I noticed that Madame Kereru dropped something else, each time she visited. Yes, she tears off a whole bunch of kawakawa in the course of her feeding, and drops it on the ground.
You could say that she’s an untidy eater.
But there’s more to it than this, perhaps.
In Maori tradition, it is often said that the forest birds shared berries with the kiore, the little Polynesian rat.
It is said, for example, that when miro berries were ripe, the kiore refrained from tree-climbing, for this was also the time when the birds fed on the miro. The kiore would stay on the ground, eating the berries that fell down while the birds fed in the trees above.
And so – is the Empress simply following an old tradition by leaving some for the kiore?
And does she know that the kiore is now pretty much extinct on the mainland, and has been replaced by the larger and much less friendly Norwegian rat?
I guess not (sigh).
But do not accuse her of being an untidy eater. She is an altruistic empress, and likes to share her food.