Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/192

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122
PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

Karapiti is muffled behind hills three miles from Wairakei's hotel, and issues from a low, sandy wall in a little hollow. At a sharp angle it shoots up with fearful speed through an irregular mouth having a maximum width of about one foot. As long as the Maoris can remember, Karapiti has been trumpeting; in the hundreds of years that possibly have elapsed since it first broke its bounds, it must have expelled enough steam to run the machinery of worlds.

Powerful as Karapiti is, tourists are sometimes too much for him. He can fling back into their faces tin cans, boards, and their own hats, but he cannot hurl back long, heavy sticks nor beer bottles. So, because the bottles are too heavy and because he cannot get enough surface pressure on the sticks, these obstacles half fill his throat. Light boards, hats, and pieces of tin are thrown back with surprising suddenness to a distance of from ten to twenty feet.

I threw in boards of heavy wood eighteen inches long, four inches wide, and a half-inch thick. Several inches from his mouth Karapiti caught them, and held one at a sharp angle on the verge of his upper lip. There the board remained, swaying constantly, until I knocked it down with a stick. It was then blown out seven or eight feet. A five-gallon oil-can was driven back to the top of an incline, where it rocked like a cradle until removed.

Six miles south of Wairakei is Taupo, one of those places where a fisherman can catch trout in a river and