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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)

Camaraderie of the Baths

Camaraderie of the Baths.

This is everyman's land, where nationals of every country join hands in the common bonds of human suffering, the most pathetic of all human relationships. Racial and national enmities and prejudices dare not raise their shamed heads here, for in the brotherhood of bodily agony every man is “his brother's keeper,” and where such responsibility is recognised, there broods the gentle spirit of true fellowship. It is a jolly little community, too, in spite of its background of pain, and good-humoured jest and badinage pass from bath to bath. To listen to some of the arguments between patients, especially those in broken English, is sheer delight. One huge Maori, his bronzed torso gleaming wetly in the winter sun, is engaged in wordy warfare with a fellow-bather—a Dalmatian whose distorted, pain-wracked body has obviously embittered his mind. The Maori is shocked at his neighbour's blasphemies and lack of' faith.

(Rly. Publicity photo.) The Ngawha Hot Springs area it appeared a few years ago.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
The Ngawha Hot Springs area it appeared a few years ago.

On our pointing out his own inconsistency, in that while he preached faith-healing, he himself was practising a rational method of treatment, the big Maori burst into a gust of sonorous laughter.

“Me!” he exclaimed, derisively. “I no come for te sickness! I come for te enjoy!”

Thankfully we reflect that we, too, are able to come primarily for “te enjoy,” but it is on account of those others, disease-wracked and tortured, to whom the measure of their enjoyment must ever be the extent of the relief they experience, that our hearts are lifted up in gratitude to the memory of the noble chief, who, in his wisdom and beneficence, decreed that these Bethesdas should be free, to Maori and pakeha alike, “for ever and ever and ever.” Te Reinga rest his great spirit—ake! ake! ake!

And “te sore t'roat?” Py korry, yes! Ngawha—he cure him orright!

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