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The Autobiography of a Maori

I Enter Te Aute College

I Enter Te Aute College

In 1887 I again tried to get into Te Aute College and this time was more fortunate. My friend and fellow-tribesman, Watarawi Paipa had died and Warihi (Wallis) Puha, another fellow-tribesman, had taken his place as a teacher. Wallis was then a famous rugby player.

Because I was a big boy—I was sixteen years of age —I was put into the third standard. I still had not mastered the English alphabet. Whenever I tried to pronounce the word "lord" I pronounced it "rod," much to the amusement of my classmates and the neighbouring two classes. This went on for days, but at last I conquered the word. Of the arithmetic set for my class, I had no more idea than had the man in the moon, so I used to watch the boy next to me do his sums. It was a good thing for me that the teacher did not pull me up for copying, for I was not actually copying, but page 73was studying hard. I soon conquered this also, and at the mid-year examination I was head of my class.

During my five years at Te Aute, I was consistently head of my class, and during my last year I was dux of the college. I passed the matriculation when twenty years of age, and I really deserved to get on for I worked very hard, like a person quickening his steps at the approach of night.