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The Autobiography of a Maori

The First Horse They Ever Saw

The First Horse They Ever Saw

I remember listening to the Rev. Mohi Turei, when I was young, as he told the story of how frantically page 152excited he and another boy had been over the first horse they had ever seen. It was ridden by a white man who came from the south and who stayed the night at Rangitukia. They stood and gazed at the animal in amazement, but, more amazing than the horse itself, was the docility of the animal when it quietly permitted a little man to sit on its back and make it go wherever he wished it to go. The man and his horse left early next morning for Kawakawa (Te Araroa), and Mohi and his mate, without telling their people, decided, not having seen enough of the creature, to follow it all the way to Kawakawa, a distance of fully thirty miles. The man and his animal had an early start and by the time the two boys got on the Waiapu beach they had disappeared. The boys soon found the hoofmarks on the beach, however, and with their eyes rivetted to the track, like bloodhounds on the scent, they kept up a brisk pace. The hoofmarks on the Kautuku hill were indistinct and occasionally they lost them altogether, but they soon picked them up again on the beach below. Unfortunately the tide was coming in and was gradually obliterating the tracks. On the turn-in at East Cape they picked up the trail again. When they got on the long Hautai beach the tide was well in and they lost all traces of the horse's track, but their faith did not waver for they believed that sooner or later they would strike the scent once more. At Horoera they again found the track but only for a short period. When they arrived at Kawakawa, after this thirty-mile walk, they found the mystic animal in the missionary's paddock. Their joy was lessened, however, by their feeling of hunger. They were taken in by friends who arranged for their return home the next morning.