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Games and Pastimes of the Maori



The Rev. R. Taylor describes this as a game in which boys stand on their heads and beat time with their feet. Tuta Nihoniho applied it also to the turning of somersaults, and poteteke to walking on the hands. The late Mr. John White wrote:—In this game a person stood on his head, with his legs in the air and repeated the following jingle, but he must finish it while in that position. If he falls before it is finished, he loses and is counted out:—

"Poroteteke kauaia ma taua
I piri ki hea?
I piri ki te rua i a Te Korokoro
Koro tu ki Wai-kato
Whakarere ko te aiai
Haruhiruhi te aiai
Horoherohe ruhiruhi
Haramai ki roto …. e
Tenei te hope ka tiori
He pungare koe i tiki mai
Whakakuikui aku tapa

Shortland tells us that "Poroteteke is the name of a game in which boys are the actors. Several having arranged themselves in a row, suddenly, at a given signal, stand on their heads, and then move their legs about in the air, kicking their heels against the buttock page 167 to the time of a song in which all join. It is a sort of war dance on the head, and has so ludicrous an appearance that no one who saw it performed could refrain from laughing."