Brownie Puriri's World Tour,
friendly—‘In fact I felt more at home in English hotels than in some of these pubs I've been to in New Zealand.’
After this there was a long flight right across Europe and the Middle East to Hong Kong. He flew all the way, and enjoyed flying very much, but found that ‘physically I landed at a place, but biologically it took a while for me to catch up with myself, if you see what I mean.’ This is hardly surprising seeing that his whole trip was crammed into only two short months.
Hong Kong is a wonderful place, he says, though ‘many readers will know the Maori saying that a bird needs feathers to fly with, and unfortunately this bird had started to moult by this time.’
At all the places which he visited, Brownie met and talked to the people concerned with social services, with race relations and with industry; his welfare work in New Zealand naturally gave him an especial interest in these things. In Hong Kong he was impressed with the work which the Government and the churches are doing under difficult circumstances. The people are very cheerful, and honest too (‘they are good business people, that's different’). There is little juvenile delinquency, even very humble homes are kept clean, and people are happy. They accept help if they must, but are a proud people and don't go looking for hand-outs.
A Chinese family will give up its modest accommodation to sleep on the pavement in order to save the money to enable one—just one—of the family to learn to read and write.
He spent a day in Australia and was very fortunate in meeting some relatives there, Huia Rika and the Tipene family (Mrs Tipene is a sister of Mr Hone Heke Rankin of Kaikohe).
And what were his main impressions, we asked Brownie, after visiting all these places and all these people?
He feels that people throughout the world have much the same problems; that the world is much smaller than it used to be; that we as Maoris don't realise the opportunities that exist at our own front door. He found that Maori qualities are shared by many other peoples as well; that Maori warmth, spontaneity and communal values are very possibly more typical of the human race than are the Pakeha versions of these things. He thinks we are all too complacent, too smug in this country and he talks wistfully about the civilized drinking overseas, especially in England.
Maoris have been most fortunate, he feels, in retaining their own identity, and this has been partly due to enlightened Government action.
There are two other things he is emphatic about. Though he is so much a Maori, Brownie Puriri went overseas as a New Zealander firstly, as a Maori secondly. And he is more than ever sure now that this is the best country in the world.