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No. 54 (March 1966)
– 49 –

OCEAN SYMPHONY

Herbert Tautau, aged 16, is a pupil at Tolaga Bay District High School on the East Coast.

Have you ever heard music that you love, and want to keep forever in your heart—beautiful sounds, imprinted on your memory, yet when you try to recall them in later days, they are gone. I heard a song once, strange and sweet, a lovely sound, but I can't remember it now, though I have tried and tried …

It was one of those bright blue days that had suddenly turned bleak and grey, and I sat on the cold sand, huddling against the cliff to escape from the wind. The beach looked dull and deserted; the sea was ugly and glum, and the gulls overhead wheeled and screamed in harsh circles. I would have gone home, but the wind was strong and bitterly cold round the corner, the flying sand would sting my hands and face, and it was more or less sheltered down there by the cliff. So I sat on a cold stone, and stared at my feet, and suddenly all the air was filled with music. The sound of the wind died away, the beat of surf receded to a dull monotone, the scream of gulls faded, and warmth and colour flooded over the sands and spread far out to sea. All was mystic, and I sat spell-bound as music soared: rose and fell, and rose and rose and fell again.

There were fairies on the beach: light white foam-clad fairies that gleamed in the wind, that whisked and whirled high up into the air, that turned and twisted to a thrill of violins, that flew aloft, and floating fell away to earth. There was a roll of drums and the roll of a big double bass, as the waves charged up with a crash and broke with a thunderous roar. The violins soared again as the sea swirled high on the sand, and the waves sank back to the sea. A rattle of rolling stones, and the piano took up the theme; then a roar and a roll of drums and the next wave, all white and swift then smiling and washing, and another wave, till all sounds were merged and mingled and mixed to make a melody. And high above the crash of waves and the roll of drums and singing violins came a clear trumpet call, the graceful tone of a sounding horn, a sweet piping note, swooping and sweeping and wheeling, making a definite pattern in the whole design, as a gull circled overhead.

It was beautiful music, strange and mystic, vital and yet so fairy-like and fantastic that it was not earthly music, made by man. It was higher and more heavenly, more spacious and true.

The combination of these instruments lingered with the wind, instruments hidden deep in the rocks behind me. It whistled through the crevices in the cliffs and sent a spray flying from the surface of tiny pools, but only occasionally did they send out their call. In front, a very important conducter beat out the rhythm all the time, rippling and waving and keeping his orchestra together with an amazing skill. They were always in time and always in tune, a veritable ocean orchestra, playing the symphony of the sea.

It was amazing the way the pools played the tunes and the music rose and fell with the ripple — and how everything, the sea, the surf, the wind and the gulls all joined in the music, rose and fell with the fiddles. The whole was fascinating to watch and apparently went on endlessly.

Then suddenly without warning the music stopped, broken off in the middle of a chord. The wind riooed around the corner and churned up the waves; it blew icy-cold, and rain began to fall. I shivered, and pushing my way round the cliff. I trudged off home.

I wish I were a musician, that I might have written it all down, I wish I could remember how it all went, or even part of it, that I might sometimes sing it to myself, but all I have left is the dream and the memory — the music itself is gone!

The recently announced results of the Ahu-whenua Trophy Competition for Maori farmers are as follows. Sheep and cattle section: Mr J. W. Thompson, Rotorua, first; Mr J. H. Tahuri, Horohoro, second; Mr A. Whata. Rotorua, third. Dairy section: Mr E. Tamati. New Plymouth, first; Mr W. M. Mauriohooho. Te Awamutu, second: Mr T. Manu, Taranaki, third.

– 50 –

A tramping hut is to be erected near Maungapohatu in memory of the late Very Rev. J. G. Laughton, C.M.G., the pioneer missionary who lived at Maungapohatu from 1918 to 1926, and who remained closely associated with the Tuhoe people, a trusted friend and counsellor, until his death last year.

Using ancient Polynesian methods of navigation, Dr David Lewis last December successfully sailed his catamaran Rehu Moana from Rarotonga to New Zealand.

Another member of the crew kept a check on the yacht's position by modern methods, but did not tell Dr Lewis how they were going. Dr Lewis relied on nature's signposts, and found himself only 40 miles too far to the east after the four-week passage of 1,630 miles, with light winds, from Rarotonga.

Dr T. Barrow, formerly the ethnologist at the Dominion Museum, Wellington, recently took up the position of Anthropologist at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Hawaii.

The four hundred Maori committees in New Zealand are being asked by the New Zealand Maori Council to provide at least one medical kit each for a Vietnam village.

There is a great shortage of medical supplies in Vietnam. A medical kit that can be used by the villagers costs about £12.

The secretary of the Maori Council, Mr John Booth, said that a campaign would be launched to further the scheme, and the international Red Cross and CORSO would be asked to distribute the kits.

The Rev. A. T. K. Mahuika, who has just completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at Auckland University, left for Australia in February to spend a year at Moore Theological College in Sydney. Mr Mahuika, who comes from Ruatoria, this year completed his term of service as chaplain at St Stephen's School, Bombay, Auckland.

The scholarship he has been awarded was established by members of an Australian Anglican parish to mark the 150th anniversary of Marsden's first visit to New Zealand.