Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Autobiography of a Maori

"The Trotter"

"The Trotter"

I suppose there never was a more humble and less intrusive man in the whole of the Ngati-Porou tribe than old Tawiri; for this reason I want to give him a paragraph in this book, in order to immortalise him.

Over sixty years ago I knew Tawiri as a mysterious character. His face was freckled and reddish in colour and there was in it a most peculiar expression. I had never heard him speak and even if he had spoken, I believe he would have been at a loss to know what to say; he looked so very strange and peculiar.

There was, however, one thing in his favour: he was a fast walker; in fact, he could be called a trotter. It page 155was said that he could trot all day. He once went to Opotiki to bring home the bones of a relative who had died there. These he put in a sack which he carried on his back all the way to Waiapu, a distance of over a hundred miles. I suppose, as it was his habit to do, he trotted all the way except when he was resting. It is almost incredible and unthinkable that a Maori could carry human bones on his back during the night, Tawiri did it and simply because of this he always seemed to me to live in a spooky atmosphere. It was also known that Tawiri carried on his back a fifty-pound bag of flour all the way from Gisborne to Waiapu, a distance of about a hundred miles, and it is said that he trotted all the way.