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A RELIC OF BARBARISM.

Making Money by-Gpuelf y to : Human 'Belnjtiu Reprehensible Pra«iM«es at Waitotara.

(Contributed.)

It is profitable to.be a good' tattooer, for he can make £3 in about, four or fivj hours ever day. ' While I was -at 'Waitotara a few days ago I was told- by some of th« Maoris I saw at the township that there was a tattooing operation going on at-, a , pah named Ihupuku, hear the above railway station. Not seeing. th« like of it before, I thought I would go and have a • look at it. In company . with another gentleman, I went down jto thejiah, and when we got there we went' straight to the .big meeting-house they have there called Kawarau. This house- was full of Maori women with their jaWs wrapped up with bandages. On making inquiries about • the women having the bamdages on, they told me 'they had all' been under the tattooing operation. I asked them where the operation room was situated, and they took us to the back, of the meeting-house. There we saw a tent erected, and on looking into it we observed one woman unde* the operation. She was lying flat on the ground, with her eyes blindfolded. Th« tohunga, as the tatjtooer is called, was sitting on the ground by the side of the woman's head, with his operating instruments in his hands at work tattooing this woman. The instrument he used for cutting into the woman's, chin, and lipa i» made from toroa bones, ,, sharpened and. fastened oh to a stick for a handle. This instrument is called whi, and with the aid of another stick to take the place of a hammer, he drives this whi into the akin and flesh of the one under operation. The instrument cuts in from, one-eighth to a quarter of an inch deep along the lines drawn by a lead pencil to the shape or figure required by the woman. ' As the - blood flowed out of the cut, Boot wai forced into it to take its place. It is a terrible sight to see, and I do not know how they could bear the' pain of the operation. We were not there very long look-. ing at the woman before her body was covered all over with blood, and she wa» trembling all ov«r with the pain. At the time I was there I was told thw' tohunga has tattooed about twenty women, and he had another ten or twenty more to do at £2 and £3 each. He put through £▼• every week, making about £10 or £15 a week, with everything found. I wa» mr- l * prised to see the Maoris; of our day going backwards to the old customs, instead of going forward. Ido think, from a humane point of view that" this work of tsruelty amongst Maori women should be stopped. These tattoo tohungas ought to be .prevented from operating on them. I wai also told that some, of these women have been under the operation two or three times within. a week or fortnight. The women must be very anxious to be tattooed to endure the of the operation the second and' third time. Thin tohunga will have a nice little b»g to take away out of his claims of blood at Ihupuku, Waitotara. .

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/WH19041010.2.55

Bibliographic details

A RELIC OF BARBARISM., Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 11380, 10 October 1904

Word Count
553

A RELIC OF BARBARISM. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 11380, 10 October 1904

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