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Games and Pastimes of the Maori

The Kororohu or Whizzer

The Kororohu or Whizzer

This simple little instrument is well known in Europe. It served as a pastime among Maori children, and even among young women and youths. It was made in much the same form as the bullroarer, pointed at both ends, but in length was only about 3 in., and thin. The wood used was heart of matai or mapara, or kaiwhiria. Two holes were pierced in this object near the centre, and a cord passed through these holes and its ends tied together. The thumbs of the operator are inserted in the bights of the loop cord and, by timing the outward pull, the thin piece of wood is made to revolve rapidly both page 297ways, alternately, i.e. in a reciprocal manner, as a cord or thong drill is worked. The whizzing sound is produced by the instrument as it rapidly revolves.

This primitive instrument is known as a kŏrŏrŏhū, purorohu, wairori, takawairori, tarari, and porotiti, occasionally as pirorohū.

The following is one of the ditties sung to the whirring of the above toy; it is known as a ngariporotiti:—

"Ka kukume,
Ka kukume au i te tau o taku porotiti
Ki whakaawe ki Rangi-taiki
Ko Te Koha, ko Muru-takaka, ko Te Ahi-kaiata
Ko Te Koroki, ko Poututu, ko Te Au-tahae
Ka hoki mai te tau o taku porotiti
(I pull, I pull the cord of my porotiti, to far off Rangi-taiki.
It is Te Koha, and Muru-takaka, and Te Ahi-kaiata,
And Te Koroki, and Poututu, and Te Au-tahae.
The cord of my porotiti now reverses; Huhu! Wheo-wheo!)

A brief and simple recital sometimes accompanying the manipulation of the porotiti was the following:—"Tiwaiwaka te hope, tiwaiwaka." In some cases these instruments were adorned by means of inserting small pieces of brightly coloured Haliotis shell—"Ka tiwhaia ki te paua."

A specimen of this toy is shown in Fig. 102 (p. 295).