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The Autobiography of a Maori

A Lawyer's "Criminal Practice"

A Lawyer's "Criminal Practice"

Having faultless English and also a strong sense of humour, Dr. Tutere Wirepa was the best after-dinner speaker I had ever heard. He and I happened to be at Port Awanui during a sitting of a Magistrate's Court. In the evening we were invited to a dinner to be given by a well-known storekeeper, in honour of one of the lawyers who was on the eve of his departure for service overseas during the first world war. When the Doctor was called upon to speak by the magistrate who presided, among other things, he said, "Mr. Chairman, I am sure the guest of the evening would be sadly missed by the riff-raff of the East Coast, for many of them have been pulled out of gaol by the guest of the evening. While far away on the fields of France and Flanders, wrapped in his greatcoat, I could see the spirit of a Nati1 hovering over our friend and guarding him. Mr. —, good luck to you, and I hope that when the war is over, the same faithful spirit will bring you safely home, once more to resume your "criminal practice."

1 Nati, short for Ngati-Porou, meaning the virile, devil-may-care, type of the tribe.