi of what would happen to him. He would lose his beautifully colored feathers and wings and not be able to fly anymore, and his legs would grow thick and strong so he could survive on the cold, hard ground. And Kiwi would never see the light of day again. Again he asked Kiwi to come down, and Kiwi did.

Then Tanemahuta punished the other birds. He gave Tui two white feathers at his throat to mark him as a coward. Pukeko was banished to always live in the swamp because he didn't want to get his feet wet, and Pipiwharauroa would never build another nest, but instead lay eggs in other birds' nests. Finally, he turned to Kiwi. "Because of your great sacrifice by coming to the forest floor, you will be the most famous and loved bird of them all."

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