Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/460

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given as one reason for this attitude; another reason is fear of the theft of ornaments from the bodies. If these are stolen, say superstitious natives, the spirit of one whose body is thus dishonored cannot abide in Heaven.

As we neared the close of our village sight-seeing an odor of cooking was wafted to us. Waioaka was preparing its noonday meal. Most of the cooking was done outdoors, in pots and on heated stones. When the stones were sufficiently heated by the fire built around them all the ashes and unconsumed wood were raked away, whereupon vegetables and meat or fish were placed on the stones, and over all water was poured. The whole was then covered with sacks, and in the smothered steam the food was soon and wholesomely cooked.

Unknown to me, I had been invited to dine while I was inspecting Waioaka. Tom told me about it after we had departed.

"I did n't accept the invitation for you," he laughingly explained. "I said, 'No, we will go home to dine.’ They were eating rotten corn. It had a terrible smell. It must have been in water twelve months."

Not often does one hear of a king in the rôle of a real estate agent. In Mahuta, third of Maori kings. New Zealand had such a potentate when I was in the Dominion. When he was not in his royal city of Waahi, beside the broad Waikato River, this king, since dead, was usually at the offices of Messrs. Mahuta and Kaihau, Queen Street, Auckland.