17 February 1872
Before proceeding to Ohinimuri, next day, we bathed, but found the water of the stream very cold indeed, and Afterwards took “Hini Moa” boat to Isle “Moakoa” for a bathe in one of the hot Springs. On arrival at Ohinimuri, we stayed at Bennett’s accommodation House. The stay of O
Ohini Hini Moa is variously told. The version we heard was that
the young lady fell in love with a Chief at Ohinimuri, but her parents would not consent to their union. She was of course magnificently beautiful. One day she swam across the lake, - a long swim indeed – and arrived at the hot springs, near to the place where the drinking water of the Hapu is obtained. One of the Chief’s women was had come to the well to draw water in a calabash, whereupon Hini Moa broke the Calabash to pieces and sent the woman away to tell the chief that “a fair maiden died from love to him”. He could not believe it, and sent for an explanation; - once more did “Hini Moa” repeat this, - and again it was not believed. It was yet done a third time. The Chief hurried down in anger, - but only to be softened and appeased by the charms of the beautiful lover. It is needless to say that Papa’s consent was not asked; - but in due course 10 or little niggers blessed the union to the benefit of so good a tribe as the “Arawas”
We bathed as all others do, issuing from our hotel thro’ the thoroughfares, in blankets, and thus marched to the hot springs and bathed among the whole assemblage of men and women. You can get almost any temperature you like. Many of the women were lying in the streams, but altho’ all bathe thus, and the sight is beyond description, there is nothing to shock the sense of propriety “Honi soit qui mal y pense” is a good English motto. An amusing story is told of a friend who visited the place before we did. He was in H.M.S. and wore specs. On going down to bathe, he put his blanket down under a bush, together with his hat; but when in the full enjoyment of
his bath, he espied a young maiden taking his blanket, and as this was rather more of his clothing then he could spare, his only remaining chance was to run for it at once at all risks. So taking up his only remaining article, - his hat or cap, - for a covering, he followed. The Maoris,
laughing took great interest in the race, calling out first to the one and then to the other, “Kapai the Whina”, “Kapai the Pakeha”, laughing excitedly as they bolted round the whares and up and down the thoroughfares. The “Hapu” came out to see the fun, - men, women, and children. The Pakeha gains ground, and is nearly recovering his blanket, when unfortunately for him, he puts his foot in a hot spring and down he came, his hat rolling away. Nothing daunted, up he jumped, and without waiting on ceremony dashed again after the thief amid the still greater vociferations and applause of the Maoris. Soon he donned his blanket, chaffed the wicked maiden and returned to his bath, considered to be a “Rangitara Pakeha” (a better sort).
At night we went all round the whares, had some songs, gave away tobacco, &c. from morn till night, and late too, how merry and joyous and fond of pastime these people are! For food, we were obliged to have recourse to our biscuit and sardines. The race after all is not bad; - tho’ dark is skin, they are fine in stature, very brave, and possess good brain power. Llewellyn and Chamberlain stayed late distributing charms, and playing with the sham snake they brought out, of which the Maoris were much afraid.