morepork owl in maori mythology

Ruru in Maori Mythology

Maori & Birds of Prey / Ruru in Maori Mythology

  • The Ruru is a powerful figure in Maori mythology and tradition.

    Morepork Owl Ruru

    Being said to originate from the underworld, the Morepork (Ruru) is strongly associated with the spirit world in Maori mythology. For example, it is believed that if a Morepork sits conspicuously nearby or enters a house there will be a death in the family and in times gone by these strong beliefs led to some Taranaki Maori eating Morepork, believing that it would prolong their lives.

    The ancestral spirit of a family group can take the form of a Ruru in some Maori tradition. This spirit is known as Hine-ruru, the 'owl woman'. It is believed that these owl spirits can act as kaitiaki or guardians and have the power to protect, warn and advise.

    While it’s high piercing ‘quee’ call spells bad news, its normal ‘more-pork’ call means that good news is on its way.