Sep 23: Make an ear trumpet

Make an ear trumpet, for hunting kiwi!

Written by      

Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • In the top image, what do you notice about the kiwi’s colouration in relation to its surroundings? Is there anything that surprises you about the kiwi in this photo?
  • Did you know that there are five distinct species of kiwi? You might like to find out more about some of them (North Island brown, Great spotted, Little spotted, Rowi and Tokoeka.) Which one is your ‘local’ kiwi species?
  • Have you ever been lucky enough to hear a kiwi calling in the wild? Have you heard the male’s shrill whistle and the female’s “harsh, throaty churr”? If you haven’t, you could look these up now and listen to them.
  • The writer interviews West Coasters to ask about their encounters with kiwi. One of these, Tim White of Reefton, describes how he used to bivvy, or sleep outdoors, when he went hunting; he didn’t take a pack or tent but slept under rocks and relied on shooting deer for food. He liked to get two deer so he could use one skin for a groundsheet and one for a blanket. What would you like to ask Tim White about his experiences, if you could?
  • When he finally hears and sees a kiwi, the writer describes it as “stomping” and “crashing through the undergrowth.” Are these words you would have associated with kiwi or would you have expected them to walk more delicately? Does their clumsy movement give us any clues about the way kiwi operate in their habitat – for example, foraging rather than stealth hunting? What could you say about how it might have affected their ability to hide from predators, both in prehistoric and more recent times?

Activity: Make an ear trumpet

Shaun Barnett had to sit still and listen carefully for around three hours at a time as he searched for kiwi. Sharpen up your listening skills with a home-made ear trumpet!

Before hearing aids were invented, ear trumpets were used to help hearing-impaired people. An ear trumpet collects sound from a larger area than what your own ear funnel does. These are channelled into your ear and concentrated in the small space, making what you hear through the trumpet seem louder.

You will need:

  • A large piece of paper
  • Paint, felts or art materials to decorate
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Step One: Draw a semi-circle (half a circle) on a large piece of paper. Cut it out and decorate it with paint or drawings on one side.

Step Two: Roll the paper into a cone that’s wide at one end and narrow at the other. Both ends should still have an opening. Secure it into place with tape.

Step Three: Hold the ear trumpet at your ear, with the wide end facing outwards. Get someone to talk into the cone. Does it make their voice sound louder? You can also try holding it the other way around to see if it makes their voice quieter. What happens if you speak into the narrow end?

Send us a picture of your ear trumpet!