The Strawberry tree in the back garden is laden with ripe red fruit at the moment, and I am being treated to the yearly visit of the wax-eyes. They are like large olive bumblebees, swarming through the tree and making the leaves twitch and shiver as they fight and peep with their little voices, and gorge.
The Maori name for the Wax-eye (or Silver-eye) is Tauhou, a word that means 'stranger'. For it wasn't until relatively recently in the mid 1800's, that they were seen in any great numbers here. It's assumed that a flock was blown over from Australia. They are now one of the commonest New Zealand birds.
Tauhou will eat berries and fruit of all description but more than make up for the damage in orchards by also eating vast quantities of insects. Like the Tui and Bellbird, Tauhou has a feathery tongue which also allows it to take advantage of nectar sources from flowers in spring.