Games and Pastimes of the Maori
In this game two players sit down opposite each other. Each holds up a hand with fingers outstretched. One holds his hand steady in that position, while the other, closing his eyes, thrusts his hand forward and endeavours to pass his outstretched fingers between those of his opponent. The latter repeats the following charm during the time the attempt is being made:—
"Kei te wai nui
Kei te wai roa
Ka tangi te korora, korora
Awhi te punipuni
Awhi te paroparo a nohoanga."
When one has had the arranged number of attempts he then holds his hand for the other player to make his trial, and also takes up the repeating of the charm. It appears that attempts to so place the fingers could only be made during the time the charm was being repeated. As the recital was finished so must the attempts cease. This was employed, in some cases, as a kind of divinatory performance; if all fingers locked, it was a favourable omen, if they did not, then it was an aitua (bad omen, unlucky). This game or pastime has also been recorded by the Rev. R. Taylor in Te Ika a Maui.