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The Autobiography of a Maori

A Hypocritical Practice

A Hypocritical Practice

Today, so degraded has the Maori's sense of the fitness of things become that a death in a home is used as an occasion for merriment and excitement. After a funeral the usual thing now is to "takahi" the deceased's home or remove the tapu by holding a drinking party in the home. No-one seems to question the propriety of the thing and even I, with such pronounced views on drinking, am expected to conform. I once attended a takahi party. A whole sackful of bottles of beer was dragged into the house. No-one would have thought that in the forenoon of the same day, the dead body of a well-liked man had lain in this same house and that much crying had then been heard. I felt disgusted and so left the party and swore that I would never attend another.

I am at a loss to know how this custom came about; at any rate, it cannot be very ancient for the old Maoris never had liquor with which to celebrate. Some drunkard must have started it and now it is considered a national custom.

I am pleased to note that, on the whole, the women don't drink, and those who do, do not do so to excess. I hope and pray that, for the sake of the children they will not admit liquor into their homes. The future of the race is in their hands.