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No. 50 (March 1965)
– 12 –

Catching Wild Horses

After sightseeing around the Taupo area we made our way back to Horohoro where we found the men had been out catching wild horses. This was the method. Two men would keep the wild horses galloping for an hour, then two fresh riders would take over. After this there would be two more fresh ones and so on till the wild animals were exhausted and easily taken. Then followed the breaking-in. The hunters had caught eleven horses and were willing to sell some of them. I bought a beautiful pony—a light chestnut with a silver mane and tail—for ten shillings. But I never saw it again; I left it to be broken-in and I was never back that way.

When we returned to Rotorua we four Pakehas chipped in a pound each and offered it to Hone as a small return for the grand holiday he had given us in his waggonette. It was the wrong thing to do. Tears came to Hone's eyes. Friends do not expect to be paid for what they do for friends, he said.

We were ashamed. Truly he was our friend and not a hired man. We had to find another way. We went to a store and bought the finest Kaiapoi rug they had. Then we went to Hone and said, ‘We wish to thank you, Hone, for the great pleasure you have given us. As you have been away from your wife and family for a week we would like you to accept this present for your wife Merearaihi.’ Now all was well. Hone happily accepted the rug. His wife would be delighted, as such rugs were greatly coveted.

This meeting with Hone Ratema and Takuira led to many happy holidays spent with the Rotoiti people from 1898 to 1908. The years have taken their toll and few of my friends of the Rotoiti of 67 years ago are alive now. But in my memory they still live today.