Free Range to End of Range

By Tracy Brighten

A poem in the style of restaurant discourse to highlight the plight of New Zealand’s native birds

Tui in Kowhai tree

Although native birds are no longer (officially) eaten in New Zealand, I appeal to the reader’s sense of taste, while simultaneously stirring repulsion of how wild birds are killed.

Native birds are facing increasing threats from non-native predators such as possums, rats, stoats, cats and dogs, and also from human behaviour such as irresponsible pet ownership, beach and car use, hunting, longline fishing, overfishing and oil spills.  

Free Range to End of Range

While stocks last,
Choose from our new menu of free-range birds,
Sourced and slaughtered in the wild.

To Start
Stitchbird soup with garlic croutons

For Main
A little cautious perhaps, then try
Mature tui tossed in cats-up sauce with fries
Silvereye skewered on cat’s tongue cookie with cranberry coulis
Peppered pukeko served with Huntsman’s relish
Poached South Island kaka caged in lattice pastry
Sole on scrambled dotterel eggs with wine reduction
Car-grilled blue penguin steak in squash surprise.

More adventurous, less conscientious, then try
Australasian gannet wings drenched in oil on sea-salt couscous
Line-caught royal albatross with tangled seaweed
Rare fairy tern with sterlet caviar steeped in sorrel jus
Sun-dried yellow-eyed penguin with bitter-sweet squid garnish
North Island kiwi bled overnight served shredded on forest leaves
Medallions of moa cooked to extinction.

To Finish
Our speciality dessert – Death by Complacency.


Image credit: Tui in Kowhai tree by Sy on Flickr   (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)