Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/146

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PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

Throughout Ohinemutu I encountered steam. It rose from pools where children swam—along the margin of the lake, along the paths that served as streets, and in front and back yards. Some of these children asked me to throw pennies into the pools, that they might dive for them. Diving for tourists' pennies is a daily pursuit of Maori boys and girls in the Rotorua district. Many pools are too hot for diving, and sometimes people accidentally fall into them, and are scalded to death. I read of one or two men who were fatally scalded in a bath in the manuka wastes back of Pukeroa Hill, and at Tokaanu I heard of a tourist who stumbled into a hotwater hole one night and was so severely burned before he scrambled out that he was in a hospital for months. In the same village when I was in New Zealand, a young Maori wife committed suicide by leaping into a boiling spring, and not a vestige of her body could be found by her husband.

How fortunate are the cooks of Ohinemutu. In that blissful retreat of steam the housewife has no kitchen fire to build, no cooking-stove to polish, and the small boy's play-hours are never disturbed by that world-familiar maternal command, "Bring in some wood." My first view of an Ohinemutu fireless cooker was beside a public path. It was a wooden box, inset in the ground, with a steaming gunny-sack over it, and it had an unpleasant smell. Close by were others like it; in other places I saw these fibrous stove-lids flat on the ground. In one a woman was placing two kettles, and