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The Autobiography of a Maori

Maori Soldiers were not Paid

Maori Soldiers were not Paid

At the conclusion of the campaign on the East Coast there was a shortage of food and both rebels and friendlies suffered alike. It may be mentioned here that Maoris who fought for the Government were not paid anything. My grandfather and his family moved to Horoera where sea-food was plentiful. They later moved to Orutua, where my grandfather built a weatherboard house. My second birthday was a great event and people in hundreds attended the celebration at Orutua. The principal food eaten and enjoyed was what is called doughboy, that is, flour boiled and stirred in water and sweetened with sugar or wild honey. Potfuls of the preparation were poured out into canoes around which sat the guests, each armed with mussel and paua shells. My page 18grandfather made an occasion of my second birthday because I was the senior grandson in the family, or even the senior grandchild.

My grandfather was the only one for miles around who owned a flock of sheep which had survived the war on the East Coast. The flock provided us and our neighbours with meat. It was my father's habit when he went round to look at the sheep, to put me on the back of a favourite horse while he led it. It was on one such occasion I had my first fall off a horse and my father was so anxious about me that he kept me in cold water until I suffered more from the cold than from the effects of the fall.