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I’ve Got a Thing For Pukeko

‘Pukeko Kete’ by Beatrice Carlson
(Image from Essenze)

Like most Kiwis, I have a bit of a thing for the Pukeko. With its distinctive bright blue colouring and bright red beak, it is always easy to see against the green of the New Zealand wetland.

Also known as the New Zealand Swamp Hen, the Pukeko is a member of the rail family, and it is similar to other species found all over the world. There are apparently 15 sub species of the bird and their range includes southern Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Melanesia, western Polynesia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, so it is a very common bird. In New Zealand, you can find them in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations.

Just why they have struck such a chord within the Kiwi culture is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is because they are a little ungainly, but still full of character. It’s certainly not because of their flying ability – their take off is laboured and they are awkward flyers with feet dangling and often crash landing into a tree or bush, although they can fly long distances.

‘Blue Comme’ by Beatrice Carlson
(Image from Essenze)

For me, one woman who has captured the quirkiness of the Pukeko perfectly, is Beatrice Carlson. She apparently originally studied oil painting and it has given her an understanding of layers and transparency that she now uses in her digital work. Her works are dramatic in scale – the piece above is 1200mm x 1200mm – but she works with the smallest of details, adjusting the images pixel by pixel.

I think I would quite like Blue Comme on my wall…

Essenze sells Blue Comme for NZ$2,901 and will ship anywhere in the world. You can check out their site here.


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Comments (8)

I didn’t even know they could fly, I love the art work too.

Ha! You just think all birds in New Zealand are flightless because kiwis are… Admit it!

That’s basically true yes …

Well, I never…you definitely have some cool birds in NZ, TSL! I’d never heard of the pukeko, but I can see why you like them! Blue Comme for the bach, I say! 😉

We have pukeko in Sydney, Sparks. I’ve seen them.

I never really thought too much about them until I saw the NZ TV ad featuring them turning off the lights to save electricity. Now, I see them as birds with real personality.

I remember that ad’! Spot, the Telecom dog was my favourite…

Love the Pukeko, we have them in Queensland and they make me smile. We have a few Pukeko themed goods at our house 🙂

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