Wednesday, 6 February 2013

KAAPO CLARK - Maungatautari near Cambridge, Born 1930

I am Kaapo Clark, I was born in 1930 in Maungatautari.  I am also known as Campbell Clark, and I am Ngati Koroki.  I grew up with both my Parents, all four of my Grandparents, my Auntie and Uncle also lived with us, along with their five children.  There were about fifteen children living with us in our home at Maungatautari.  I am the eldest surviving, as seven of my siblings died.

We had a long punga whare.  There was a kauta at the end of it; and a wood slat roof and a dirt floor.  We had one hole and that was covered with a flour bag.  We didnt have bedrooms, it was just one big room.  It was a normal whare in Maungatautari; probably one of the better ones - and our floor was very clean.  We ate on the floor, we lay out clean sugar bags and laid the food out on those.  Mussell shells were our spoons and we all ate from the one container.  Kids had one, and grown ups had another.  We ate out of the same Umu.  Breakfast was kanga pirau, parore or kororirori (we call it repirepi), or any leftover kai from the night before.  We always had heaps of fruit with our breakfast, apricots and peaches.  I hardly took lunch to school though, I eat my brother's lunch; the one that was adopted out.   Our staple meats for dinner was rabbit, pork, kereru and sometimes beef.  A lot of our meat was "huahua", cooked and covered in fat, and were then packed into kegs or kerosene tins.  That was necessary, we never had any fridges back then.  We had harore - the bush mushroom, when we could get it; and plenty of eels.  Most of the time we were that hungry by the end of the day, we would just eat anything, whether we liked it or not.  Never ever turned food down.

Our beds were old kapoks, and they lay on top of ferns on the floor.  I loved sleeping by my parents feet, when I was four or five.  We had shop bought blankets and feather quilts.  The quilts were patchwork - nothing was wasted, my parents would make everything into something.   We had drawyers for our clothes.  We had one tap where we got running water, but the creek was our bath tub.  All the washing was also done in the creek.  We didn't have a long drop until I was 8, I think before then a long drop was a luxury; I think we just "go" in the paddock.

When I was very young I remember the old people will get water from the creek in a taha.  They grew "taha" (hue) and when it dried out they used it for carrying water; we had kerosene tins to hold water as well.  Our house was very dark, and most of our light came from the fire - candles came much later.  We all slept in a communal "sleeping" space.

Our whole whare was Maori ! We had whariki on the floor, and kete hanging all on the wall.  We also had a "mere" that hung in our whare.  My Grandfather had a fob watch, and some of the ladies in my family had jewellery.

My Father was a labourer, farmer and a shearer.  He worked for Pakeha farmers up the road as well as maintaining his own farm.  We grew all our own kai, we had acres of potatoes, kanga and kumara.  My Parents were always at home, unless they were away doing contract shearing.  My Mother would go with my Father as the cook for his shearing gang; she also did odd jobs for Farmer's wives.  When she was at home, she took care of us; watching the children or washing the clothes in the creek.  All my people were hardworking people.

I'd help my father chop the wood in the bush, I think I was between eight to ten years then.  We'd bring the logs out, and then I'd chop it down smaller; all the other children took turns doing that.  We all help cart the water too.  We ate twice a day, morning and night; and we all helped with the preparation of the kai.  I didn't like any of the jobs - we just did them.  Karakia was important, we do this twice a day, every day.  When my family can afford it we have parties too.

When we first got the buggy for our horses, I got to go for a ride with my Mother to "Kakarau", my father was working there, and we went to see him.  When my Father goes to the bush, he takes me as well.  One time we went right to the top of Maungatautari, and he showed me Mt Taranaki from there.  I loved my Father, he was a kind man; and I never saw him get wild.  He was a humble person and a well respected Man.  I still remember his voice (in a karakia) - he is always in my mind.  Mum lived 20 years after my Father died.  She was a good mother.  In the early years I went with her. I think I was a spoilt rat. (he laughs).  I remember my Mother always being there, always counselling me to be careful of the things I do.  I was the only one really raised by them, from the beginning to I left home.  All the brothers were adopted down the road.  I hoped I was like my Father.  I always found it easy to communicate with both of them.
I had a sister also, she was adopted out.  I was still close to her and my brothers.  I think I was spoilt by my Grandfather, everybody else got a hiding except me.  Somebody told my Grandfather that we pulled all the leaves off the fruit trees, all the other kids got it with the walking stick except me.

Most of the time, my Grandmother prepared the kai.  My Grandfather and Father were good cooks though, and they cooked quite often.  We kept our potatoes in the pits, also our peaches were preserved in the ground; they would keep through well into the winter.  My Family dug big pits in the ground.  They also stored kamikami in the ground.  Cooking, using Hangi was sometimes a necessity - when you have a lot of people in the one whare.  We had a big family, so Hangi was normal.  The women prepared it.  Women weren't allowed to dig the earth, nor were they suppose to be in the garden much.  The hole was already dug by a Man, then the women could just use it.

I learnt about Christmas at school.  My Grandfather was the biggest Sunday School adherant; he was always the one ringing the bell.  We didn't have Christmas at home until I was ten.  My Grandfather had died by then.  I saw Guy Fawkes down at the School.

I never wore shoes until I went to High School ! My Father bought me my first pair of shoes then.  They were black ones. No underwear, no wears at all and no togs.  A lot of my clothes were hand me downs.  My Father's old clothes were cut down for us.  Mum made things for us out of the flour bags as well.  We never thought much about them being hand me downs.  It was great to have something warm.  We wear anything, except girls never ever wear pants.  Those black shoes were my favourite, they clip clop on the road when I walk.  Right up until then I was a barefoot ! I would run into the cow mimi and teko and stand in it because it was warm, and then wipe my feet on the grass.  I had very hard feet !

When my Grandmother got the pension, we got a lot more things.  It was five pounds she use to get.  We'd come home with a 200lb flour, butter !, and fresh meat.  Nanny got the pension when I was about ten.  I remember the first time, we got a ride to town, it was just Nanny and I.  I had a orange fizzy drink out of a bottle and had cakes from in town; and luncheon sausage from the butcher.  It was the first time I had tasted any of those things.  All of those things came from that 5 pounds; and then we caught a taxi back to the Pa. About every six months, we would go to the pictures.  We got to go to the matinee, mainly cowboy films in the afternoon.

I never had any shop bought toys, but we made toys.  I had a spinning top that I made.  The girls played knucklebones with the tiny potatoes.  I made a kite from newspaper and the frame was made of fern stalks.  We already had the string, that was flax string made from muka.  I made a whip from the muka string once, to crack the tail - it made a noise.  We make canoes from the green part of the flax, the leftovers after the weaving.  Kids never went near flax, we heard too many Ghost stories, and our large grove of flax was too scarey.  We played a lot down at the creek.  We'd catch eels and crayfish.  We always had our friends over - they were all our cousins anyway.  I remember when I finally scored a bike; it was from my Foster brother.  I was suppose to double my sister to school on it, but I would make her walk and pick up my mate instead.  I always wanted a toy-gun.  Some of the pakeha boys had water pistols.  I never got one. My Parents had a 303. shotgun though !  I had a pet dog as well - I can't remember his name now.

We sang a lot of Waiata Maori when I was young, all by the Piano.  We had a Piano at the Pa.  The Pa saved up, then when we got it, the Pa paid it off at 10 shillings a month. I was always with my Father, and I always sat by him, at his feet when we go to Hui; or sometimes I go off with my cousins, playing running games or wrestling games.  We had a lot of freedom really, we knew when we had to be home - we also ate just before dark.

My Father had Tuberculosis.  He was an old man at forty - well I thought he was an old man ! I was as healthy as a horse, and fit as a buck-rat.  I was the fittest in my Rugby team.  My brother was sickly and frail.  If we sick, we get taken to the tohunga.  On immunisation day, I lied to the Nurses - I told them my parents said I couldn't have it.  No thought of asking for parents permission.  They still gave it to me.  Some kids were allergic, and they swelled up, and they rushed them to the Tohunga.  He even cured Pakeha.  A Pakeha lost his arm, and Heke took him to the swamp; he put water on it and joined it back.  The tohunga can even cure tooth ache.  I always had a tooth ache.  "Homai te rongoa, ki a pai ai i toku waha" (calling to the ancestors, that have passed on).  The tohunga could take away pain. I saw Heke fix a young boy and a huge absess.

I started school when I was seven, at the Maungatautari Public School. It was a public school so there were both Maori and Pakeha going there.  There was a little bit of animousity between Maori and Pakeha, especially when Pakeha kids pimped on us; but most of the time we were all friends.  We were careful to each other.  Sometimes we call the Pakeha kids "keha".  I never got the strap.  My teacher, Mr Bird, threw a chalk at me once for daydreaming, and I cried from the "shock of it".  It hit me on the forehead.  Sometimes I spoke Maori at school, but I never got caught.

We had teeth inspection at school, and finger nail inspection.  At high school, they checked our uniform.  We had to have our cap folded a specific way, and tucked into the belt.  I always liked our School uniform, and I liked the discipline. My favourite teacher was Mr Burr.  I liked him.  He always boasted that he had the best academic children - they were, my brother and Tom Tauroa.  Mr Burr told me that when I left school and grew up - that I would be a chief.

We had Maori culture at school.  We werent allowed to speak the Reo, but we could have action songs.  They were taught by the teacher; Mehe Manu Rere, Pokarekare ana and other national songs of Maoridom. They taught us English history.  We had nothing to compare it with.  They filled us with what they wanted us to know.  They showed us pictures of our ancestors in the canoes.  We observed the English flag, and we stood in front of it and sang. "God Save the King".  I heard of Queen Victoria, there were figures on the walls at school and other monarchs.  I definitely heard of Samuel Marsden. I never heard about the Treaty of Waitangi though.

My Father went to the same school as me.  I think the school was built in 1915.  He was at school wehn his Grandfather died.  Mum also went to school for a little while.  They were very much interested in my education.  They provided the money for me to go to High School and for the uniform.  I loved going to school.  Those were enjoyable years, athletics, school band and military training were the things I enjoyed the most.

I heard about Raupatu a little bit later - in my teenage years; I didn't hear that from school though.  I knew Pakeha came from England, and I knew about Ireland; because there were a lot of Irish kids in our area.  My bestfriend at School was Irish.

I went to Sunday School every Sunday; they were held at our house or at the Marae.  The main karakia was Pai Marire, but we would have other Ministers visiting who were Methodist and or Anglican.  Pakeha went to another church.  Pai Marire was our main haahi.

There were other Pakeha in our childhoods too.  The Pakeha farmers that lived up the road. I worked for a Pakeha Farmer, I use to cut their lawns for a shilling. That was enough for me to go to town, buy fish and chips, a bottle of drink and the pictures.  To us, it was normal; all Maungatautari adults worked for the Pakeha.  My Father was very careful with Pakeha.  He'd never let them come into the house.  Once only, a Policeman just "walked in", they were checking to see if Dad had beer in the house. He never found anything so he left.  After that, Pakeha were never allowed inside.  My Father was suspicious of Pakeha and suspicious of Police.  He treated Pakeha correctly and politely and with respect.  We never went to our Pakeha friends house's either.  It wasn't normal.  It was okay at school, but thats all. At School, Maori dominated Pakeha 5:1.  Some times Pakeha people would come over and try to lease our land.  My Father knew that "once a Pakeha moved in, you had no way of moving him out - no safe way, they had the law on their side".  They didn't come to our Marae much either, only by invitation.  If a Pakeha comes to the marae, the old people will say "He aha te mahi o te Pakeha ra ?" - the feeling of suspicion toward Pakeha was always there with the old people. I suppose us younger ones broke down the barriers.

Kids are kept away from the Marae proper, I mean the Marae area in front of the Whare.  There was always an old man with a walking stick to keep kids away.  At night, I would go by my Father's feet. I met Piki and Julia when I was at Primary School age - they holidayed at Maungatautari.  We knew they were Kahui Ariki; and we knew we were Waikato. I learnt most of our Waikato things from my Grandparents.  My Parents were first cousins, my Grandmothers were two sisters. I would say they were the best part of my childhood.  I loved the stories at night, when the old people are relaxed, we all sit arund the open fire, its the only light - and we are all roasting huhu.  I absorbed all their stories, some were Ghost stories about people who were dead.  Us kids were frightened at night, it made sure that none of us ever went outside by ourselves at night.  Too scared.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

JOHN ASPINALL - Tokomaru Bay, near Gisborne, Born 1928

My name is John Aspinall, I was born in August 1928 in Tokomaru Bay, and I am Ngati Porou.  I grew up there in Tokomaru Bay as well.  I lived with both of my Parents, and they had five children.  I was the second eldest, but my eldest brother was adopted out, so I was the eldest child in the house.  We lived in a humble home.  It was made from timber with the tin roof.  We had glass windows, and a galvanised water tank.  It was a three bedroom home, with a verandah.  I slept on the verandah.  There were two lounges and one kitchen.  We had the most beautiful gardens -  I thought they made our house look flash.  There were other beautiful homes in Tokomaru Bay, so I'd say ours was an ordinary average house.  Brick houses were the flashest, Pakehas lived in those houses.

We had a big long table, my parents had seats, and we the children sat on a long form that was by the wall.  My Parents had old time sofas; we had a gramophone, and a piano, and a wireless radio that was battery run.  Thats what we had in the lounge. When I was young there were Korowai and old fish hooks that hung in the lounge, but they were given as souvenirs to missionaries who had become firm family friends.

We had spring beds, kapok mattresses and drawyers in all of the rooms.  We had feather pillows, and feather quilts that had all been home made by my mother.  We had candles for our lighting, but I remember when we got gas lanterns.  They ran off white spirits; and they were the things "to have". Much flasher than candles.  The Tilly lamp gave the brightest light.  I think we were more well off than some of the Pakehas - there were some very poor Pakehas living in Tokomaru Bay.

My Mother had dancing dolls, and beautiful old clocks.  She loved her big mirrors and the beautiful old wardrobes.  We did most of our washing in a dish.  We had an outside bath-house next to the wash-house - they were both kept away from the house. That was 'tapu'.  Those places are away from where we slept and ate.  We had a long drop, even further away, those were for the women only.  For Mum and For Nan.

Our house had a coal range, and most of our cooking was done on that. My mother had the steel irons and those were heated on the coal range.  She did a lot of ironing, with or without starch.   Our water came mainly from the rainwater tank, or from the "puna" nearby.  We use the puna if we run out of rainwater.
My Father was a farmer, and he also worked as a roadman for the County Council.  Every now and then he works away from home. Maybe once a month, but not very often.

My Mother was a tailoress, she worked away from Home; she would also do ironing and starching for other people.  My job was to stay home and watch the younger kids.  I had plenty of other jobs I had to do too - chopping the wood, mowing the lawns, polishing the shoes, milking the cows, catching the horses and churning the cream into butter.   And then the next day, I do it all again.  My favourite jobs were mowing lawns and any jobs that I got to do on the horses.  I was never paid for the jobs I do, they're just my jobs; I think we were pretty poor.  Our reward was the pictures, I get a penny for an icecream and plenty of lollies.

My Father didn't really have any hobbies, but he played football.  My Mother did plenty of crotcheting and quilt making, she was always busy, mainly sewing.  We spend most of our time with our Mum, helping her with the chores; except when we're playing of course.  I'd help mum with her pinning, when she is sewing; and I help her stretch the sheets.  My mother was a very good tailoress.  She can make 3 whole suits in a week.  There was a lot of responsibility put on me when she was away working. Anything go wrong, Im the eldest - so I get the hiding, and I get the blame of it.  She worked all the time, and I worked all the time !

My Parents taught me to be honest in all my dealings.  An Honest days work for an honest days pay; and the Church was very important to us.  I found it hard to talk to my parents some times.  It was hard to ask for money if I needed anything for school, or if I wanted something.  Id rather find work to do, than ask my Parents for money.  I was close to my younger brother and my younger sister, because I was the babysitter.

Some times we'd have missionaries staying with us.  The only time we have family outings is when we are visiting relatives or going to Tangis.    My Father was always working too.  When I got older I'd go and do mustering with her; it was during this time that I got close to him.  He was a hardworking man.  Tall, handsome, blue eyed Pakeha ! Ha !  He was very good at fixing things, he was a very clever man.

We attended church every week. We are LDS - Mormons/ Momona. We ride four miles on horseback to Church, and we were always the first ones there.  Our Branch President was always a Maori, and Sacrament meeting was held in both Maori and English.  I don't remember any Pakeha in our branch, only visitors.  We were strong in the church, and it was very important to us, I was born into the Church.   We pray daily, and the church doctrine is always in our life everyday. My Favourite stories were about "Samson", and all the miracles of Christ.  I loved all of them.

We always celebrate Christmas if its not on a Sunday.  As a Family; we get presents, we have a tree and a big kai.  We never had birthdays though; Guy Fawkes we watch the Pakeha's fireworks display.  We go down to the Marae for tangi, whanau meetings, weddings, dances, concerts and birthdays; we have big hakari there.  The young people are not allowed on the Marae in the front part.  No children playing there, just for the Kaumatua.  The kids stay home and theres no drinking.  Not like today when the kids run in and out.  We all knew where we had to be.  My Grandfather was a "rangatira".  "Te Kaihanga o te Wharenui" (the builder of the Marae), we had an awareness of his mana and who he was. One time we were playing up and my Grandfather sent us home. Our culture was very important, and I felt more Maori than anything else, even though my Father was Pakeha.  "Our Pakehas spoke Maori", and they visit the Marae, really we're all like one family and everyone was related.  Some of the Pakeha had married into our family.  The only difference that I noticed between Maori and Pakeha was the skin colour.

I spent a lot of time with my Grandparents - my Mother's Parents.  I never met my Father's Parents.  We go over there after school and they always have a kai ready for us.  My Grandfather was a great gardener, I remember acres and acres of kumara, water melons and all sorts of veges.  He was a quiet man, and a deep thinker.  My Grandmother was a very fit woman and "full of life".  She'd take us with her on horse back to "kohi kai moana" (gather seafood).  She was a good horse-rider, bare back no saddle.  Most of what I know about gardening I learnt from my Grandparents.  I loved spending time with them, it was sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity.  They couldn't much English, more like broken English.  Their home was a kauri building with a kauta at the end.  Where the kauta was, was a dirt floor.  It was wooden floor boards everywhere else.  They had glass windows.

In Tokomaru Bay, the whole place is related.  We had a large communal garden, we called it a "Pakoro".  We all worked there as well, along with my cousins, my aunties and uncles.  No one starved.  I didn't like helping down there, because everyone wanted to be the boss, and everyone boss us kids around.  We knew the rangatiratanga of my Grandfather and our family status in the settlement.  I learnt waiata at school, and I learnt whakapapa at church.  Everyone spoke Te Reo Maori in my childhood.  My Grandmother use to tell us stories about the different kaitiaki, and teach us about rongoa.

I knew about Pakeha history too.  Captain Cook, Queen Victoria, Samuel Marsden and George Grey - knew who they all were.  The Treaty of Waitangi was talked about at school I think.  I definitely knew that the Pakeha had conquered the Maori; and I knew about Kupe.  I knew Pakeha came from England, and I knew that we came from Hawaiiki.  I was proud of both of my sides.

We had Pakeha living in the district, and we play with their kids.  They sleep over our house, on the verandah with us.  All of us running around with no pants on, and we cheeky to each other just like how kids are. I started school when I was 5, but I was kept home alot to look after my younger brother.  I wasn't very good at school - Id say I was a "block-head" (he laughs).  I went to a Native School; the books were free.  There were both Maori and Pakeha teachers, and the headmaster takes the Seniors.  His children went to the Public School a mile down the road.  Pakehas went to the Public School, and they're scared to mix with the Maori kids at the Native School because of "kutus".  Pakehas were scared of Maoris; but I had mates of all races.   There were some cheeky Pakehas though.  Sometimes they call us Niggars or Black Mongrel, it wasn't often though.  I got plenty of corporal punishment everyday.  I couldn't spell, or write; and I wouldn't read in class because I stuttered.  I'd rather get the strap than read in front of the class.  There were plenty of times that I wore the "Dunce Cap", standing in the corner - and facing the wall; so that I can't distract the others in the class.

I never told my Parents about me getting the strap, because I'll get another hiding.  The School didn't bother to tell them, because everybody gets the strap.  We weren't allowed to speak the reo, because they think that we might  be swearing at them, or talking about them.  I just obeyed the rules, I wanted to do good.  I was a good artist, good at drawing and pretty good at sports.  I didn't like most of my teachers.  I liked Mr Minogue helped me jump a class so that I could catch up.  I turned 18 in form 3.

I remember that every Wednesday, Apirana Ngata used to come to our school and teach Maori Culture.  We saw Apirana Ngata as being a man from the Government.  We had our own rangatira in Tokomaru Bay, and that was my Grandfather.  At school there was English history taught; especially about the first sovereigns.  We learned about the Maori Wars - I didn't remember much of it, they seemed to make sure that we knew that we had been conquered.  That was drummed into us.  I think I did a bit better at High School,  I went to Gisborne High.  One of the teachers at the Native School use to make fun of me.  They'll get my younger brother to come and answer questions that I couldn't.

The District Nurse would come to the school and give injections for the Maoris.  "Tough Maoris" get the needles.  Oooh I hate that needle.  I try hard not to get sick.  There was always flu around, and measles, mumps and kutus.  We'd inhale the "Blue Gum" for flu, and my toothbrush was a finger and salt.  We had a dental nurse at school as well, and I had a few teeth pulled out.  I got appendicitis when I was young, and one time I had a really sore puku after eating Green Apples.  They took me to the hospital, it was exciting and everything was lovely and white; I wanted to stay there. But they just gave me an Enema and sent me home (he laughs as he recounts this).

We always had plenty of milk and cream; so breakfast each morning was either kororirori, roroti or kangawai.  All of us took Maori bread to school for lunch, but we'd try to swap if someone had something better.  Meat and Potatoes and Puha boil up for most nights, other nights might be a roast mutton and vegetables.  We have rice pudding on Sunday, or bread pudding, or Apple Pie.  We always had plenty of kai-moana as well, everything - kina, paua, parengo. I couldn't stand koura mara - rotten cray !

The clothes we wore were dungaree pants, and shirts - all made by my Mother.  I always wore a straw hat too.  Always dungarees ! When I was 13, I got my first pair of long pants; I got my first pair of boots at the same time.  My sister had fancy clothes, that my mother made her.  Girls never wore pants in those days - only tomboys.  My Sunday Best clothes was an off white silk shirt, some black pants and a tie.

The Best part of my childhood was playing.  It seemed like I worked most of the time, but I had time to play too.  Cowboys and Indians was our main game - we had real bows and real arrows.  I hung a boy up in the tree once, I got him down later - I nearly forgot him !  I played Rugby, Hockey, marbles and Tennis.  We played "tene koeta" - rounders.  I spent time hiking up the mountain as well, us boys play tarzan with the supple jacks; there were even a few pig hunting trips on a Saturday.  When I mowed the lawns, I'd push my brother around on the mower, and race.  Sometimes I visit my friends, Maori and Pakeha - thinking back now, a lot of them were half-caste.

We'd make bikes out of broken bike parts, go to the Pakeha's dump and take it home and fix it.  Got toys for Christmas twice I think - Bow and Arrows and a shanghai.  I always wanted a brand new bike !  I started saving stamps.  My Grandfather had stamps that he'd save for me.  We had horses, pet lambs, cats and the farm dogs.  I played the koauau, mouth organ and a juice harp.  When I was 12 I tried to rob a bank.  I only got so far, and then I couldn't get through the bars.  I got a real good hiding from Mum for that.

The best time though was when I got to go to the Pictures; and I got to go quite often.  I loved the westerns, and the tough guy.  50/50 crook was another one.  My heros were the Lone Ranger, "Rin Tin Tin", "Deadwood Dick", and "Tailspin Tommy".  It was time away from the hard work and chores, and away from School.  The highlight for me though was when the Serial Circus game to town - and I performed in the Circus as a Clown !  It started the idea for me that when i grew up I might be some type of Performer.

Monday, 4 February 2013

TAARE DOLLY TURINUI, Aramiro near Raglan. Born 1928

I grew up in Aramiro mainly, and for two years we lived in Patikirau - with Riripo, Awa and Nanny Uta (Rangiutaina).  My Father had a job working for Pakeha farmers.  I lived with my Father, Mother, elder brother and sister in law and a cousin.  I was the youngest except for my cousin who stayed with us as well.

At Aramiro, we lived in a Punga house; across from the Pukeis.  It was all punga, and lined with raupo.  It was really warm, the floor was dirt.  No "matapihi", just one door.  There was a big chimney.  The Raupo reflected the light.  We also had flower gardens outside, dahlias grew everywhere.  We had a large vege garden as well.  There were no bedrooms or walls, it was just one big room.  I thought our gardens make it look nice.  Our cupboards were boxes, and we ate on the whariki.  We had beds and mattresses and we had tin boxes to keep our clothes in.  Our sheets were the champion brand (made from recycled flour bags), and my mother had put lace around the edges.

My Mother's most prized possessions were her greenstones.  She also had embroidered pillowslips that had crocheted lace that she had made herself.  She had petticoats that she had made herself as well, with the rooster pattern and rose pattern.  My favourites were my tartan skirts that she had made me.  Everything we had was placed in the tins.

We cooked on an open fire.  Our Umu hung over the top; and we cooked on the charcoal; especially our bread.  We looked after them.  We washed in the river, and we had a long drop.  The only time you get to use the chamber pot is when your sick.  Our drinking water was caught in a tin, and our lighting and heating was from the fire, candles and tilly lamps.  Other than our linen there was nothing English in our house.
My Father worked at the timber mill.  He finished at 5pm and came home every night.  My Mother was a house wife. My Mother was always busy.  Id see her crotcheting lace, jumpers and cardigans.  If she wasn't crotcheting, she was making whariki and kete for our home or for the marae.  We "air" out the whariki and wash them everyday by sprinkling them with water.  She also use to make our soap.
I would help with the work as well.  I do the dishes, and I help Mum do the washing.  I would be swimming at the same time.  Mum would boil our white clothes in a tin.  All the ladies would be down at the creek.  I also peel the potatoes, though I always get a growling for peeling the skin off too thick.  I liked doing the washing, I would bang Dad's dungarees with a stick to soften it, coz they were too hard for Mum to rub. I liked gardening too.

My Father would only drink on special occassions, or after Rugby Games.  he played for the Moerangi Team.  They were rough games ! - especially against Raglan.  "No relations, and no friends on the field" - even the spectators have a fight on the sideline.  When I was only four, I got half drowned.  The only thing that saved me was that I had my Father's Football Jersey on and it got caught in the tree.  My Father would put the jersey on me, so that he could see where I was, while he was practising.  I liked going to watch Dad play Football.  We would all pile on Koro Hemi's truck - just down the road was a big thing.   I would go eeling with my Father, I would hold onto the light.  There were really big eels then.  My brother comes with us, and I had to pull the eels out.

I loved my Dad, and he loves everybody's children, not just me.  He's the one that "loves" us after we get the discipline from Mum.  I carried yarns around, and I open my mouth - (she's laughing as she tells me this) - I was only a kid.  I hear people talking and I spread it around.  I got a good hiding for that because I started a big clash.  My Mother taught me a lot of things, and I spent a lot of time with her.  She taught me songs - and if I want to know things, she took the time to explain things to me.  She teach me to do the washing.  She wanted to train me as a good housewife, because when she was 18 she didnt know anything.  My Mother told me that when she first got married, that she sat by the creek crying because she didnt know how to wash clothes.  She was a good mother, but she was a "disciplinarian".

The most important thing that my parents taught me, was not to talk about other people; and if I do hear things, not too spread it.  They also told me not to back-bite.  I learnt that - the hard way. None of the old people taught you about pregnancy or about babies.  You had an idea how to make a baby, but not how to deliver them.

We eat twice a day.  In the morning we have kororirori, we eat this with a mussell shell for our spoon.  The lunch that I get to take to school is Rewena Bread, salted pork hinu for our butter and water cress from the river.   We have a big tea, boil-up : Puha, Brisket.  Some times we have Roast Pork, Potatoes and Kumaras.  Some times we have cabin biscuits with butter and dipped in hot water.
We also eat Para (King-Fern), the roots (shaped like a hoof), we peel it and we boil it; it tastes like a Taro.  Sometimes when Dad finds it we have wild honey, and tawhara - thats in the middle of the Kiekie.  We always have kai moana, from Raglan; whoever is going to the beach on someone's truck - everybody hops on and bring some back, I especially like the crayfish.  We have pawhara eels and smoked eels.  My favourite food was Paratihi bread with salted hinu and watercress.  And I like "black balls" from the Rupa's shop.

My Mum always did the cooking cause Dad was always away at work.  She says I dont wash the puha properly (laughs). My Dad knew how to cook though, and sometimes in the weekend he cooks bread.
I loved Christmas.  Every Christmas I get a whole outfit, all hanging up.  It was shop bought.  I get a new pair of shoes, new pair of socks and new dress and hat ... all from Santa Claus.  We have a big kai.  They go to town and buy a case of bananas (1/2 ripe and 1/2 unripen).  Its the only time we see bananas.  The whole whanau comes home - we have it together.  We slice the bananas and have it with cream, and we have this with jelly junket.

I loved new clothes, and I also loved my Gym, that was the school uniform; it made me look important. (laughs)  Some times I get hand-me-downs.  It didn't worry me.  If I like it, I keep it.  Hand-me-downs were good stuff, mine came from the Coopers, and they bring it down to us; and all the stuff is "still good".  My Mum had special clothes to wear to the Coronation.

The games I played were knuckle bones and sliding on the cabbage trees.  We always had heaps of time to play, cause theres only one room to clean. I use to think about Pakeha houses that it would take too long to clean their house.  So much work for them to do.  When we feed our chickens, one of us can feed everybodies chickens.  We play up in the bush, or in the river, up the hills and on the horses.  I had friends come and stay.  They were mostly Maori, because the Coopers were the only Pakeha in Aramiro.
While we were staying in Raglan, Dad gave me pennies.  A penny buys me a big chocolate, and inside it is a bracelet and more lollies.  I had some toys.  I had a doll that someone had given me, but before that I didn't need a doll anyway. I just roll something up and handle it like a baby.  I had a spinning top, and my mother made me skipping rope out of muka.

I had pets as well.  Pet Rabbits, Pet Lambs, Pet Pigs - everytime we moved, we leave it behind and i would cry about it cause I couldnt find them when it was time to leave.  My Parents had a Gramophone, and we had Jimmy Rogers records, I think I was 6 or 7, and I would sing with the records.
Sometimes we get up to mischief.  We're not supposed to go up to the Mill, but we still do.   One time, after school, we went there; and we were swinging on the rafters.  I got a hiding from my Dad for doing that.  In all my life, I only got 2 hidings from my Father, otherwise it was from my Mother.  I was told it was too dangerous at the mill.   Another time, A koroua asked for a light for a pipe, and we tell him to "get it yourself", and we run away.  "You'll get a hiding if I catch you" - but by night time hes forgotten.  There was an old blind lady, her mokos take her to the toilet, they tell her to jump cause theres a drain. But really theres no drain there, and we all laugh cause she jumps.

There werent many restrictions on us.  We always go to the river, but we were told to be aware of the smaller ones, and we were only allowed as far as the bush, or we'll get lost.   When I was 10, I went to the regatta at Ngaruawahia.  When I was 11, Mr Forlongs brought the projector out and we saw the pictures in the meeting house.  When I was 12, I got to go to the Winter Show.

I got sick for back-answering to the Koroua.  "Ka nui te mate o te kotiro ra, e ai ki te koroua" -  They told my father to give me a karakia and a himene, and in the morning I was better.  There was always some sort of "mate maori", and dysentry was pretty bad. I remember a little baby died of Pnuemonia.   When I was 12, I hurt my leg.  I went to the doctor, and I ended up in Hospital.  I was in there for 2 or 3 weeks, it was good cause there was some other Maori and I was put on the verandah.  When we have colds, we have lemon drinks.  We have olive oil and castor oil for sore stomachs, and medicines that my Mother make from things from the bush.  We had a toothbrush everyday at school, because the school provides it.

I started school when I was 7.  My first school was Kaharoa Native School.  There were pakehas that went to our school.  Those were the Coopers and the Mill worker's kids.  There was the usual cheekiness between us and them.  We throw stones at the Pakeha kids because we dont want them walking on the roads, we throw stones at them and make them walk through the paddock and we laugh.  Every morning at school, there is an inspection for a hanky, clean nails, hair combed and clean ears.  I liked it, because it became a habit.   I liked the teachers, we had good teachers.  In the winter time they make us hot cocoa.   The teachers were strict to the older ones - they get detention, if they didn't do their work, and they have to do work around the school.  There was no Maori allowed at school.  I didn't speak Maori at school, because I didnt want the strap.  I spoke broken english, the older ones get a strap - they're old enough to know better.  I only stayed at school until Primer 3.  I could do arithmetic and a little bit of printing.  I think the Pakeha King was King George.  The Maori king was King Koroki.  My Mother was educated, she'd been to school at Kawhia.  Dad's education came from living with the Pakehas.  He couldn't read though.  I didn't know Pakeha's came from England, but I knew they were different.

We had karakia every morning and every night at home.  We also had a church house in Aramiro.  It was part Methodist and part Ringatu.  I remember men from the Te Kau ma Rua would also come out and take the karakia and services.  Karakia was very important to my Parents, before daylight they're saying morning prayers, they never forgot; and every night we have karakia again.  Our karakia were always in Maori.  At the church house, there might have been Pakeha come, though Im not certain.

There were Pakeha in Aramiro.  They were the families of the Mill workers.  There were the Coates, the McConeys and other families.  They were good people, and we played with their children.  We all "got on".  The Pakehas used to come to the dances at the Pa. "We had good pakeha people".  Even when we got older and came to town, we got on with the Houchens family.  When I went to the Houchen's place, I thought it must have been a lot of work to live in a house like that, because it was so flash.  My parents got along with their bosses.  Pakeha ladies came to our home too.  They come inside and have a cuppa tea and maori bread.  My Mum yakked a lot, and the Pakeha women would swap recipes with her and sewing patterns. I was still young when I was working at the Gardens at Houchen Road. I was making 5 pounds per week. I would buy me a dress for 12shillings from the Great Bargain Store (Farmers).  I was 14.  Adults can make 30 pounds per week.  We get 5 shillings to fill a bag with peas.  When we get paid we go to the races with our Aunties, in our new shoes, new costumes and even gloves !

Growing up, I always knew that I was Ngati Mahanga.  During the war in the early 1940s we had a culture group raising funds for the red cross.  While we were doing this, the old people told us about our waka being Tainui, and other history.  The old people were my Grand Aunts, and Grand Uncles and of course, Granny Paretutaki.  Granny Paretutaki lived at the Pa.  I liked listening to their stories, we'd hear about the life, coming of the Pakeha and the Pakeha and Maori fighting.  I also learnt weaving ketes and whariki from the old people.  Paretutaki always spoke Maori, and she lived with my Uncle.

There were also functions at Kaharaumati.  Mainly Tangis, weddings and Christmas.  Weddings were the happy things. I liked watching them get all dressed up and ready at the homestead, and then we all go over with them to the Pa.  The Kawa was a natural every day thing.

During tangis, I only ever remember the body inside the house.  I never seen it outside.  One lady called from outside, I wasnt allowed inside.  I can't ever remember a karanga for the "moni-roimata".  They brought the kai straight to the kitchen, and it was recorded in the kitchen not in the front.  There was always plenty of kai in the Marae, and I dont even remember there being money put on the marae.  I suppose thats why gardens were important during those days, so that there was always plenty of kai for hui.  You plant yours and then you help everybody else to plant and harvest theres.  You keep what you need, and give the rest to the Marae.

When Uncle Charlie (Father's elder brother) not there, it was my Dad. But otherwise hes in the Kitchen.  Mum is making the kono and the basket for the hangi.  The meat was thrown straight on the stones.  It was a lot of work for the ladies. I took it all for granted, it was there all the time, and I didnt know anything else; except that we were Maori.   Some times the local Pakeha come to the Marae.  They know the rules, Lady can't wear a pants, and no photos.  I never thought much about the Pakeha, they lived across the river, thats where they should be; we never worried what they were doing.  All I know is that my Parents got on well with everybody, including Pakehas - and I never once heard my Parents say a bad word about them.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

PETER KEREMETA - Paraawera near Te Awamutu. Born before 1930

I spent my childhood at Mangakopara, Ure Paraawera.  I grew up on the banks of the Mangahoe rivers, its watershed being Maungatautari.  I lived there with my Father and Mother, a brother and a sister; until I went to live with my Grandfather. I was the first born, and that's why part of my childhood was spent with my Grandfather.

My Father built our house.  It was made of wooden walls, iron roof with a wooden floor. It was "Quite some house" in those days.  My Parents were farmers.  The property has an Urupa on it called Ahurei.  It was used before Taupiri Kuao Maunga.  People from Ngapuhi are buried there also.  I believe they were Ngati Korora (an ancient name).

Our house had two bedrooms. My Father and Mother were in one room, about the size of a large wardrobe.  My brother and I were in the second room, and my sister had a bed in the hot water cupboard.  It was comfortable and I was taught to be thankful for it. We never compared it with others.

Our dining table and long forms were hand made by my Father - all rough sawn.  I missed sitting on the floor after my father made these, I could no longer dominate the other children (laughs).  We had a sitting room that was used for manuhiri or for karakia.  No furniture and I felt threatened by this room. We as children were never quite sure what was happening in this room.

Beds seemed unnecessary, we slept on kapok mattresses on the floor, neat floor boards.  My Parents had a double bed. Kapok mattresses were used to iron clothes, they were placed between the kapok and the floor boards.  I always resented the laughter about the creases in our clothes.

The earliest possession I remember owning individually was a bible. It was considered necessary for me to have that. My Father was the local coffin maker. I still think about those coffins today, especially where we got the timber from.  Many and each taonga has its own history linked with it, I still wear one today. We had korowai from the last century, we had photos of Tupuna born before the Pakeha invasion of Waikato and a pounamu patu over 160 years old we believe.

We had running water in the house, and a coal range which annoyed me because most other People had open fires to cook on.  It began to change our practices and our Tikanga.  We never had a bath tub, we washed at the cowshed.

You went outside to the long drop shack, night and day. In later years Mother would not allow toilet to be installed in the living quarters; it was a no-no to our tikanga.  We had electricity, and the rule was - when our Parents put out their lights, all lights were to be switched off.  We had no curtains, and we were also not allowed to look at the full moon.  We always slept facing North.  Your space was all of the room.  No one disputed any area. You slept in your bedroom totally in the world of darkness.

We had whakairo in our house. Being the oldest of the family, I am now the caretaker.

Our house was on a farm.  The bedrooms were private.  Our house was built close to the Urupa, for we were the caretakers.  We had lots of neighbours. We never made any noise.  I always remembered korero to the this day "Do not be afraid of your Tupuna in the Urupa.  Watch out for the live ones, they might sell you".

My Father was a farmer, and later a coal miner. He worked very hard to give us the best of life which I didn't appreciate at the time.  He was away a lot, working for Pakeha farmers to help to pay the farm mortgage. While he was away, my Mother was also a Farmer.  She milked cows, 25 total; and kept our house and worked on the farm.  I never took much notice of what my mother did, but she seemed to be magical.  She taught us traditional food preparation; whanake, kotero, koura, tuna, kanga wai, huahua; and i hated that kind of food.

My sister had to do the washing, and this was always done in the daylight.  We never left our washing in at night. Men never touched women's clothing during washing and drying.  My brother and I did all the heavy household chores; such as lifting and cutting firewood.  Once again, because of the wood range, tikanga changed and the wood needed to be cut shorter.  I missed the traditional fire setting.  We lost the warmth, it seemed different.

As we got older, my Father bought more cows.  I went to live with my Grandfather who had more cows as well.  I had to look after his farm.  I was only young - twelve.  I hated the Tainui Maori Trust Board, my Grandfather was a founding member; and he was always away.  On Sundays, we had church at the Marae. Full moon time for tuna, New Moon huahua - preserving meat in fat.  Also, no meat on Fridays, because my father was Catholic.  I always enjoyed the work, it gave me direction.

I don't remember ever having pocket money, until I earnt my own money.  I was always told how to spend the money that I had. I spent a lot of time reading the bible when I was young. It was under my Father's direction.  He was a scholar, my Mother could not read nor write.

Our family went on outings to Kihikihi.  This was a big occasion. Te Awamutu from Paraawera was like going to Australia.  Pakeha wealth was obvious.  We lost the war so why shouldn't they be.  I spent very little time with my Father, he was always busy working, though he did always manage to give us three evenings.  When I was older, I worked with my Father, especially clearing and cleaning the Urupa.  I would tell my Father about the school activities.  When I went to the Puahue Pakeha School, I knew of the attitude they had toward Maori.  My Mother taught us to be humble.

The things I most admired about my father was that he was a Christian, Honest and Hardworking Man.  Some times I think I hated him, because I knew I couldn't do the same.  I felt the Pakeha used him.  They would bring him home on the farm tractor, because they thought he might dirty their car. I think he died hating me too.  I had a "know it all" attitude towards my Father.  He lived out his last days in an "Old Folks Home".  I will never forget that decision for the rest of my life. I remember the address of that place, "Von Tempsky Street, Hamilton".  There is no excuse for that decision from myself and the family. Tikanga went out the door.

Every hour of the day - One will never forget a Mother.  Our time together we would "korero korero korero".  She could not write or speak English.  Shopkeepers used pigeon english with her. I hated them.
My Mother never spoke a harsh word against anyone.  She always believed anything that happens has a meaning.  She always "gave" and never expected anything in return. They both taught me to have understanding towards other people; to be able to communicate with them, leaving room for other people to participate in any activity or more importantly in a discussion. I am personally more attracted to what I detest  the most.

My Parents gave me life, itself a gift to mankind good or bad. The relationship with my brother and sister was very close in times of need. We were taught to be independent but never to forget who we were.  Being the oldest in the family is difficult for I have not got the skills of Parents.

My Father was Catholic, but we attended the Church of England service that was held at Te Taumata Pa, Ure Paraawera.  It was conducted in Maori and our Minita was Maori.  There were lay readers that attended with the Minita - they were Pakeha.  At times, Pakeha attended the Church at the Marae.  Religion was a large part of our Life, and we were all taught to pray individually at the beginning of each day.

Christmas Day was the day that everyone's birthdays were celebrated.  We'd have a good kai, and a day of karakia; and we all believed in Santa Claus in the beginning.  I never had any birthday parties myself.  We celebrated Easter, this was celebrated as a Puna Kai.  Saturday was a family gathering day; and that is still upheld today, though on a much smaller scale.  It was a day for sharing.

The only time we go to the Pa is for uhunga.  I cannot recall going to any other Pa, apart from Te Koroneihana, 8th October - Turangawaewae.  On our own Marae, we are to keep out of the way.  The Maraeatea was out of bounds, we taught it meant "danger".  I knew about our Tikanga from a young age.  Tainui kawa was the Tau-utuutu.  "Raukawa Mauri Tau mata Korero.  Huri takapau - takapau wharanui.
I was also taught that I played a small part in helping the iwi.  My Grandfather was a founding member of the Tainui Maori Trust Board; and while he attended hui, I took care of the farm.  He paid with his life.  He taught me that Tainui was the best waka, and the fastest.  Taha Maori for us was expressed in Taha Tinana, Taha Hinengaro, Taha Wairua.

Sometimes Pakeha hired out our hall.  The Marae had the only hall in the district for many years.  We charged a hireage fee. We also held our own dances there to raise more money for the Marae.  The major difference that I noticed between Maori and Pakeha were the colour of our skin, and their arrogance. I also knew that the Pakeha were the victors in the so called Maori Land Wars.  I learnt this from my Grandfather, and because we lived in Paraawera.  My Grandfather always look old.  He always spoke in Te Reo; and he had a forgiving attitude.  He was my Father's Father.  My Grandmother died before I was born.  My Mother's Father was Ngati Paretekawa, I thought he was arrogant.  My Grandmother on that side, did not communicate with anyone.  Both of my Grandfather's were farmers, and they owned good houses.

The Pakehas said they were here to save us from Cannibalism by the very Preachers who were in bed with our women. James Cook said to have brought civilisation, Queen Victoria said to be protecting Maori from Pakeha, and George Grey committed adultery with Maori Women.  I never learnt about the Treaty Of Waitangi until I got older, learnt that in "pub talk", and all I really knew about the Maori Wars, is that we lost.
I certainly knew the difference between Pakeha and Maori, the skin colour was obvious, and of course the "raupa" on their skin. The milk car driver was Pakeha, the cream truck driver was Pakeha, the Taxi driver was Pakeha, the School teacher was Pakeha, the Publican was Pakeha and the Policeman was Pakeha.  It seemed like they control everything - Hard Control !  I figured out early that to survive in this world, I should learn some of their skills. They had the things that we did not have - and they seemed to be blessed with good fortune.

I began school when I was six years old, and I stayed for ten years.  My first school was a Native School, and then I moved to the Puahue School which was Pakeha.  There were no Maori teachers at the school. When I was at the Native School, there was one Pakeha at the school.  When I went to the Public School, they were all Pakeha, with only two Maori.  There was plenty of animousity toward us two Maori boys at the School, and plenty of name calling. Punishment for my fighting back was in the form of corporal punishment, and manual work around the school grounds.  I was also barred from swimming trips to the river.  My Parents knew about the punishments, and were supportive of the school - they felt I deserved the punishments. I was never allowed to prepare the cocoa in the winter, and most of the time was excluded from sporting activities. My Mother's influence taught me to obey the rules without question, eventually.

I had no opinion of my school teachers, they were a person of skill, and that I needed to learn from them.  I noticed that I was always addressed as "Hey Boy", while the Pakeha children were addressed by their christian names.  I learnt about Trafalgar, and Nelson and his one eye.  I also remember learning about the Crimean War.  King George VI was the reigning British Monarch, and Koroki was ours.  My Mother was uneducated, whilst my Father had attended college in Fielding. However my Mother encouraged me to learn as much as I could. I had a bad experience at school where I was falsely accused of stealing.

There was no sport in my Early life. Later during my working life I tried to play Rugby.  In my weekends, sometimes I visit my friends in Te Awamutu or Otorohanga.  I had Pakeha friends, and they are still friends of mine to this day.  The only toys I remember owning was the Ping Pong bat and ball.  Id often go eeling with my Dog that could understand Maori.  As for musical instruments, Im sure Im the only Maori that can't play the Guitar. I remember going to the Pictures, it was held in the Parawera Marae hall.  It was the only one in the district; Ron Mercer owned a Mobile Projector and he ran the pictures in Parawera right up till 1948.

My health was pretty good.  Of course there was occassional "ngenge", "hakihaki" and "whewhe".  There was a District Nurse that we were able to see.  I thought they were useless; and I felt that we were "separated" from other children because we were Maori.  We didnt need it anyhow, we had our own Rongoa, Hono, and Karakia. Once when I was ngenge, I ended up in Hospital ward 16 of the Hocken wing.

My clothing was shop bought; at some of our many shopping trips that were when we received our cream cheque on the 20th of each month.  I always wanted a Jersey.  I was 18 years old when I finally received one. I also had my Church clothes.

Breakfast was Cream and Paratihi on one day, and Paratihi and Cream the next day.  Lunch was flat bread. Tea was the best, "kai o te ahiahi" after Pai Marire.  I enjoyed the meals on the Lords Day - Christmas; and birthday kai, was a kai for everyone.  We ate different kai from the ngahere, I didn't like the work; it was women's work.  I didn't get a lot of kai moana, we didn't have a beach at Paraawera.  We used to go to Kawakawa over in Hauraki, because we had whakapapa ties; this was occassionally.  I disliked tuna, I think it was because Id had too many.

The time I spent with my Grandparents was the best time of my childhood.  They were a gift from God.  Sometimes I ask myself, where did it all go wrong ?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

CHARLIE HAYWARD - Awanui, near Kaitaia. Born 1918

I was born November 1918, right in Awanui. I am Te Aupouri, we are known outside of North as coming from Te Tai Tokerau.   Our People never moved around far from our Home.  The tuturu name for Awanui was Kaiwaka.  While my father worked in the Gum fields we lived at Kaingaroa, but that wasnt far from Awanui.  I grew up with my Parents and my 5 sisters.  I had a brother, Tika (Dick), but he was married and he didnt live at home. 

Our house was made of tin walls and a roof with no linings.  We had a window, it was a hole with no glass.  We had sacks over the window, and a timber floor. It was 2 bedrooms and a big kitchen.  The kitchen and the sitting room was really one room, and we had a wash outside in the tub, or in the river.  It wasn't a flash house, but it wasn't a poor house either, it was an average house in Awanui.

Our Table was a big long table, and we had long forms that were the seats for everyone.  We had enamel dishes - plates and mugs were enamel, and our cutlery was bone handled.  We had a big cupboard that was like a wardrobe, and everything was kept in there.  We had whariki on our floors, and in my Parent's room was a drawer with a mirror, they bought that new.  My brother Dick had a piano, and a gramophone.  We had a lot of kete hanging in the house, with different things in them. 

We had feather mattresses, and beds.  We kept our clothes in a wooden box, clothes that needed to be hung up, we hung them on nails on the wall.  Our Quilts were made out of clean sacks with material sewn on them.  Sheets were made out of the Flour Bags, and for under the sacking.  Our pillows were the same as our mattresses, made with feathers.

We never had any sinks in the house, no taps.  We had a small tub outside; and a copper for boiling water. Mum had a "piss pot" (Chamber Pot).  Our toilet was a long drop, it was about 50 yards away from the house.  I just "go" outside.  

My Mother cooked on an open fire, it was a separate kauta. We used wax candles and kerosene lamps for our lighting. Our drinking water was collected from rain into a 44 gallon drum.  I slept in the kitchen, on a mattress on the floor,  and all the 5 girls slept in one room.  Some times the girls sleep at Dicks place.  We sleep between the 3 homes - my parents, my brother, Dicks and my Grandparents. Mostly May, sleeps over at Dicks. 

My sisters were always helping Mum to do the housework.  Our whole family works in the gardens.  We usually have about 2 acres planted in Kumara, and we had 1/4 acre in Strawberries.  I help Dad with the wood, and with the fencing on two farms.  As I got older, I worked on other farms.  I left home when I was 15. 

Mum was involved with the Women's Committee at the Marae.  They were always fundraising for the Marae, and we all paid 2 shillings each week into that.  My mum spent her other spare time, sewing clothes for us - all by hand.  Some times they go to the Pub. 

My father worked in the Government scheme - digging drains.  He also worked making stop banks for the Awanui River Board.  He had 21 acres, which he also farmed.  We would spend a lot of time carting wood and selling it, we did this with the wagon and horses.  My Father would sell loads of Ti-Tree.  After work he come home, and then he go and do work at my other Grandmother's farm.  I was with my father every day, I was close to him.  He was a hard working man, and never had much to say. 

Mum did extra work for Farmer's wives.  She would wash clothes; she'd have to walk about 4 miles to their farm.  We also sell our strawberries and kumaras.  When Mum was around the house, I always see her ironing, and she'd heat these up on the fire.  Some times, her and I ride the horses to go and gather peaches from the wild peach trees that grew up the road from where we lived.  She was a loving mother to all of us.  If any of us get sick; she would fuss over us, and very worried.  My mother was a pretty woman and was always well dressed.  They were always easy to talk to.

Most Saturdays, we get to go to the Pictures.  Some times, my Father and I, and other whanau go fishing at the Kumeu Estuary.  I was close to all my sisters, but Raiha mostly. She was a lot older than me, and she do everything for me.  One time I got caught pinching something from town; and I was going to get a hiding - and she laid on me, so that she would take the punishment for me.  (Goes quiet, as he remembers)
There were other whanau that we were close too.  I was close to John's Grandparents, all the Kemps and the Rakenas were one family.

Most of the time our kai was Rewena bread and tea.  We hardly have butter, we use hinu for that.  Sometimes during the milking we have it; but we mostly have hinu bread and hinu for butter.   We hardly take lunch for school.  Might take bread, if we have butter.  I rather go without that take unbuttered bread.  Our mates give us some of their lunch anyway. If we have hinu bread, I'll take that - the Pakehas think they scones (laughs).

On Sundays we have a big dinner. Dad kills a pig on Saturday for Sunday Kai - and we have that, it is Roast Pork and Kumara.  We have beef too, or else just tea and bread. Certain time of the year we have tawhara.  Me and my sister Milly go on horseback to get Toheroa at 90 mile beach;  we get tuatua and karahu as well.  Now and then, we set the hinaki in the Awanui River.  

I liked Christmas the best.  We go out to the Awanui Pub and the Publican throws lollies in a lolly scramble.  Sometimes theres a money scramble as well.  Mum made cakes and plum puddings with threepence and sixpence coins in it. 

My clothing was tweed shorts, shirt and a jersey - no shoes. All my clothes were bought from the shop, so they had to last for years.  Boys clothes were too hard to sew, it was easier for Mum to sew girls clothes.  Mum would buy me two pairs of shorts at a time.  I had clothes just for sunday - that was a white shirt, and a pants.  The girls all had white dresses. I remember my sisters play knuckle bones with karahu shells.  My Cousins, Heta and John and I would climb the oak tree and play in there.  I had to be careful not to rip my clothes, or I get in trouble. 

The Oak tree still stands there.  After I finish my jobs, cutting the kindling, Im free to go off with my cousins.  Sometimes we play in town on the way home from school.  I liked horse riding, and I liked helping Dad with the cattle mustering, cause its an easy job.  Easy cause its just riding a horse.  My other friends come with us too, that was Maori Marsden and his brothers.  I had other friends too, the dalmatians; occassionally we get to go to their house. We go there, and listen to their records, or the records at Dicks. 

I never had any toys. None of us did.  I had a home made spinning top, and sometimes we carve the centre out of the flax sticks and make canoes.  We all did this, and at the same time we can take the hinaki down to the river.  I pinched something from the wharf one time, they were shop supplies. It was very serious - thats why I was going to get a hiding - that was the one and only time that I got a hiding, but my sister Raiha protected me.  Some times when we're in a group we go and pinch the pears off other peoples trees.  We do that in a group, then we can blame the next one.  Other games we play are mixed relays.  Most of the time, the Girls play on their own ground.  They play hopscotch and basketball and girls games.  Boys are too rough for them. 

Once a week we can go to the Pictures.  I play football.  We go to watch the motor bike races after that.  Some times the side show comes to Awanui, and when we're really young we ride the merry-go-rides.  Now and again, they have basket socials, and the men auction for baskets. Kids go too.  The Grown ups drink outside, they have a band. We use to call it an orchestra - the main instruments was the piano and a violin, its called a band now.

We were pretty healthy back then, get the odd cold or flu.  The old people had their own ways.  They boil up the leaves of the Blue Gum tree, they know when to take it off.  They use the steam and they get us to inhale it with a blanket over you.  I don't remember ever having to see a doctor.  Only Mihi - They took her to the Kaitaia Hospital, and she died there. (Goes quiet - remembering).    The Nurse would come to check for head lice (kutu) at school, especially for the girls.  Other rongoa was to boil the roots of the flax, you drink it for diarrhea.  Its "very sour", I dont know if it went off by itself or that cured it.  You get "that" hungry, you soon get better.  We didnt have tooth brushes, we just use our finger at the tap.  They have a teeth inspection at school, every one has to queue up.  You see all the Maori boys, queuing up at the tap first - telling the fulla at the front "hurry up boy" !   

I cant remember how old I was when I started school.  My first school was Kaingaroa; I wasn't there for long, it was only while Dad was "gum-digging", and then I went to Awanui School.  There were no Native Schools up north - not that I knew of.  They were all Pakeha schools.  We all got on alright.  Some times we fight with the Pakeha boys, I dont get picked on because I was the biggest in the class.  We dont fight with the dalmatians, cause they're too big, and we never fight among our own.  If we get caught fighting we get the strap.  After the strap you stand in the corner.  Maori, Pakeha, Tarara - we all get the same.  If your late, you get in trouble. If your untidy in class, they keep you in after school.  You have to write on the blackboard 100 times - "I must not do ... ".   We don't tell our parents if we get the strap at school.  They might hear it from someone else, and they say -  "Na ! Tarapungia ! Ka Pai ! to mate koinei, e kore nou e whakarongo".  (Take that, the strap, Good - thats your trouble, you don't listen).  I don't get in much trouble though, the rules were simple, never be late, be tidy, keep my teeth and hair clean.   We just followed the rules, because we had too.

Some teachers were pretty good. Mr Watson - the Headmaster, he was into Maoritanga, any tangi going on and hes there.  He liked to hang around the Marsden boys.  When my Aunty died, Mr Watson came to the tangi, I remember him sitting outside with the men as they sat around the open fire.   I liked most of my teachers, maybe not on the day when I get the strap, otherwise I thought they were good people.  I was in primer 3 for more than one year, I think they pushed me up to Standard 1 because Im too big (He laughs).  I left school after that.  Both my cousins, John and Heta passed standard 6, but you had to have money to go to Boarding School.  I remember learning some Pakeha history at school, when I was in standard 1.  There was talk about King George, 5th or 6th.  

Neither of my parents could speak pakeha, So they make sure that we go to school - "no wagging".  I didn't really like going to school, but I still had to go.  I use to stutter a lot, took me a long time to get a word out, when I was reading a journal.  I hated to have to read in front of the class.  I was very good at mental arithmetic either - always failed. But i was "tops" at sports, I win every running race, and was good at Rugby.  The relay team always count on me, I beat John and Heta at that.  I was a good runner for my age, so they tried me in the Adult's sport racing 200 yards.  I was standing there, lined up, I thought to myself, 'I'll beat these fullas" - then I laugh cause I came 2nd to last. 

Christmas was a big time for our family, and my grandmother pull out all her preserves.  All sorts of puddings and cakes, cupcakes; they all get cooked in the Umu.  We'd go down to the "lolly scramble" at the pub, and George Fleming - the publican stands there and makes sure no grown-ups go in the scramble.  I didn't know the Christmas story, I just wanted the feed, oh and I remember thats when we have a long time off school at the end of each year.

I remember Easter, but we didnt have easter eggs.  We didn't have Guy Fawkes either, but sometimes if we got money, we kids buy some crackers.  It was only threepence a Packet, that was cheap.  Sometimes we have money, cause the ole people "feel sorry for us".

Every Sunday we go to church.  Church of England, Anglican also called Mihinare.  These were held at the Kareponia Church.  We often have a different Minita, as they alternated.  It was only Maori, our whanau that attended our church services.  It was a "must" to attend church - I had to go.  I attended church every Sunday right up until the time that I left home.  After church, I go over to my cousins place to play tennis.  Church started at 10 am, it gave us a chance to walk there. It took an hour and a half to walk to church.  I never took much notice of what was being said, I was just "raring" to get outa there. 

I saw plenty of Pakeha in my childhood.  Pakeha and Maori got on pretty well. All the shopkeeper were Pakeha, except the billiard saloon was owned by the Dalmatians.  Besides, you got to be good to the Pakeha - or you wont get a job.  They were friendly and helpful people though. Dalmatians are hardworking good people and not classed as Pakeha. We called them "Square Heads" or in Maori "Tarara".  I knew the Dalmatians were from another country, but when I was young, I thought the Pakeha were from here.  I knew my marae, Kareponia and Mahimaru; and I knew who my Grandparents were. 

 My Grandfather was "Hehi Kepa" - the pakeha call him "Jesse", some called him "Sugary".  He had a long white beard, that came down to his puku.  He couldn't speak English. He takes his wheelbarrow down to the shop, and points to what he wants; then he loads it onto his wheelbarrow and he wheels it home. Sometimes I stay over their house, it was only 100 yards from our place.  He was a very independant man, and he never asked anyone for help.  He goes and sits under his fruit trees.  As soon as he go inside, us kids go and pinch it.  My Grandmother was "Karani Miria".  My time is spent with her if they babysitting us, when my Parents are away working.       
We had plenty of freedom.  I go where I want. Not many rules, just "no loitering" down at the shops, not allowed to play at the church grounds; and to keep right away from the old Urupa.  That was at Mangatakawere, long way from Awanui.  Its a very tapu cemetery, we always told by our parents not to go there.  Only people who are ministers can go there. It was a very old cemetery; I dont go in there, but not far from there is a very clear spring - right in the bush, with the cleanest water, straight from the ground. 

Most of what I know is from observing. They don't teach us like a teacher, we just watch and learn by doing it.  My Father taught me how to make the Kumara pits, with the dried ferns and the bullrushes put upside down help drain the water off.  I see the old people making hangi, I see Mum mashing the rotten corn (she takes it off the cob, and mash it with a mug, then they cook it.  My grandmother prepares berries, she shows us which ones to pick, and how to boil them. They cook up the Taraire and Mingimingi.  And about the spring tides, because the tide goes out further than normal. We went eeling occassionally up home, but I didn't do it regularly until I moved to Waikato.  This is the place of eeling. 

Our Marae up north, was just a hall and a big kauta.  I never saw carvings until I came to Waikato.  I didn't go to the marae much, I dont remember hearing the women karanga either, not like down here.  There was plenty of Whaikorero though.  All I know is I'm a Maori ... and that's it.  I wasn't really interested, I was more interested in making money, which meant I got to keep on working.  There were things that Pakeha knew, that we didn't know. Like running a farm, and different ways to stack hay, and ways to built roofs.   Pakeha had superior knowledge than Maori.  Maori always saying "Yes", and always doing the Manuel work, while the Pakeha doing all the headwork. I never thought much about it, we all just accepted that that was the way it was. 

    workers stopping the banks of the Awanui River.

SAM GRACE - Tuparoa near Ruatoria, Born 1929

I grew up in Tuparoa, about five miles from Ruatoria (Ngati Porou).   I was the 3rd eldest of a family of 5 boys and 3 girls, and along with my parents - lived in a  two room house.   

One of the rooms was my parents bedroom and the other room was a kitchen.  We had a verandah outside that was covered with tin and we used that for another room.  My sisters slept in one of the two beds that was in my Parents bedroom, and we - the boys slept in the verandah room.  Our house was an average house, there were some that were bigger than ours - and flasher.   

We didn't have much furniture in our house, there was a table, forms to sit on by the table, and kerosene boxes that we used as chairs too.  Sometimes we children sit on the floor.  We had spring beds, and our clothes were kept in suitcases that we kept under the bed.  There was no room for a set of drawers.

Our kai was cooked on a small open fire that was in the house, and we used an outside tub.  We had a long drop away from the house; and my Mother and sister done the washing in the creek that had been dammed up.  We would cart water from the spring in 4 gallon tins twice a day.

All the stores came by boat around the Coast.  My Dad use to off load the stores from the barge.  He'd drive the wagon and horses out to where the waves break, and offload them there.  This was his daily job.  

My mother was a housewife, she spent her day washing clothes, ironing with the fire iron, sewing, weaving whariki and kete.  She was also a member of the Maori Women's Welfare League.  Mum used to go to the creek and bob the eels.  She used a white bait net and put worms wrapped in a small basket and the eels get their teeth tangled in it.   

The jobs we did were Milking the cows, scrubbing the floors, baby-sitting the younger children, go and get wood and cart it home.  We had to bundle it up and drag it home ourselves until we got a horse.   Our whole family would get wood everyday for the cooking.  I didn't like milking those ruddy cows ! I liked fishing though. We would go down to the beach with Mum, play and get kaimoana and then after we have a barbeque at the beach.

I didn't spend much time with my father - very little.  I was always with my mother, doing the shopping with her and helping her with the kids.  She was always there when you needed her even though we had our odd moments.   She taught us to be careful how we went, told us not to look for trouble and "kia pai to haere" - when you leave the district.
I always talk to my Mum, not my Dad.   My Dad never liked me, he always had more time for the others than me, I always got the hiding.  He'd take us to the beach to collect sea weed.  We get paid a shilling for 1 lb of seameal - we fill it by the bail.  Dad never came in the water, he just sat on the bloody beach; my Dad was an asthmatic, he didn't do bugger-all.  I had asthma too - there was nothing to help for Asthma, you just suffer.

Our breakfast was Tea & Bread - Paraoa Koroua, with Golden Syrup and salted lard for butter.  If there was enough bread left we take some for school lunch, sometimes dried shark, sometimes dried paua  but sometimes we have nothing for lunch.  For Tea we have stews, meat was pretty scarce, we have mostly bacon.   When it was in season we eat tawhara, and karaka berries - you have to soak them for a long time.  We ate a lot of kaimoana, crabs, crayfish, paua, kina; My favourite was crayfish.  My Mum used to be the best diver, she get it by the sackful.   At times, food was scarce, so you ate everything that was given to you.  The best time was Christmas, there was plenty of meat and Puddings with threepence in it.

I didn't have many clothes.  2 pair strides, one for this week, one for next week. Shirts and maybe a pullover.  Everyone had the same and they kept patching them up over and over again.  When my older brother left home, he left me his clothes, I didn't like it, but I still had to wear it.

We never had toys, we made our own.  We made a cart with old Golden Syrup tins and seaweed to skate on.  My cousin had a toy boat with a propellor, I knew I couldn't have one. It was a "Miss Happy-Knack".  He let me hang on to it, but not to wind it up.  We never had much time to play though, we had too much work to do.  I had a dog named Beau.  We had a guitar, though I wasn't very musical, and we had a radio.
We don't get up to mischief much.  But I remember pinching my Mum's smokes, I pinch the water melons and I pinched my Uncle's rotten corn; I got a good hiding for it - kick up the arse and a whack on the ear.

I started Tuparoa Native School when I was 5.  2 of my Aunties were school Mistresses.  It was all Maoris at our school.  There was one half caste boy there, he was real pakeha looking - he stood out.  Sometimes he had a better lunch than us and we take it off him; but most of the time we all got on well.  There was a Maori woman that came around and teach us Kapa Haka, and my uncle taught us the haka.
I got the strap very often.  We cut the teachers strap up when he wasn't there.  The teacher hit my cousin once and my cousin grabbed his stick off him and broke it.  We were 13 then.  Some times I have to write lines.   I will not do ..  (this), there was a dunce cap but I never got that.  We get the strap for fighting at school; or when you talk Maori they grab your chin and say "No Maori in the School".   My parents knew about it they just say we must've needed it.  The rules were no Maori, full attendance and to be Prompt - on time; you get a whack for that, even with the best excuse.  I thought it was a lot of crap in the first place.   

I had a favourite teacher, he was kinder than the rest, not much thrashings like the other buggers.   I hated the last bastard that I had.  I finished school because of him, he expelled me for fighting.  I got a good thrashing from Mum for that.  I was in my last term of Standard 6, and I couldn't get my C.O.P  [Certificate of Proficiency].  I swore that I'd string him up.  I was fighting my own brother and it was none of the school's business.  At school they taught us about Pakeha history and the British Monarchy and that we were under their protection.  They taught us that our religion was no good.  King George was the King then; but our leader was Api Ngata.

Going to church was important to my parents, we went every Sunday.  In Ngati Porou theres a church house at every marae.  We had the Anglican sermons in Maori.  My Uncle was the minister.  My Mum was a Methodist.  My favourite stories were about the Good Samaritan, Ruth and the boy with the fish and loaves that never run out, cause we fished.
The only pakehas in Tuparoa was the policeman and the Pakeha teachers.  The Pakeha policeman was also the football coach and hockey coach.  He was one of the boys.  I liked him.
My time around my Grandparents was very little.  My Grandfather was a half caste. We weren't allowed near him, you only went to their house with a specific reason, and even then you're told to get out.  My Grandparents were first cousins.   We never got on with my Grandmother either.  She was jealous of my Mother.  Mum had run away from a pre arranged marriage in Waikato; they call her "Waikato bare-feet", "Waikato whaiwhai atu"; but when they want something they come to my Mother.

My Grandmother had no time for nobody.  She'd just watch and guard her fruit trees.  She was a cow, so we never went there.  She always wore an over-coat, she was a big strappy lady 6ft 2, and she never came anywhere near the marae.  My Grandfather did - he always spoke on the Marae.  They were comfortable around Pakeha because they were both half castes.  They lived in a big house, the biggest I've ever seen, like a big split level house.  There was 16 in my father's family and I stayed with the lot of them. I know how a foster kid felt.
I lived with my Aunt for a while, her husband was a Taxi driver, he gave me a shilling a day, 5p for the Matinee and 1 penny icecreams.  The pictures were in Ruatoria and I went by horseback.  Night Picture at 8pm or Matinees at 2pm; Tarzan, Bull-Dog Drummond the Detective, Green Archer and Hop-a-Long Cassidy.

Pakehas come to the Marae now and then, mostly when a Maori marries a Pakeha.   
Growing up I thought Pakeha were out to rip us off.  When I worked for this Pakeha, he suppose to pay me 30 shillings a week. I rode to Ruatoria every day on horse back, until finally I had enough to buy my five pound bike. Looking back I remember, I worked for him for three years and they never once gave me the proper wage.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

WINI TAUROA - Maungatautari near Cambridge. Born 1930

I was born in 1930; and I grew up in Maungatautari, near Cambridge. I am Ngati Koroki.  I was raised by my Grandparents, and all my Aunties and Uncles.  My Mother worked for the Pakeha up the road, and she lived with them in their flash pakeha house.  My parents parted.  They went their own ways to find work. I wanted to leave with them, but I had to stay.   I was the 2nd to youngest in the family; but there were always more whanau coming and going.  The whare that I grew up in was one huge room.  It was a bare dirt floor, and we kept this clean with brooms that my Nanny made from Manuka.  Our floors were covered with whariki.

There was a partition for the "kauta" part, and that had a big open fire; where all our kai was cooked.
My Grandmother had a large 3 legged "Umu"; and we had candles everywhere for our light.
We ate at a large table, that was home made; and we had long forms and barrells and crates that we sat on. Our roof leaked, and I remember the bucket use to get shifted around; but it was a normal house in Maungatautari. When we have visitors, my Grandmother say "grace" before we eat.

Breakfast was repirepi (kororirori), bread and tea.  My Grandmother made jams, and we'd also have this on rewena bread for lunch at school.  For Tea, it was always meat and vegetables, korau and kamokamo.  We had eels quite often, and sometimes rabbit. I hated rabbit. We had pigeons too sometimes.  I couldn't stand home made butter, and I was sick of rewena bread.  Once in a blue moon we get to have Pakeha bread, brought from the shop.

I can't remember when they got it, but My Grandparents got a brass bed. They cost "the earth" ! We, the children, slept on mattresses on the floor sometimes, but most of the time I shared the bed with two of my aunties. When I got older I got to sleep on a bed by myself, I was also allowed a candle to read my books at night. I love reading the books I got from school.  Our sheets and pillow cases were made out of flour bags. "CHAMPION" was one word, we all knew how to spell. Nobody bothered to wash the label out.  Just as long as they were clean and we were clean. Our ladies did the washing at the creek, and we bathed at the creek as well.

Our toilet was a long-drop; and always a long way from the house. It was scary at night. Owls hooting at you, and very dark.  You'd have to "con up someone to come with you". Sometimes it was better to go to the paddock, "but 'LOOK OUT' if you got caught".

My Grandfather was a farmer.  My Grandmother had part time work up the road; working for Pakehas. She also looked after us all, and we all helped with the milking. My Uncles chopped the wood, girls had to do the dishes and the housework.  Boys got the water, they cart it in buckets from the springs.  We work from dark to dark.  You were never bored, there was always something to do. It was a hard life, and yes - Milking cows was everyone's job.  We never questioned anything, we didn't talk back - we just 'did it'.  That was life, we didn't know any other way, we were all farmers, and we all had cows.

We had paddocks full of gardens, my Grandmother was in the garden "night and day", dont know why they were so huge, we didnt need all that food, and we had heaps of fruit trees. We planted our gardens as a family, everyone came to help; and we would move around the farms of our other whanaunga, helping to do theirs. Helping everyone to plant the kai that we all needed.  We were always working - and we were the healthiest kids on earth. My people were workers - toilers ... I dont think they knew how to sit still.

My Grandfather was a hard worker, and a hard drinker. They deserved their drink; it was their release to relax from after all the hard work.  My Uncle used to pinch their beer, pinch their smokes; he'd get a hiding but he'd still do it. He was smoking at school, and set a building alight. He was very mischief. We all use to pinch fruit from the Pakeha's apple trees, below the school - they tasted sweeter.

My Grandmother spent all her time working too. My Mother was just down the road working for the Pakeha. I always knew she was my mother; but my place was with my grandmother; and she never interferred with my Grandparents and me.  My Grandmother would tell me stories while we were working. They tell you who you should marry.  In standard 6, they're picking your husbands.  It was to keep the hapu together, cause they didnt want you going out of Waikato.  And you werent allowed to marry Ngapuhi.

All our age group married back into Maungatautari.  They were staunch Kingitanga people.  We didnt know any other way.  Girls did not get pregnant.  You could be disowned ! It was more than your life was worth. We were "all close". We all milked cows, and thats all we talked about.  If your the youngest, you get the easiest cow. As you get older, you move onto the harder ones, the cows that kick.  We never went anywhere, so we only knew ourselves, Maungatautari was our whole world.  At times our house would be "choca-block".  The kids grow up and leave, so the mokopunas come back to work.  All the houses were homesteads.

Our family were Pai Marire.  Our church was at the Marae.  It was all in Maori, and it was important to the old people, and it was the recognised haahi of the Kingitanga.  We use to take off, when it started.  If you wanted to learn, you stayed. Some stayed.  We thought it was stupid, we thought it took "too long", the karakia went on for ages. We respected it though.  The religious people would come out to our marae.  Mrs Martin used to come up, she'd give us stamps; and thats the only reason we go.

The best times I remember is when we all get together at the Pa.  When my Grandparents were alive, we all get together, the whole hapu.  The cakes were the real thrill.  "Pumpkin cakes".  The Kai was laid out on the whariki mats that were laid out on the grass. We did this for birthdays.  No presents though, we didnt have enough money for that. I remember we'd have Guy Fawkes at the school.

Our Homesteads were near the Marae, most of the time we have Socials and birthdays and weddings near the Marae.  You were told what you could do or you couldnt do. They were strict.  Children were seen and not heard, there was an old man with a walking stick who would hit you.  From about standard 6, you were helping with the dishes at the marae.  Mother's knew to keep you away from the elders - our Kaumatuas on the paepae, and they played the biggest part in our hapu. Most of them couldn't speak English, they spoke a kind of "pidgin English" - broken.   They were always there to correct their children.  The Marae was a very busy place. We were completely Maori.  We were 'submerged' in it. We lived it. We knew our King Koroki, and we knew we were Waikato, and that we were Ngati Koroki.

The Grandparents that raised me were my Mother's Parents.  I didn't get to meet my Father's Parents until later in life.  My Grandfather was an educated man, and he could speak English.  He wished that we all be educated, to go to High School, and to be able to read and write.  He was a "self-taught" lawyer.  I'm told he handled land issues for the King - on the "tekau ma rua".  He pushed me onto High-School. My Grandfather watched over me, I was the only mokopuna that got to High School. I remember when I got to boarding school, I was ashamed of my clothes.  I actually thought my clothes were neat before I got there. I got tennis shoes once a Year, we thought they were "golden slippers" when they were brand new.  Some of my clothes were made at home, some were from the shop.  My earliest bloomers were made from the 50lb or 100 lb flour bag. It was strong and tough material; I laugh now when I remember back to see the girls bending over and you can see the "champion" sign on their bloomers.

I started at Maungatautari School.  It was a public school.  All the teachers were Pakeha, there had never been a Maori teacher there. We were not allowed to speak Maori at school. Sometimes in the playground, we forget, the teacher would hear us, and call out to us; and we get the strap.  We also get the strap for lateness. My Grandparents and all of our parents they know we get the strap.  They agreed with the Pakeha, we were told we were at school to learn the pakeha ways.  They wanted us to be educated.  Thats how they felt, so there was no point telling them that we'd got the strap at school. As long as we went to school, and did as we were told, we weren't punished.  I dont think that any of the punishment was undeserved.

When I got the strap, I felt like I deserved it. I knew I wasn't supposed to speak Maori at the pakeha school.  My Grandparents supported that. By the time I got to high school I had stopped speaking Maori all together.  I think I forgot.  I remembered it later.  I didn't want to speak Maori.  There wasnt any Maori culture at school either.  How could there be when they didn't want you speaking Maori.  It would have been against the principles.

I liked going to school, it was a change from milking cows.  I liked it, cause then I get away from all the work.  We play tennis, rounders and long ball, and knuckles bones, marbles and hopscotch.  After school we'd go picking blackberries, we ate them as we picked them, so we end up going home with nothing.  Our legs would get scratched to bits and we get in trouble because our clothes are stained.  There was music class at the school, and the school was where I first heard a radio.  There was also a Piano in the hall. We had our own music at home and there was an old gramophone at the Pa.

I liked all my teachers. We lived by the School in a school house.  Mr Bird was like a second father.  He was a good teacher. I also had Pakeha friends - the Moorheads.  We go to their place some times and their parents give you a cake and a drink. They had a better house than us, but it didn't mean anything to us.  We still had to be back by milking time, and my Grandparents always had to know where we were. Milking governed our life, I swore I would never let my kids do milking, and I swore that I was never going to be on a farm.

We never had toys either.  I had marbles, and we had a board that was made into the shape of a racquet.  Someone with a bike was rich.  A bike was out of reach.  We used to get a ride from Pakeha's. They all had bikes, You make friends with a Pakeha to get a ride.  The Pakeha parents didn't know that we were riding their bikes (laughs).  Maoris had horses, lunch time come, we swap over; our horse for their bikes. We loved our horses, we got to pet them, and they belonged to the whole family.  We knew it was only a dream to own a bike, only Pakehas had them. Pakeha kids had tennis racquets. Lucky the school had tennis racquets as well, so you didnt have to wait.

At school, I learnt that Hone Heke cut down the flagpole.  They drummed that into us.  At school they taught us that Maori were "bad buggers"; and what wonderful people they were. They fed us pakeha till it came out of our ears. We were primitive, savages and heathens. They drummed it into us that we were saved by Samuel Marsden, and that George Grey was a great governor; and Yes Yes - Queen Victoria was a Great Queen (sarcastically).  I think I heard that Queen Victoria was illegitimate, or perhaps a Haemophilliac from inbreeding, maybe both (and laughs).  Because we were trouble makers, the Pakeha signed a treaty with us for peace.

There were lots of Pakeha farmers around us.  We didn't treat them any different.  We took it for granted that they were "just there".  A lot of our kids worked for Pakehas on their farms.  They liked their jobs, so they like their bosses. We were quite close to them.  Our Marae, was a "Cambridge effort", Im meaning the one that was finished in 1978.  We liked "our pakehas" - the "True Blue Cambridge People".  Some of our kids are named after Pakehas from Maungatautari.  On the whole, my Grandparents got on with Pakeha.  Sometimes I hear them call them "Pokokohua" - only sometimes. Besides - we mixed with their kids.

My Grandmother was such a hard worker.  If it rained she'd do her whariki.  She didnt know how to sit still.  They always had to be busy doing something, and they don't want you to sit still either.  "You knew what you had to do".  She had specific ways of doing things - ways we cook kai, baking bread, how to plant kai and even how to know if a water-melon was ripe.  They all knew about the different rongoa and the way to treat colds and cuts; but we were the healthiest kids on earth. Never went to the doctors, and no dentist. I went to the school Dental nurse, but there was never anything wrong with my teeth.

Once a year, on a Christmas Eve; we'd go to town - "Pictures if you were lucky"; "we went berserk" just to be in town. Some years we went by taxi, other years we'd walk the 8 miles from Maungatautari to Cambridge town.  We did it all together, and we were all the same.  My Grandparents worked hard, and drank hard; and our life was about milking, and gardens and keeping our whanau well fed.  It was also about family, and helping each other. We didnt go far , because it was who we were.
Ngati Koroki  Maori living at Maungatautari.