Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, New Zealand
© Jim Patterson/Tandem Stills + Motio
Milford Sound rainforest
Today we’re hiking through New Zealand’s South Island to visit the place Rudyard Kipling once called the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound and its surrounding rainforest. Nearly a million tourists visit the area every year, despite its remote location. Originally overlooked by European explorers, the area is now known for its beauty and abundance of wildlife. It’s not uncommon for visitors to spot dolphins, humpback whales and native Fiordland penguins.
Milford Sound is one of about 90 places in New Zealand to officially have a dual name. By joining its former European name with the Indigenous Māori name, the area is now known as Milford Sound / Piopiotahi – the Māori named the area after the extinct piopio bird. According to myth, the Māori hero, Māui, died during his quest to win immortality for mankind. A single piopio flew into the fjord to mourn him, which was memorialised in the name. The Māori people first travelled to the area centuries ago to hunt and fish. They also collected the precious pounamu (aka greenstone) used for trade, carving and weaponry.