Inspired by a korero tuku iho (story from the past), this well known Maori tale begins with a hunter named Hatupatu who was captured by a flesh eating bird woman called Kurangaituku. Instead of devouring him, she carried him off to her cave dwelling where she decided to keep him as a pet. This cave housed an enormous collection of beautiful trea-sures of precious cloaks, carved weapons, exotic bird pets, lizard pets and much more. Upon seeing these taonga (treasures), Hatupatu desired them all for himself and hatched a cunning plan to escape. The next morning he convinced the bird woman to go hunting far into the forest, a long way from the cave as she was sure to catch many birds there. She agreed and in her absence Hatupatu gathered up as many treasures as he could, immediately fleeing on foot towards his homeland at Mokoia Island.
Meanwhile, the bird woman realised all too late what her human pet, turned thief, had done and chased him to no avail. Hatupatu vanished along with many of her valuable possessions.
(Excerpt from NIU - He Tangata Matauhi, Voices of our Ancestors)