For over 10 years, I've been using this strategy to copy a large number of files between UNIX filesystems:
cd source_directory find . -depth -print | cpio -pdm /path/to/destination_directory
It works like a champ. However, I'm now getting this error from cpio:
cpio: WARNING! These file names were not selected: (long list of files here...)
The source directory is on OSX 10.5, and the destination directory is a NFS filesystem from an OpenSolaris server. Copying over NFS has never been a problem in the past. There's nothing strange about the filenames, meaning there aren't special characters or anything like that.