WINI WEKA'S JOKE
Wini Weka liked to know what was going on. She was what her mother called in-quis-i-tive, but all her playmates called her Quizzy.
One day Puki Pukeko, Mrs Raki Duck, Tuku Bittern, Pipi Shining Cuckoo and little Pi-toi Robin were waiting by the swamp for Wini to come and play. She was very late and they began to talk about her.
“I'm sure she is poking her nose in somewhere trying to find out things that are not her business,” said Puki.
“We couldn't really call her anything but Quizzy,” said Mrs Raki.
“One day she will get into real trouble,” said Tuku. “Yes, she will,” said Pipi.
“Oh, is she really quizzier than me?” asked Pi-toi, who didn't know Wini Weka very well.
“Yes, she's very quizzy indeed,” said Mrs Raki.
“Let's teach her a lesson,” they all said together.
“Let's play a trick on her.” So they put their heads together and planned the trick. Then they went away.
When Wini arrived she couldn't see any of her playmates and she was quite sad and upset. “I know I'm late,” she thought, “But I was busy finding out things, and they might have waited. Now I will have to go home again and there isn't anyone there to play with. I did want to play.”
She hung her hand and scratched on the ground with her foot wondering what she would do. Then she heard a sound a little way off, behind some raupo. It was a small tapping sound. Tap, tap, went the sound, tap, tap, tap. Wini was interested. She wanted to find out what the sound was and who was making it. She began to walk towards the raupo patch. Tap, tap, she heard, tap, tap, tap. It was very exciting. She walked a little faster. She poked her head round the raupo patch. There was nothing there! But she could still hear the tapping sound. It was further away now. It was behind a flax bush.
She wanted very much to find out about the tapping and walked on until she could see behind the flax bush. There was absolutely nothing there! But the tapping sounded once more. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap! “I wonder what it is,” thought Wini. She was just about to walk on again when she heard a creaky voice say “Wini, wait a minute.”
She looked down and on the ground by her feet she saw Tu. He was puffing and blowing as he had hurried to catch up to Wini.
“What is it, Tu?” asked Wini, “Are you in trouble? Can I help?” because Wini had a kind heart even if she was in-quis-i-tive.
“No,” said Tu, “I'm not in trouble. You are in trouble.”
“How am I in trouble?” asked Wini. “The others are playing a trick on you,” said Tu. “They are walking ahead and making tapping sounds with pebbles so you will follow. They will
take you right to the far edge of the swamp where there is a big hole. They have covered the hole with rushes so you won't know it is there. On the other side of the hole they have put a bright shining shell on a bush. The shell is nearly covered up and there is just enough of it showing to make you want to find out what it is. When you rush over to look at the shell you will step on the rushes and fall into the hole. The others will be inside the hole and they have planned to make all kinds of noises when you fall in so you will be quite scared. Puki is going to screech, Mrs Raki will quack, Tuku will boom and Pipi will give a shrill whistle. Pi-toi is there too and she will yell her loudest right in your ear. When they have scared you by all this they will laugh and tell you it was just a joke.”
“How did you find out, Tu?” asked Wini.
“I was close by when they were planning the trick and they didn't see me,” said Tu.
“What shall I do?” asked Wini. “It would be fun to play a trick on them instead. Will you help me Tu?”
“Yes, I will help,” said Tu. “Let us follow the tapping until we see the shell on the bush. Then instead of stepping on the rushes we will stay on the edge of the hole and I'll call out something that will scare them and make them come scrambling out of the hole. Then we can laugh and laugh. It will be a great joke.”
“Oh, Tu, you think of everything,” said Wini. “Come along and we'll do exactly as you say. There's the tapping again.”
Wini and Tu went along until they saw something shining on a low bush. In front there were a lot of rushes so they knew there was the place with the hole underneath. But when Wini saw the shining shell she nearly forgot about the joke because anything shining always excited her and she wanted to touch it. But Tu whispered “Wini, remember the hole, remember the joke,” and she stopped.
Then Tu said very loudly, “Wini, I think I can hear heavy footsteps coming this way. I think I can hear heavy breathing too. Oh Wini, do you think it is the taniwha? We'd better hide or he'll gobble us up.”
“Oh Tu,” squeaked Wini, “I do think it is the taniwha. Let us hide at once. What a good thing my playmates are not here. The taniwha just loves all kinds of birds to eat, especially walking birds.”
Tu and Wini could hear their friends moving about in the hole under the rushes and they looked at each other and grinned because they knew the others were beginning to worry about the taniwha catching them.
Then Tu said, “The footsteps are coming closer, Wini. We must hide. Hurry!”
Suddenly there was a wild scrambling and a pushing and a shoving as Wini's playmates came tumbling out of the hole. They looked so scared that Wini could hardly tell which was Puki Pukeko and which was Mrs Raki or Tuku Bittern.
Tu slithered out of sight but Wini stood there and said “Hullo everybody.” Then she laughed and laughed. “Ha, ha,” she chuckled, “Your trick didn't work after all. My trick worked. The taniwha isn't coming at all. We only said he was to scare you. Ha, ha, it is a great joke.”
Her friends didn't look very happy at first. They were a little annoyed. But they couldn't be angry with Wini. She was laughing so happily they soon had to laugh with her. And the pleasant sound floated all over the swamp.
When Tu heard the laughter he knew they wouldn't be angry with him for his part in the joke. So he came back and he laughed loudly too.
Puha has been fetching up to one shilling a bundle in the Auckland city markets. Maoris and Islanders have settled in Auckland in sufficient numbers to make the collection and sale of puha worthwhile, a produce merchant said.
A market gardener started collecting thistles from wasteland and sent a few cases into the market, and others had followed his example, said the merchant. On market days there are usually half a dozen or more cases sold.
GRANT FOR MAORI ART
The Maori Purposes Fund Board has made a grant of £250 to Ngata Memorial College to assist in the production of Maori art work in a special recess in the school library. The letter from the Fund Board stated: “The Board appreciates the effort that is being made by the principal, Mr E. J. Jennings, and supported by the Education Board, to foster the interest of Maori children in the art of their ancestors.”
A young Maori nurse, Staff Nurse Hine Douglas, daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Dougl as of Te Uhi, Wairoa, gained the highest honour that the Cook Hospital Board, Gisborne, can bestow on a graduate in recent nursing examinations.
This was the award of the silver medal. The announcement that she had won this coveted award was greeted with loud applause at the graduation ceremony in the Gisborne Memorial Hall. Nurse Douglas was also awarded the Tombleson Rose Bowl, Miss Bunt's prize, and the third-year highest aggregate prize. Miss R. D. Bunt, supervising matron of the Cook Hospital, said that this was the first time that a Maori nurse had won the silver medal.
Miss Douglas was educated in Wairoa, going straight to Cook Hospital from Wairoa College.