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Games and Pastimes of the Maori



Apart from running as a pastime, as practised by children, foot racing was practised by youths and young men. The most interesting form of this exercise was the running of long distance races. In such contests no swift running was done, the runners employing the singular bent knee trot so much practised by the barefooted Maori of former generations. Such races tax the powers of endurance rather than demand fleetness of foot. The writer was told of one such contest that took place between Te Teko and Te Whaiti, a distance of nearly fifty miles. In some cases it was arranged that the competitors should run to some distant place, and, on arrival there, each had to leave a mark at a certain spot, as by marking a tree, or depositing a stone, and then run back to the starting point.

Foot racing is known as omaoma and takaro omaoma. The style termed taupiripiri is one in which competitors run in pairs holding each other round the neck.