During my two trips to New Zealand for work, I never left the North Island, and the beautiful cities and countryside of the South Island have eluded me, so I’m always grateful when I get to travel somewhere new via LEGO bricks. Peter Dennison lives in the lovely city of Dunedin, and has spent the past 5 years building a huge diorama featuring the historic railway station on Anzac Square.
This new piece by Grantmasters is not a gargoyle barfing up rainbows as one might initially think. Instead, it is based on the Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori language week) poster. The builder tells us that up until 2018, New Zealand had only Maori and Sign Language (NZSL) as its two official languages, despite the fact that the vast majority of New Zealanders speak English. It was only acknowledged as an official language in February last year. The title of this little creation is Aroha Nui, which means “lots of love” in Māori. I have to admit I’m feeling aroha nui for the parts use here, especially the LEGO tire bent into the shape of the mouth. See, aren’t you feeling just a little more culturally aware than you did a minute ago? Gargoyle barfing up rainbows; what was I thinking?
New Zealand has some of the most interesting fauna in the world, with many of their animals not found anywhere else in the world. While on holiday there, Patrick B. was so enamored by the birds that he decided to recreate them in LEGO. The results are lovely! This collection showcases the Kea, Pukeko, Kakapo, and the iconic Kiwi. I have to say, that last one is pretty adorable in LEGO form. Here in Seattle where I live, we have a pair of gorgeous Keas at Woodland Park Zoo. These endangered mountainous creatures are quite intelligent and always busy. They’re one of my favorite birds, and nicely done here.
Back in 2013, Thomas Poulsom also did a couple of these New Zealand birds (and a badger). And a bit more recently, we’ve featured an article about another LEGO build of the critically endangered Kakapo. It’s a parrot unlike any other in the world! Check it out, and then learn more about what you can do to help them.
Most people know that New Zealanders got their “Kiwi” nickname from their beloved national symbol, the Kiwi bird. But did you know that there is another iconic bird from that country that is just as important? Its name is actually Kākāpō, which means “owl parrot” and it really is quite unique! Flancrest Enterprises is so passionate about this bird, that they recreated it in LEGO, with posable wings!
What makes the Kakapo so unique is that it’s not like any other parrot in the world. It is large, heavy, flightless, and nocturnal. Their wings and tail are quite short, and they have large feet for climbing and cruising around on the forest floor. In addition, one of their most interesting features is that they don’t form tight bonds. Males engage in “lekking” where they gather together to engage in competitive display and entice females. Males will then mate with multiple females, while the females mate with a single male, and there is no paternal help with the young.
Above all, the most notable thing about the Kākāpō is that it’s critically endangered. There are less than 150 left. Naturally they don’t have any predators, but humans have both destroyed habitats and hunted them to near extinction. Fortunately, there are amazing people working on conservation and recovery programs. If you’re like me and think these special, adorable birds deserve a comeback, learn more and give them your support!
Tēnā koe e hoa (Greetings. Hello to you, friend.) from Jed Cameron of New Zealand with his “Not 100% historically accurate” Early European Settlers arriving at a Māori Village. Inspired by a treasure trove of colonial art he found online, Jed has done a great job recreating the look and feel of a pre-colonial Māori wharenui (large communal house).
Jed used an upside down quiver as the koruru (carved head) at the apex of the meeting house to great effect. I love how the smooth tiles illustrate a well-trodden path through the village and the Pouwhenua (carved wooden posts) mark the boundary of the village. This is a lovely little build and a wonderful representation of a crucial point in New Zealand history.
Kai Pai! (Well Done!)