The Coming of the Maori
9 — Games and Pastimes
Games and Pastimes
The maori games and pastimes were similar to those prevailing throughout Polynesia but in some instances they were not so highly developed such as boxing in Tonga, and tobogganing and surf riding in Hawaii. The new pastimes developed locally were the giant stride swing, the passing of sticks in touretua, the catch motion game of matimati, and the use of the poi ball in women's dances. The men's war dances with clubs were developed to a higher stage of physical ferocity than elsewhere. A detailed description of the various games and pastimes, with and without material accessories, has been recorded by Elsdon Best (18) but this section will deal mainly with, those in which material objects were used. However Best's classification will be followed.
Military Games and Exercises
The safety and welfare of a tribe depended on its military strength and efficiency and so the youth were early trained in the use of weapons. Children armed with a flax flower stalk (korari) were taught to spar by their parents and when they were old enough, they were taught the strokes and parries of the various weapons as well as the accompanying footwork by an expert warrior. The earlier training took the form of games.
Spear throwing was a favourite pastime with the young. The spears were formed of the kakaho flower stalks of the toetoe raupo, straight stems of bracken fern (rarauhe) with the ends bound with flax, rods of light mako wood, and even manuka. The wooden spears were about 6 feet long with blunted ends. Opponents stood some distance apart, and one threw while the other avoided the missiles by dodging, parrying with a stick, or, as they became expert, by catching occasionally with the hand. Thus as they became older, spears could be discharged in quick succession, and the expert could sidestep one, parry a second, and catch the third with the left hand. Spears were also thrown at a mark to practice aim.page 239
Ti rakau or touretua was played with rather thick sticks roughly two to three feet long. As demonstrated by the Arawa people, the players knelt in a circle with two sticks each. In time to a chant, they beat the sticks together and then threw first one and then the other to the neighbour on the right, sticks being thrown in a vertical position. Each threw the first stick in the right hand, caught the incoming stick with the empty hand, threw the second stick with the left hand and caught the incoming stick with that hand. The passing of sticks, first right then left, continued for some beats and then the two sticks were beaten together. The tempo of the chant was quickened and great dexterity in catching and passing had to be displayed to remain in the game. Those who dropped a stick fell out and the circle lessened until the last one left in was declared the victor. The game taught dexterity in catching with both hands and made the catching of a spear in battle not so difficult.
Ti ringa or matimati as the first name implies is a corollary of the preceding ti rakau game but played with the hands without any sticks. The players stand facing each other and, in time to a chant or various calls in which matimati is often repeated, they make quick movements with both hands such as slapping the thighs or the breast, and jerking both hands towards the right or left or up or down. The game, as expounded by the Arawa, starts with both players beating on their thighs with the word matimati, and the player who has drawn the start, makes one of the various movements. His opponent has to make a movement simultaneously on the same beat of the chant and as he does not know what the other is going to make, it is likely to be different. The object of the opponent is to anticipate what the next movement is and by doing the same movement simultaneously, he takes the count with a score of two. On the other hand, the person who has the count tries to prevent the next movement from being anticipated over a number of beats and each failure of the opponent to catch the movement in that series of movements counts two to the holder. Each player keeps repeating his score in time with the movements, which are rapid. The first to score ten, wins. A number of variations occur. This game also teaches quickness of eye and hands to anticipate an opponent's arm movements and was probably of some use in close hand-to-hand fighting.
A catapult of a kind, termed tipao on the east coast, is described by Best (18, p. 17). A pole of green titoki was fixed upright with the butt in the ground, and a cord fastened to the upper end was pulled by a person to bend the pole considerably. Another person, standing behind the bent pole, held a stone against the front bend with the fingers from behind. At a signal, the cord was let go and the released spring cast the stone forward with considerable force. It was used by boys in sport and never became an offensive weapon.page 240
The various exercises that made for physical fitness but did not require any apparatus were running, jumping, boxing and wrestling.
Running (oma), when competitive, was termed omaoma and the speedy runner grew up to be an asset to his tribe in chasing ceremonial challengers and in the running battles which often took place. Competitions over measured distances were not known but the young people at social gatherings fixed their distances according to flat land that was available. Long distance races between fixed points were sometimes arranged more as a test of stamina than of speed.
Jumping (tupeke, rerere) was mostly confined to the long jump but no landing pit was made. The lack of any idea about accessories was probably the reason why the high jump was not popular. A pole was sometimes used in vaulting (tutoko) on the flat or over a stream but never for height over a bar.
Boxing with the bare fists was more in the nature of private quarrels when no weapon was handy. The forward thrust with the front of the fist was termed mekemeke but a blow with the little-finger side of the fist was termed moto. Boxing contests such as occurred in Tonga and Hawaii were apparently unknown.
Wrestling (mamau, whakatoto, nonoke) was probably the most highly regarded of the athletic exercises and had a terminology for the various holds and tricks. Catch-as-catch-can, holding by the arms alone, and holding around the body as in the Cumberland style were all used. The champion wrestler of the tribe acquired much honour and matches were often arranged with the experts of other tribes.
Aquatic Games and Pastimes
Swimming (kaukau) was a popular pastime with both sexes. Children learned early and were sometimes assisted with gourd floats (poito hue), the gourds being allowed to dry out without puncturing and then enclosed in netting. Hinemoa made her historic swim to Mokoia Island with the aid of gourd floats. Swimming races (kau whakataetae) were popular with the young as impromptu contests. Racing over measured distances was not in vogue. Best (18, p. 20) gives four methods of swimming: kau tahoe (side), kau apuru (breast), kau tawhai (overhand), and kau kiore (back). He also mentions that natives were expert in crossing swift or flooded streams in a slanting course with the current by treading water with the erect body half out of the water. Rivers were also crossed with the aid of a grip pole (tuwhana).
Diving (ruku) was always made feet first, the head plunge not being, indulged in. In the water, diving meant swimming downward and women were very expert from practice in gathering shell fish and crayfish by hand. Diving feet first was usually conducted from a steep river bank page 241over a deep pool and failing some suitable height, a plank or sapling was fixed in a slanting position to a post to project over the water. Though the submergence in the water was termed ruku, the act of jumping out was termed kokiri and hence the pastime was also termed kokiri.
Giant strides (moari, morere) were formed of a tall pole erected near a river bank and with a number of ropes attached to the top. Best (18, p. 24) states that on the east coast, the pole was slanted and the ropes were attached to a rope ring which rested on a shoulder on the top of the pole. The players swung out on the ropes and dropped off into deep water feet first. Where no suitable river with a high bank was present, the pole was set up in an open space and the players swung in circles around the post.
Surf riding (whakaheke ngaru) was conducted on a board termed kopapa by coastal tribes with a suitable shore line. The term kopapa was also applied to small canoes used in surf riding. The pastime was not so well developed as in Hawaii and the surf boards do not seem to have acquired any organized shape.
Canoe racing was popular and created great excitement among the supporters of the different canoes, the support running on family and tribal lines. With large canoes with a double row of paddlers, the space between was so close that perfect time had to be observed in the dipping of the paddles. The fugleman who gave the time with various canoe chants was important and he quickened the time of his chant to quicken the stroke of the paddles. Canoe races were usually included in the programme of European regattas but the lessened use of the canoe has led to their abandonment.
Games of Dexterity and Agility
Jackstones (ruru, koruru, kai makamaka, etc.) is played throughout Polynesia and corresponds to the English game of knuckle bones. It was played usually with five pebbles which were placed in various positions, one thrown up in the air, and the others picked up singly while one was in the air. There were various movements, each with its name, the name being called as the player commenced the movement. One movement consisted of throwing up the five pebbles and catching all or as many as possible on the back of the hand. The various movements were in ordered sequence and when a player failed in one of them, the opponent took over. The one who went furthest scored a point. If a player completed the sequence, a second sequence was commenced and carried on until a movement was missed. This established the mark which the opponent strove to beat. A variation of the game consisted of using fifteen pebbles instead of five, a variation which is played in Samoa. The term ruru and koruru evidently applies to the action of bringing the stones together, kai page 242applies to the stones, and makamaka refers to the action of throwing the stones into the air. The game required quickness of eye and dexterity of hand to be successful. Best (18, p. 29) describes the various details of the game.
Cat's cradle or string figures (whai) is world wide and known throughout Polynesia. A six-foot cord with the ends spliced was stretched between the hands and various figures were set up. The figures were given names and many of them were supposed to represent some object or incident in mythology. Some required the assistance of one or more helps to hold some of the loops and single individuals sometimes used the toes and teeth as well as both hands to hold the multiple loops of a complicated figure (Plate XIX). A series of figures were produced from some initial figures, each change having its distinctive name. Women were usually more expert than men, probably through devoting more time to the pastime. In competitions, two persons sat back to back and started to make the same figure at a given signal. The one who finished first turned round and flaunted the completed figure in the opponent's face. A study of string figures among various tribes was made by Johannes C. Andersen (1) and from his experience he was able quickly to detect what the figure would be although a different tribal name was given beforehand. During a Dominion Museum expedition at Koriniti on the Whanganui River, I asked a group of women if they could show the pakeha visitor some string figures. The local speed artist assented and smiled somewhat superciliously as Andersen produced two strings from his pocket. She started off with her first figure with Andersen closely following her movements, He recognized the figure she was about to produce and completed it before her. She became serious and tried some others but Andersen recognized them all and finished each one before his instructress. With a look of chagrin on her face, she exclaimed, "Aue, kua mate au i te pakeha nei!" (Alas! I am beaten by this white man). In justice to my countrywoman, I may say that she had probably not touched a string for years.
Dart throwing (teka, neti, niti, pehu) is known throughout Polynesia and I saw it played in the Cook Islands and Samoa. The method throughout is practically the same, the dart (teka) being a straight rod about as thick as the little finger and somewhere about three feet long. The Maori dart was usually a length of dry fern stalk (Pteris aquilina) with the thicker butt end bound with a piece of green flax to form a knobbed front end termed poike. A stretch of clear ground was selected and a hard mound of earth formed at one or either end of the field. The player held the dart between the thumb and middle finger of the right hand with the forefinger over the smaller end. He took a run up to the mound and cast the dart with an underhand throw so that the poike end just grazed the upper end of the mound. The dart, if cast properly, ricochetted off the page 243mound and rose in the air with a long trajectory something like the flight of a golf ball but not so far. Skill was required to direct the dart at the right angle to the mound for if too low, it did not rise, or, in some throws, it rose too high and lost distance. In the competition I saw at Aitutaki, the darts were bounced off the level on a hard part of the village street and the longest throw was 86 yards. The game was played by any number and each round counted one to the longest throw. The competitors picked up their darts and usually threw back from the other end. The first to score ten was the winner and this number also applied in the Cook Islands. The dart occurs in historical narratives; and in the story of Wharematangi, a dart imbued with mana was the means of locating his father.
An interesting accessory to the throwing dart was the use of a throwing cord to lengthen the purchase on the dart. In parts of Polynesia, a short cord with a knot at the end was passed around the dart to cross over the cord near the knot so that the strain kept it in position. The other end of the cord was wrapped around the right forefinger and the dart with the cord kept taut was held between the thumb and forefinger. The arm was stretched back to full length, shoulder high, and the dart was cast with an overhand throw. As the dart passed forward, the end of the knotted cord was automatically released.
A variation present in Hawaii, Cook Islands, and Samoa consisted of tying the short knotted cord to a throwing stick. The knotted end was fixed to the dart as described above and some spaced spiral turns made around the dart which was laid on the ground, the cord being kept taut to hold the knot in position. The throwing stick was then jerked forward and the dart sped through space. In New Zealand, the dart was stuck lightly in the ground at a forward angle and the throwing stick (kotaha) with the knotted cord jerked to propel the dart forward. This method was utilized in war as described on page 273.
Posture dances (haka) were included by Best (18, p. 46) under games requiring manual dexterity and they are too well known to require much description. They required no apparatus; the energetic movements of hands and feet with the accompanying ferocity of facial expression heightened by glaring eyes and protruding tongue needed no adventitious aid. The words that gave time to the action were composed to meet various social events but, though the performances were peaceful in intent, they had to be demonstrated with energy and sound to make the welcome truly hearty.
The women's poi dance, however, used an accessory in the form of the poi ball which is unique for Polynesia. The poi balls in common use in modern times are made of dry bullrush leaves (raupo), about the size of an orange but slightly elongated, and with a short string. A better class page 244of poi to be found in museums are works of art. Some were made of close netting with the interior stuffed with raupo down and others were made with the taniko technique and also stuffed with soft material. They were usually decorated with tufts of dog's hair (awe) and hence were named poi awe. Usually they had a long string and the movements with the long poi were slower than with the modern short poi. The string of the poi was held in the right hand and the ball was twirled and beaten back with the left hand while various movements were made over the shoulder, to the sides, the thighs, the knees, the head, the poi balls being kept twirling in perfect time to the songs sung by the leaders. The poi dance performed by a well-trained team of young women is the most graceful of all Polynesian dances.
Calculations, Mental Alertness, Memorizing
Riddles (panga), word play (rotarota), and story telling (korero tara) required no material aids but a game termed torere or mu torere required a board and men. See Best (18, p. 60).
The mu torere board was made of a hewn slab marked with charcoal in a diagram with a central circle (putahi) and eight evenly spread radials termed kawai after the tentacles of an octopus which the figure was supposed to represent. Another form of board was made of the inner bark of the totara, the inner side of which was marked with the diagram while green, the marks remaining permanent when the bark dried. Straight sticks were tied on either side of each end to prevent curling-Temporary diagrams were marked on the ground with a pointed stick. The men (perepere) consisted of two sets of four pebbles marked to distinguish the two sets.page 245
The game was played by two players and a sample given by Best (18, p. 61) may be followed on the figure adapted from Best's illustration (Fig. 66).
The men are placed on the ends of the radials, White having 1 to 4 and Black, 5 to 8. Moves may be made from a radial to the centre (putahi), from the centre to an unoccupied radial, and from a radial direct to an adjoining radial when it is unoccupied. However, a man cannot be moved to the centre unless it adjoins a radial occupied by an opponent's man. Thus if Black opens the game, he may move 5 or 8 to the centre but not 6 or 7 as that would block the game in one move.
Try the following specimen game given by Best.
Black opens with 5 to centre and White moves 4 to 5.
Black moves centre to 4 and White moves 3 to centre.
Black moves 4 to 3 and White moves centre to 4.
Black moves 3 to centre and White moves 2 to 3.
Black moves centre to 2 and White moves 4 to centre.
Black cannot move and White wins.
The Maori readily took to the European game of draughts which they called mu, popularly regarded as the Maori equivalent of move. The occurrence of mu as a synonym of konane in Hawaii would convey the idea that both countries had received their respective games from a foreign people who used the word "move" in the game.
The occurrence of the name mu in Hawaii, on the other hand, might be regarded as evidence that a game called mu was old Polynesian but as the Maori and Hawaiian games are so widely divergent and no trace of either occur in the rest of Polynesia, it is apparent that the games originated independently in the two areas. The Maori game was known only to the Ngati Porou of the east coast and some of their authorities maintained that the game was pre-European. Failing some similar English game which might have been introduced, the Ngati Porou may be given the credit of having invented the game. It is probable, however, that the game was originally known as torere and the prefix mu added after the introduced game of draughts became known as mu.
Children's Games and Pastimes
Skipping (piu) with a rope swung by two persons while one or more skipped was practised but single skipping in which the individual swung the rope was not used. The term piu applies to the swinging of the rope and not to the action of skipping.
Swings (tarere) were usually formed of a suitable single vine hanging down from a tree branch, the ground end being severed. The looped page 246swing with two ropes and a seat was unknown. The moari giant stride was the organized form of swing.
Hoops (pirori, porotiti) were made of a vine (aka) and trundled back and forward between two players or two parties. No sticks were used except in a Tuhoe game recorded by Best (18, p. 92). The game is recorded for adults in which the tattooed skin of an enemy was stretched over a hoop of supplejack and trundled between two jeering groups to satisfy their hate of the deceased.
Tobogganing or sliding down a suitable hillside on some object to prevent skin abrasion was a pastime widely spread throughout Polynesia. The most available form of toboggan was a leaf head of the ti kouka(Cordyline australis) in New Zealand and the ti (Cordyline terminalis) in Polynesia. The Maori sometimes made a special toboggan of a wooden plank with the front end curved upwards and Best (18, p. 83) illustrates a Tuhoe form with the front curve carved. The greatest development of tobogganing occurred in Hawaii where it was a chiefly pastime with special sleds made with two runners and special slides, the furrows of which are still to be seen. The usual Maori term for the sport was retireti and the board was termed papa retireti. Other terms such as panukunuku, toreherehe, and horua were also used. In Hawaii, the term used was holua and hence the Maori term horua probably represents the old Polynesian form.
Stilts (pou toti, pou turu, pou koki, pou tokorangi) consisted of the shaft (pou) with a projecting foot-rest (teka) at varying heights above the lower end. The simplest stilts were made of a straight branch with a cut-off side branch to form the foot-rest. Others were made of a straight shaft to which a short piece was lashed at right angles to form the foot-rest and a cord attached to its outer end was carried obliquely upwards to the shaft about a foot or so above the lashing of the foot-rest to the shaft (Fig. 68a). Stilts were used by children simply to walk about, to run races, or to cross streams. Young men had so-called wrestling matches in which tripping with the stilts was effective. Stilts reached their highest peak in the Marquesas where the foot-rests were carved. It is curious that the Maori carved the foot-rests of their digging implements (ko) and attached them to the shafts in much the same technique as the Marquesans used with their stilts.
Tops (potaka) were used throughout Polynesia and Best's account of Maori tops (18, p. 86) is the best for the Polynesian area. In New Zealand, they were of two kinds, whip tops and humming tops. The woods used in their manufacture were preferably matai and heart of white pine (kahi-katea) but other more common woods were also used. Whip tops were also made of stone and a top in the British Museum was made of pumice.page 247
Whip tops (potaka ta, kaitaka) resembled English tops in shape but on the whole were less in diameter at the top which was flat (Fig. 67a). Some were ornamented on the flat top with an inlay of paua shells and others were carved. Some were curved in towards the upper rim (Fig. 67b) and a curious form termed potako wherorua or potaka kotorerua was double-ended. One double-ended top with a middle band of scroll carving (Fig. 67c) was figured by Best (18, p. 88a). Whip tops range in height from about 3½ inches to 5 inches or more but very large tops were made by adults for community exercise.
The whip (ta, kare) was formed of a lash of strips of flax tied to a handle about 15 inches long. To spin the top, the lash was wound tightly around the upper circumference of the top and the handle pulled away quickly. The unwinding lash caused the top to revolve and to continue spinning as the point touched the ground. Applications of the whip prolonged the spinning. Tops were spun on some cleared space termed a marae potato or along a village street or path. In the Ngati Tama territory in Taranaki, I was shown an overgrown path which ran straight between two old forts and was told that the people of one fort whipped a large top along the pathi to the other fort and then the other people whipped it back to the starting fort. This back and forward pastime continued until the participants grew weary.
Humming tops (potato takiri, p. kukume, p. huhu) were made in one piece with the lower part of the same shape as the whip tops but with an upper shaft rising from the centre of the upper surface. The shaft was for the starting string which was wound tightly around it from top downward to the base. A starting stick (papa takiri) formed of a flat piece of wood, six inches long and half an inch wide, was held against the base of the shaft, the left hand keeping both stick and top in position. The string was pulled with the right hand to set the top spinning with its characteristic sound (wheo). The Ngati Porou used a starting page 248stick with a crook at the end. The requisites of a good humming top were spinning long and loud sound.
The gourd top (potaka hue) was a specialized form of humming top. A medium-sized or small gourd was selected and holes made in the sides to extract the flesh and seeds. A stick was then passed through from the stalk end to the bottom, with enough projecting through at the bottom to form the spinning point and sufficient length above to form a shaft for the spinning cord. When the gourd was spun the holes in the sides produced a louder sound than the orthodox humming tops.
Kites, Jumping Jacks, and Stone Discs
Kites were flown in various parts of Polynesia but they were missing in Samoa. In New Zealand, they were enjoyed by young and old as a pastime but priests sometimes used them for divination and interpreted omens from their flight. The general Maori name was manu or manu tukutuku(manu, bird; tukutuku, to pay out the cord). A number of different forms were made: two were named after birds, manu totoriwai (robin) and manu kaka (parrot); small ones for children, manu paitiiti; triangular shaped with a front apical plume, manu taratahi; lozenge-shaped and oval after the flounder, manu patiki; priests' kites for divination, manu wham; and kites made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry, manu aute.
In Polynesia, the kite frames were covered with bark cloth but in New Zealand, though some manu aute were made, the paper mulberry was too restricted in distribution to form a general covering material. The most common substitute was the dry leaves of the raupo which were tied to the framework of light rods. Very large kites were made with a body furnished with a human head, two long wings, and two attenuated legs with four claws as in the specimen in the British Museum (Fig. 68b). One in the Auckland Museum made by the Arawa tribe in the 'sixties is 12 feet across the wings. Though tails of bunches of feathers are stated to have been used with some kites, the large specimens in the British and Auckland Museums are without them. The cords (aho tukutuku) for children's kites were formed of strips of flax tied together but the better kites were provided with long cords of three-ply twisted flax fibre. The cords were attached to the middle of the body framework. Though many references have been made to Maori kites, as quoted by Best (18, p. 67), technical details are lacking or extremely meagre.
Jumping jacks (karetao, karari, toko raurape) were marionettes carved in wood in human form with the legs resting on a base which was narrowed and prolonged downwards to form a hand-grip. They were about 15 inches in total length and made of one piece of wood but with the two arms separate. The arms were perforated at the upper ends and cords page 249passed through and stopped by overhand knots. The cords were then passed through holes in the shoulders of the figure and tied together at the back. Best (18, p. 96a) gives an illustration of four figures, one of which is reproduced in Figure 68c, d. Some of the figures were elaborately carved, the face being embellished with a full tattooing design. The operator held the hand-grip with the left hand and manipulated the strings at the back with the right hand to cause the arms to make various motions on their loose joints. The performance was enhanced by quivering the figure with the left hand and making the various motions keep time with a chant (oriori karetao) as if performing a haka posture dance.
When not performing, the strings were drawn taut and tied around the waist. A toy form made on the spot was demonstrated to me at Waiomatatini. A narrow piece of board represented the body and two arms were attached to the upper end with knotted cords which were worked from the back. The movements were laughter provoking. I know of no records of similar figures from other parts of Polynesia and it would appear that the karetao was another Maori invention.
Stone discs found only in the Tauranga district seem to have some affinity with the Hawaiian stone discs termed ulu and used in the game of maika. Some in the Auckland Museum as recorded by Best (18, p. 98) have an average diameter of 5¼ inches, average thickness of nearly three inches and average weight of 4 lbs. 9 oz. These are larger and thicker than the Hawaiian discs. However, wooden discs termed pua were thrown for distance in the Cook Islands and discs of slices of breadfruit and sometimes flat coral were used in a similar game in Samoa. The throwing disc game had thus a wide distribution in Polynesia and it is probable that the Tauranga stone discs were early used in a similar game page 250which was dropped for some unknown reason. Thus we do not know the Maori names of the discs or the game, let alone how it was played.
The Passing Scene
The old Maori games have practically disappeared and been replaced by games learnt from pakeha children. In the change, the public schools have exercised a great influence, particularly schools attended by both races. This is seen in the forms of skipping and in swings. Tops have survived because they are used by European children but the old chants which accompanied them have been forgotten. Adults no longer take an interest in them, for the social usages with which they were connected have thed out. Kites, if they exist at all, take the pakeha form of construction, and the priests who used them for divination are extinct as a class. Probably no child or adult of to-day would be able to make a dart rise from the ground with the graceful trajectory that earned the plaudits of past generations.
However, survivals occur in a tourist-frequented district such as Rotorua where groups of local Maori give regular entertainments for commercial purposes. In addition to Maori dances and songs, some games such as matimati and touretua were revived to add variety to the programme. As a result, many exponents have become expert. It was probably men from Rotorua who taught the game of matimati to their comrades of the Pioneer Battalion in France during World War I. Once a light train load of Pioneers proceeding to an assignment was held up near the billets of a Yorkshire Battalion. It was a cold morning and our men jumped out to warm themselves with some physical exercise. Instead of slapping their arms aimlessly in the European manner, they quickly paired off and played matimati. The quick slapping of the thighs, the jerking motions of the hands in various directions, and the loud chanting of the count in Maori astounded the Yorkshire men, who gazed open-mouthed at the exhibition of an ancient game which had been carried far from home by the solther descendants of warrior ancestors.
String figures may still be collected from the old people but in diminishing quantity as they pass away. The haka, poi, and, to a less extent, the peruperu war dance have been carried on for social reasons because they still constitute the heartiest form of welcome which a receiving tribe can give to its visitors on important occasions. The visits of English royalty or their representatives have been made the occasion for tribal gatherings in which the ceremonial dances have been revived with increasing difficulty as generations succeed each other. The skill to quiver the fingers and the elasticity of the protruding tongue seem to decrease with the ratio of increase in European education and culture.page 251
In athletic sports the Maori should excel, but lack of systematic training and coaching are probably responsible for their not having done more justice to their inherent capabilities. Of field events, the hop, step and jump is so popular that by many it is erroneously regarded as a native sport Of the major English games, rugby football is as much an obsession as it is with the pakeha, and many Maori players have achieved international fame. Cricket as the summer complement of football has never attained the same popularity. Cricket requires a pitch, a good ground, and special gear that make the preliminary preparations too much of a bother to the country village, whereas a football ground is readily marked off in a neighbouring paddock, goal posts erected and a football purchased without any strain on finances. Tennis was rising in favour as the summer game when I left New Zealand in 1927 and an annual tournament among tribal representatives had become established. Though the game was English, the hospitality extended to competitors was Maori. Thus the changing scene continues changing and the ultimate amalgamation of the two races, in thought at least, is seen in the approaching identity of their sports and pastimes.