Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/151

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89
WHAKAREWAREWA'S GEYSERS

respond even then. At the hour set for the ceremony this day the terrace of Wairoa, the flat adjacent, and the shelter houses and the slopes below it were crowded with spectators. All the while the geyser Waikorihihi was sending forth clouds of steam and sprinkling with drifting spray the people between it and Wairoa, as if to say: "Watch me. I work nearly all the time, and I don't have to be coaxed with soap either."

There was a stir in the crowd. It was caused by Kathleen, smiling, small, and supple. She was brilliant in a flax mat completely covered with kaka, kiwi, and pigeon feathers. She tripped to the geyser's mouth; for this pleasant, popular Maori guide, was to coax Wairoa with soap and smiles.

The caretaker approached her with a big white bag in hand. It was half full of yellow soap cut into small cubes.

"Are you ready, Kathleen?" he asked.

"Yes," she promptly answered.

Taking out two or three handfuls of soap, the caretaker threw them into Wairoa's deep throat, and then handed the bag to Kathleen. Grasping the string handle at the bottom of the bag, she opened the mouth, and out poured a saponaceous stream.

"How long must we wait to see Wairoa play?" I inquired of Georgiana.

"Ten minutes, usually," she replied.

The minutes passed, but there was only a slight increase in the volume of steam at Wairoa's mouth, and