07 He aha tērā? What is that?

You see this delicate white lattice on the grass, often after warmer and wetter weather. He aha tērā? What is that?

Oval white lattice on grass.
Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission.

Scroll down to see the answer.

Answer: it’s a tūtae kēhua or basket fungus:

Not everything in nature lends itself easily to describing and understanding. What could tangata whenua make of the grotesque and smelly structure that seems to emerge spontaneously from the earth? Its common and prosaic Pākehā name is basket fungus.

Māori used much more imaginative kupu to describe it. They called it tūtae kēhua, which means “the poo of a ghost”!

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