Hurry Up, Henry!
Henry hated milking time. Twice a day, week in, week out someone shouted at him: ‘Get the cows in, Henry!’ or, ‘What you doing lying round readin’ all day? Hurry up, it's cow-time!’
School mornings were the worst. As soon as the cows were out he had to sweep the yard, then rush back to the house and get changed for school. Maybe he could snatch something to eat before the bus came down the back road. Sometimes his sister would have cut his lunch; other days he just went without.
In the evenings it was not so bad, as both his parents shared the work then. He would listen to their talk, so quiet himself, that they often forgot he was around at all. Right now, they were speaking of Hare's eldest boy, Pona, who had been sent to Borstal. Pona had always been in trouble, lazy and cheeky at school a nuisance at home and no good to anyone, even himself.
‘Too late to do him any good now,’ Henry's father was saying. ‘Bad blood in all that lot, and he was born bad, I reckon.’
Henry wondered if his father thought he'd been born bad too—he seemed to complain often enough. It would be no use trying to get anywhere if you were born bad. But surely, there was no bad blood in his family, even though Pona was some sort of cousin.
‘What you dreaming about there, Henry?’ His mother's deep contralto interrupted his thoughts. ‘We all going to Kaikohe to-night, you know. Hurry up, and get those cows out way back.’
Hurry up, hurry up! Everyone told Henry to hurry up. All day at school, at home, even at games, or down the river, they all shouted, ‘Hurry up Henry’.
Still, he didn't mind hurrying if they were going to town. They would buy a stack of fish and chips, and go to the pictures after the shopping, and may be get some more records for the new radiogram, which was his Mother's pride.
As soon as the meal was over, they all dressed in their best clothes ready for the town. Henry admired himslf; yes, the tight black jeans worn with the bright turtle-neck sweater looked good. His new shoes only pinched a little now and his sister had polished them fine. He'd better take the uke too, they always had a sing-song.
Next year, if he got the Scholarship, he'd be at St Stephen's. No more Friday night trips on the truck then, but no more cows either, and that would be all right with him. Anyway, his brother said they had lots of fun at College too. Besides, a chap's got to have education these days, everybody told him that often enough.
Look at Pona now—he hadn't even finished Primary before he was in trouble; real trouble, with Child Welfare officers around and up before the Court and all that. And now, he's got to sweat out three years' Borstal! The old people might be right, Pona was no good.
But Henry was going into the Navy. No cows live in ships that's for sure. He rather fancied himself in bell-bottoms and jaunty cap. That would bring the girls round, eh? He grinned at his reflection in the mirror, still visualising his rosy future. Oh boy, here I come, Henry, the holy terror of Te Hapu. Hey, Girls!
Picking up his uke, he swaggered out the door, just as his father was shouting out from the road: ‘Come on, Henry. We're all waiting for you, we'll be late for the show. Hurry Up, Henry!’
We would very much like to be able to print more news in Te Ao Hou, and would be grateful for more contributions from readers—accounts of meetings, weddings, obituaries, and anything else of interest. They don't have to be long, and they don't have to be very carefully worded; you can always leave this to the editor, if you wish. Te Ao Hou is your magazine, and it depends upon your contributions. We are always very glad to receive stories, articles and poems, also.
The Rev. Mohi Turei lived at Rangitukia on the East Coast, and died there in 1914 at the age of 85. He wrote a great many stories in Maori, many of them being printed in early Maori magazines. He is one of the very best of all New Zealand writers. This story is about the famous Ngati Porou ancestor Tuwhakairiora, who lived about 17 generations ago. It was first published in the Polynesian Journal in 1911. Mohi's original Maori version will be given in our next issue. The translation given here is by Archdeacon Walsh, though in some places we have slightly modified it to make it more readily intelligible.