Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/227

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145
DOWN NEW ZEALAND'S RHINE

orders as he divided his attention between the wheel and the crew, accomplished it without mishap.

Below these rapids we drew up near a dugout beside a narrow beach. On the beach were several Maori children, one of whom was a boy who looked like a Chinese mandarin in miniature. He wore faded, loose pink trousers, a sky-blue shirt large enough for his father, and a sweater with black and red stripes. His shirt-sleeves dangled like those of a scarecrow and his trousers bellied with each passing breeze. But these things did not trouble him; and why should they? He had plenty of room and a variety of color. What more did he need?

At this landing the plank was put out for a big Maori woman wearing a black dress and a white motor-veil. In her hand she carried her "going-out" shoes. The broad shoes she wore were good enough for Corinth, but they were not fancy enough for Aramoho Junction or Wanganui. Yes, this was Corinth. And not far away were Damascus, Galatia, Laodicea, and Athens! Such were some of the names given Maori villages in the old missionary days.

The distance between life and death is often an inch, a hair's breadth, or a second, but seldom is it accurately measured. On the Wanganui it was definitely known. It was the width of a totem pole. This pole stands within a small picket fence on the lower Wanganui. To me it was in its isolation a strong reminder of the far-famed totem pole of Seattle's Pioneer Square. To the New