Antique Furnishings

42 Seddon Street Waihi and the Inyoni Yami Bird

8 Rosemont Road Waihi and the Inyoni Yami Bird


I have opened a shop here at 42 Seddon Street in Waihi Town (that’s the main street) and this is now open for sales of my Antique Furnishings from Wednesday to Saturday 10 am to 3 pm each day.


The Inyoni Yami Bird

Swaziland was home for some 6 years as I worked for the Swaziland Irrigation Scheme an organisation belonging to the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) which is in turn an organisation funded by the UK Government and back in the 50’s through to the 90’s set up and ran businesses in Commonwealth Countries (namely Africa, West Indies and the Pacific). The aim was to develop workable and profitable operations for the Country it was domiciling itself within.

Swaziland Irrigation Scheme – the acronym I will go no further with, operated on some 30,000 Hectares with Sugar Cane, Citrus and Cattle (photo is of Braham Bulls on the Livestock Estate) as the main land use along with an Irrigation Scheme covering some 38 miles and at the time accounted for over 20% of the GDP of Swaziland. We were nestled up in the top Eastern corner bordering South Africa and Mozambique and a small village called Tshaneni was our and some other 30 odd (the word is used loosely) Expats home.

King Sobhuza the second was the main man and a good one, governing Swaziland a Commonwealth Country that had had Independence for only some 8 years when we arrived. If you have seen the film WaWa you will get some idea of what Swaziland was like.

The fable of the Inyoni Yami bird is this:

A great drought had descended over the country and people were struggling to survive – one family of father, mother and two boys were desperate. They had had to kill their goats and chickens and the father was forced to go out each day to hunt to try and find food usually without success. However one day he came upon a bird which he knew was able to secrete milk and he manged to capture it and tie it up. Taking just enough milk from the bird he went home and fed his family. Each day thereafter he did the same only taking just enough to ensure he did not weaken the bird.

His two sons became curious as to where their father was getting such wonderful milk and one day secretly followed him. After the Father had left the two boys ran over to the bird and milked it more and they did this for the following days until eventually the bird so weakened by the continual milking died and the family followed soon afterwards. The bird was called the Inyoni Yami.

Just before we had decided to return to New Zealand we were told that King Sobhuza had given us a new name (and this needs to be understood in the context of what was happening throughout Africa in those days – many African Countries were feeling their Nationalism and putting pressure and demands on foreign owned businesses operating in their country to give them a piece of their pie). Swaziland was also under pressure to do so but Sobhuza did not follow that line of attack – it is said he told some of his chiefs that he liked to play the piano and that to play the piano well you needed to use both the black and the white keys.

He was a well-educated man and much loved by his people and so when he decided that our new name was to be Inyoni Yami Swaziland Irrigation Scheme (note no abbreviation tempted) the Nation understood.