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No. 63 (June 1968)
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Te Matikara Motu
The Lost Finger

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Riwai Te Hiwinui Tawhiri.

This is the first of a series of stories told at various times to Harry Dansey. In each case the teller of the tale was asked specifically whether or not he had any objection to the ultimate publication of his recollections and any reservations made have been scrupulously observed.

Mr Riwai Te Hiwinui Tawhiri, who tells this story of how he lost a finger in his boyhood, is now 89 years old. He lives at Auckland. He was brought up in the Ruatoria district, being of Ngati Porou ancestry. He lived at Whareponga. Tuparoa and other places in the area before going to Te Aute, which he joined in the same year as Sir Peter Buck, who was his best friend at school. Most of his life he has been a school teacher and is well known for his work in that capacity on the East Coast and in the Bay of Plenty. He was also prominent in sport, especially tennis, in other years.

I tētahi rā, ka pā mai te mina ki ngā kai o te ngahere—kererū, kākā, kōkō, poaka. Ka pā mai tēnei mina i te haerenga kētanga o taku tipuna, o Hāmuera, (ko Hāmuera taku tipuna whāngai) ki te tiki kai i te toa i Mataahu, e tata ana ki Whareponga. Ngā kai o reira he pēke huka, he pēke parāoa me ērā atu kai a te Pākehā.

 

One day there came a longing for the foods of the bush, pigeon, kaka, tui, pork. This desire arose when my grandfather Hamuera (Hamuera was really a stepgrandfather) had gone to fetch provisions from the store at Mataahu, near Whareponga. The foods were a bag of sugar, a bag of flour and other Pakeha food.

 
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I mua nei kua kī iho a ia, ‘Ki te haere koe ki te ngahere, kei noho koe ka mau i te pū.’

Takahia ana e ahau tāna kupu, te kupu rā, ‘Kaua’. Ka haere ahau ki te wāhi i mōhio ai ahau kei reira te pū, i hunaia ki raro i te moenga.

Heoi anō! Kua tutuki taku hiahia. Taku kurī ko Momi ka tukua e ahau i tōna tīni, a, ka pekepeke i tōna kitenga i te pū. I mōhio ia ka haere māua ki te ngahere.

E toru māero pea te tawhiti ki te tapa o te ngahere o Pihanui. Tapoko atu ana māua ki roto ki te huru, ka rere taku kurī. Kīhei i roa, ka rongo au ki te auē punua poaka. Kātahi au ka kite atu ko taku kurī e okeoke ana i tētahi punua poaka. Ka whakatūngia e ahau taku pū ki te tapa o te huru, ka rere atu au ki te punua poaka, ka hereherea ngā waewae, hei mau ki te kāinga.

Ka rere taku kurī ki te ngau i te tiaka e haere tika mai ana ki ahau. Kīhei i taea e Momi te pupuri te poaka uwha rā. Haere tika tonu mai ki taku poho, rutua ana ahau ki raro me te rapa i te wāhi tata ki taku korokoro.

Tēnā, kīhei i taea e Momi te pupuri te whaereere pukuriri pāmamae, tā te mea kua kore kē he taringa, i te ngaunga a ngā kuī a ētahi atu. I mōhio te kurī rā me ngau e ia ki te ū o te poaka; i te kaha o tōna ngaunga, ka makere te poaka ki raro i a au. Te kaha o tana kukume, taka tonu atu te poaka ki raro i tōna rangatira! Kātahi te poaka nei ka whakarere i ahau,

 
 

Earlier he had said: ‘If you should go to the bush, don't take the gun.’

I disregarded his instruction, the word: ‘Don't.’ I went to the place where I knew the gun was, hidden under the bed.

Ah well! I did what I wanted to do. My dog Momi I let go from his chain, jumping up as he saw the gun. He knew we were going to the bush.

It is about three miles to the edge of Pihanui bush. As we entered the undergrowth my dog made off. Not long after, I heard the squealing of a little pig. Then I saw that my dog was struggling with a piglet. I stood my gun against the edge of the undergrowth, leapt at the little pig and bound its legs in order to take it home.

My dog flew at the mother which was coming straight towards me. Momi wasn't able to hold that sow. She went straight for my chest, threw me down and clung to a place close to my throat.

Momi couldn't hold that angry, distressed mother because she had no ears. They had been bitten off by other people's dogs. The dog knew he had to bite the pig's teats. In the strength of his biting the pig was forced from me. In the strength of his pulling he drew the pig from his master. Then this pig fled from me, followed by my dog, biting and barking as he went.

This pig was a survivor of other hunts and had sought revenge for her ills at the

 
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ka whai i taku kurī, ka ngaua haeretia me te auē haere o te kurī.

Ko te poaka nei he mōrehu nā ngā whakangaunga a ētahi atu, e rapu utu ana mō ōna matenga i ētahi atu tāngata, i ētahi atu kurī.

Ka ora au i konei, ka mau anō te ringa i te pū, ka haere tika ki ngā roto o Wahieroa. E toru ēnei roto, kei te tapa o te ngahere e karangatia nei ko Pihanui. Koia nei te tino take o taku haere—he pupuhi pārera, kererū, kōkō. Tino mōmona atu te manu i ērā rā. Nui atu te hua a ngā pua manu—te kahikatea i te taha o ngā roto, te miro kei runga i ngā hiwi, me te poroporo hoki. Te nui o te mōmona o te kōkō, ka pūhia atu, ka taka, pakaru tonu atu i te mōmona!

Hāunga ngā manu kei runga rākau, ko ngā mea kei runga i te wai. Te pārera, tinitini ana! Kātahi ka konihi ahau kia tata, ko te rerenga o ngā manu! Ka pūhia atu e ahau ngā mea e rere ana i runga tonu ake i taku māhuna. Ka taka kotahi ki taku aroaro tonu.

Ēngari kāhore i tino mate. Na, kātahi au ka whai haere i te manu, ka tuki ki te raparapa o taku pū, ko taku ringa katau i runga i te māngai o te pū, ko te kōroa me te māpere i roto i ngā māngai o te pū. He tūpara hou tonu te pū nei.

Kātahi ka rāoa te keu. Ka oho te pū, ka pakū, me te māpere o te ringa katau, riro atu! Ka mōhio au he mate tēnei.

 
 

hands of other men and other dogs.

Finding myself unhurt from all this, I took gun in hand and made straight for the lakes of Wahieroa. There are three of these lakes at the edge of the bush which is called Pihanui. This was the real object of my excursion, to shoot duck, pigeon, tui. The birds in those days were very fat indeed. The trees favoured by the birds had many fruits, the kahikatea beside the lakes, the miro on the hills and then there was the poroporo too. So fat was the tui that, falling after being shot, it broke open.

Besides the birds of the trees, there were those of the water. Duck, how they abounded. Then, as I crept close, behold the flight of the birds! I shot at those that flew right over my head. One fell right in front of me.

But it was not quite dead. Then I pursued the bird, striking at it with the butt of my gun, my right hand over the muzzle of the gun, the first and second fingers inside the barrels. The gun was a new double-barrelled one.

Then the trigger caught against something. The gun discharged and blew the second finger of my right hand clean off: I knew I had been hurt.

I tore the sleeve of my shirt as a bandage for my lacerated finger. Now the world

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The gun discharged.

 
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Ka haea te ringa o te hāte hei takai i te ringa kua motu. I tēnei wā ka huri te whenua i ahau. Taku whakaaro tuatahi he tuku i taku ringa i roto i te wai kia mutu ai te heke o te toto. Ka ngaro aku whakaaro.

Oho rawa ake, ko taku kurī e noho tonu ana i taku taha, āno e tiaki ana i tōna rangatira.

Ka kohia e ahau te pārera ki roto i te kete, me te pū mau ana i te ringa maui, ka haere tika ki te kāinga. Ko te rā kua tata kē ki te tō. Haere me te wehi, te mamae, ngā kahu toto katoa. Kua tae mai te mataku i taku tipuna i whai kupu mai rā, ‘Kei noho ka mau i te pū i muri nei!’

Ana, heoi anō, te taenga atu, e auē ana taku tipuna wahine, a Tuihana. Ko Hāmuera i te kaha o te riri, ka hurihia taku whero ki runga i tōna turi, karia ki tana tātua kiri-kau.

Ka mutu tna riri, mauria ana tana toki ki te tapahi mai i te kiri rātā. Ka waruhia ki roto i te peihana wai mahana. Taku ringaringa i tū rā i te pū, ka purua ki roto i te wai, ka horoia ngā toto, ka whakapiringia ngā wāhi pakaru o te māpere. Ka mutu tēra, ka takaia te ringa ki ngā kiri o te rātā, kei mua, kei muri o te ringa, pēnā tonu nā te tino tākuta i takai.

Me kī rā, i roto i te rua wiki kua ora te ringaringa hīanga.

Te aituā nei i hāngai tonu ki taku rā whānau, te rua tekau mā rima o Maehe, 1887. E waru aku tau i taua wā.

 

whirled round me. My first thought was to put my hand in the water to staunch the flow of blood. Then I lost consciousness.

I came to at last, my dog crouched by my side, guarding his master.

I picked up the duck and put it in my kit, took the gun in my left hand and went straight home. The sun had nearly set. I went in fear and pain, my clothes all bloodstained. Fear of my grandfather came upon me, fear of him who had said: ‘Leave the gun behind.’

Well, on my arrival, my grandmother, Tuihana, cried out. Hamuera, in the strength of his anger, turned me over on his knee, lashing with his cow-hide belt.

When his anger had subsided, he took his axe to cut some rata bark. This he scraped into a basin of warm water. Placing my gun-wounded hand in the water, he washed away the blood from the broken part of my second finger. That being finished, he bound the finger to pieces of rata bark, in front and behind the finger, every bit as well as a proper doctor would have bound it up.

And upon my word, within two weeks that erring finger was healed.

This misfortune occurred on my birthday, the 25th of March, 1887. I was eight years old at the time.

Manu Korotangi

Tū mokemoke ana ahau
Te puke i Aotea, ā,
Manu Korotangi,
Kei whea koe?

Ka noho tangitangi,
Ka tū kanankana,
Te puna i utuhia,
Whatu ngarongaro,
Riro, riro kau ana.

Kanapu mai ana i te rangi ā,
Manu Korotangi, pari rau rewa.

Tiu ana ki te paepae o Tūrongo, ī.
Tau, ka tau.

Ka koakoa,
Tūtakitaki,
Eke, eke, eke hohoa, eke panuku e,
Hui e, Taiki e.

nā Rangi T. Harrison