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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 12 (April 1, 1930)

Parinui, a Hill-top Kainga

Parinui, a Hill-top Kainga.

In the heart of this formidable river land we tied up to the right or west bank and climbed a steep hill to the largest village in the Wahi Pari, a kainga appropriately called Pari-nui (“Great Cliff”), the headquarters of the Ngati-Ruru, the “Bush-Owls” tribe. They certainly have a secluded home, these human moreporks. The village stands on the hilltop, like an eagle's nest; it is quite 300 feet above the river. So stood most of the healthily-set and easily defended pas of old. This very site was indeed a fortified place in other days. Now the crest of the hill, a space about three hundred yards long and a quarter of that width, has been levelled off to form the marae. At one end of this village assembly ground is the carved meeting-house; at the other end are the dwellings of the principal local people; on one side, on the brink of the steep slope, is a long tent-house for visitors; at the opposite side to that is the dining-hall, with the cooking quarters close handy. A tall flagstaff stands in the middle of the marae. At the back of the hill, convenient to the cooks’ quarters, runs the village water-supply, a clear stream of good water flowing through a gully about thirty feet below the level of the marae. From a well alongside this stream the water was obtained by an ingenious method, borrowed from the pakeha.
“Where the white-haired cataract booms.” (Photo, E. D. Burt.). The Huka Falls, Waikato River, North Island, New Zealand.

“Where the white-haired cataract booms.”
(Photo, E. D. Burt.).
The Huka Falls, Waikato River, North Island, New Zealand.

A wire rope from a post at the kitchen door runs to another at the well below, and along this rope the buckets of water, filled by a lad at the well, are drawn up by means of a travelling block and a light hauling line.

High, well-drained, well-built, and with a good water supply, Parinui is quite a model Maori village. But when we saw it first that season of the big rains it was muddy beyond description. The guests—it was a political meeting—sat wrapped in rugs in the meeting-house. I found the Chief of the place, Te Uira-Tu-ki-te-rangi (“The Lightning in the Sky”) lying in a tent at one end of the marae in a gloomy, most disconsolate mood.