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Legends of the Maori

The First Gramophone among the Maoris

page 196

The First Gramophone among the Maoris

MR. ROBINSON was a great fisherman. He had fished in every puddle on the globe, and, according to him, had caught fish anything up to the size of a whale. He came to the Rangitaiki to try his luck, for the fame of this river had gone forth as one of the best trout streams in New Zealand. There were three in his party, and as they expected to be away for a month, they brought all their provisions in tins. There were tinned fish, tinned vegetables, tinned meats and even tinned puddings. The camp was pitched near a Maori village and in the evening one or two of the Maoris would saunter along and smoke their pipes with the pakehas.

There was glorious fishing. The friendship between Robinson and the local one-eyed Maori chief grew apace. So one evening Robinson asked his friend to supper. The Maori enjoyed the tinned fare greatly. Robinson produced his phonograph—we call it gramophone now—and taking a cylinder record from a tin box he put it on the machine. Then the Maori’s eye nearly dropped out of his head for the machine began to sing a most beautiful song.

The song ended, Robinson turned to his astonished friend, and asked, “What you think, Parau?”

The chief shook his head and replied: “Ka pai te tin fish; ah, ka pai te tin meat; very ka pai te tin pudding; but by korry te tin pakeha he takey te cake!”