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The Coming of the Maori



Circumcision, or rather superincision, by the method of cutting through the upper surface of the foreskin in the middle line so as to expose the glans penis was performed throughout Polynesia. Both the operation and the result were termed tehe. It was such a general custom that the male whose glans was not uncovered was treated with ridicule. It is strange that though the custom must have prevailed in central Polynesia before the Maori ancestors left, they did not continue it in New Zealand. They page 354did, however, bring with them the term tehe, which was applied to the glans exposed without operation. As if in defence of having abandoned an ancient custom, the person with a tehe was ridiculed as much in New Zealand as the person without it was in Polynesia.