I've been hearing the grey warbler, riroriro, as I weed and plant in the garden. And today I heard the shining cuckoo, pipiwharauroa, so at least one is back from overwintering in the Solomon Islands.
Hmmm, I had hoped to paste a MP3 recoding here, but have had problems. So if you'd care to take a little detour now, the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary website has a lovely selection of recordings of New Zealand native birds including the shining cuckoo. Once you have heard the distinctive call, you never forget it.
There is an old Maori story:
In spring, the song of riroriro the grey warbler meant it was time to plant the crops. Some people were lazy. They didn’t work hard in their gardens and in the winter they would grumble because they were hungry. The people who had grown plenty of food would laugh and say, "I hea koe I te tangihanga o te riroriro?" which means, "Where were you when the riroriro sang?"