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Games and Pastimes of the Maori

Tutu Kai

Tutu Kai

Concerning this game Dr. Thomson writes:—

"Tutuka is an amusement corresponding to the English game of odd and even. Some article is put into one hand, and on the repetition of certain words, after the manner of conjurors, the spectators are asked to point out in which hand the thing is."

Mr. John White has left us a more detailed account:—

This game is played with a small, smooth waterworn stone. Many players sat in a circle and kept passing the stone from one to another, some kind of jingle of words being repeated at the time. As the repetition of this ceased one of the players, who did not form one of the circle, attempted to guess as to who had the stone. The following is such a charm as was repeated during this game:—

"Kura kura
Kura winiwini, kura wanawana
Te whai atu taku kura nei
Ki te kai motiti, ki te kai motata
Ka rere taua ki hea?
Ka rere taua ki Pohou-nui, ki Pohou-roa
Hei te koti, hei te kota
Torete, torete
Kei a wai?"

On the recital of the last line (meaning 'Who has it?') the outsider has to guess in whose hand the stone is. When the game commences a player holds the stone up to view and says: "Tenei" (here it is) after which it is passed round the circle from hand to hand but not exposed to view at all. Sometimes a player retains the stone in his hand but feigns to pass it on to his neighbour, who pretends to pass it on to his neighbour and so on. All this is an endeavour to deceive the guesser. The guesser continues until he locates the stone when he who had the stone takes his place.

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Mr. White also collected the following, a jingle or ditty which differs somewhat from the above:—

The following was repeated by a child who held some small object in his hand. During the recital another child endeavoured to guess what was so held—

"Kura, kura, kura winiwini
Kura wanawana
Te whaia e koe taku kai motiti
Taku kai motutu
Ka nu taua ko whea
Ka nu taua ki Pakihi nui
Ka nu taua ki Pakihi roa
Kei teke titi, kei teke tata
Haere pakiaka tore
Tohungia taku kai
Kei whea?
Kei te tu."

This apparently senseless effusion is said to have sometimes been recited by a chief as a tiwha or hint to his hearers that he proposes to attack some tribe, or slay some person. It was recited by Hone Heke Pokai to Waka at Wai-aruhe, where they met when Heke was returning from the sack of Korora-reka. A fight occurred here, Heke's party being near the Wai-aruhe creek and Waka on the hill known as Puke-rimu.

Regarding these rhythmical jingles sung by young folk when playing games, some have probably suffered in transcription, or in reducing them to writing when collected, and some are undoubtedly corruptions of the original forms. The writer is quite unable to translate them, except in a few cases. The word nu in the above specimen is unknown to us.

Children might be seen playing a similar game to the above, when a child would take some small object in his hand, show it to his playmates, and then bring his hands together and draw them across his mouth. Another then guesses as to where the object is. It may be in either hand, or in his mouth. These, however, are mere childish amusements.