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Games and Pastimes of the Maori



It is not certain that the Maori used any form of wooden clappers in former times; early writers do not mention anything of the kind. Parkinson, Forster, and Ellis all state that the Tahitians used pearl shells as clappers, the latter adding that the two shells used were of different sizes.

A Tuhoe native informed the writer that bone clappers were formerly used by his people, and known as tokere, but no corroboration has been received. The idea may have been borrowed from Europeans. Tuta Nihoniho, of Ngati-Porou, describes two simple forms that were used on the East Coast, as follows:—

Two forms of clappers were made of the basal parts of the Phor-mium leaf. In one of these a short piece of thick leaf base was separated into its two halves, one held in each hand and so clapped together. Such crude clappers were termed pākēkē (all vowels long), which looketh like a sound word. Another form, the pakoko, was made of a similar piece of the thick part of a flax (Phormium) leaf', but the two halves were not entirely separated. The two halves were separated to within a few inches of the butt end, then one half was bent abruptly outwards and downwards, the effect being to so weaken its rigidity at the point of bending that it moved easily as though on a hinge. This item was held by its lower part, where the two halves page 311of the leaf still clave together, and flapped up and down, thus causing the loose part to strike against the rigid half, and so producing a clapping sound presumably pleasing to the native ear.