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The Autobiography of a Maori

A Community Breakfast

A Community Breakfast

It was the custom at Te Araroa for all in the settlement to have one common breakfast at the meeting-house on Sunday morning, each housewife bringing her contribution. Every adult person was provided with a whole pigeon while one bird was shared amongst three children. I often look back on those glorious days when the whole community was like one family, the leading members of which were the chief, Houkamau and my father. My father and mother were loved by the people.

The meeting-house, called Hinerupe, was not carved, but it holds for me very sweet memories. There, daily morning and evening prayers were read and on Sunday evenings a Bible Class was held. It was there that I first learned to like my Bible and my earliest religious impressions were then planted in my heart.

In the year 1938 the second Hinerupe was pulled down and a fully carved one took its place.

On Anzac Day of that year the third Hinerupe was page 41opened. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful carved houses in the country and I am pleased, for old time's sake, to have had a hand in its decoration.

When, owing to ignorance and petty jealousy, a clique at Te Araroa treated me as a black sheep during the construction of the house, the old people, who remembered my father and mother and the happy associations of the first Hinerupe, were much grieved and Sir Apirana Ngata, who had much to do with the renovation of the house, reminded my antagonists of the history of the old house and of my connection with it. The narrow-minded people evidently thought they would please Sir Apirana because we were politically opposed to each other.