It has been pointed out to me that
nowhere in the literature relating to the Maoris of New Zealand is there
any mention of the use of the surf board among them.
While the Maoris did not use this form of amusement to the same extent as some other branches of the Polynesians- the Hawaiians, for instance- it was certainly practised sixty to seventy years ago, and probably is so still when the beaches are suitable.
I have myself seen dozens of yonng Maoris indulging in the sport on the Taranaki coast, and have heard of it being a popular amusement in the Bay of Plenty.
The boards used were about six feet long by about nine inches wide.
One end of the board was held at the pit of the stomach, with the arms extended towards the other end, the hands grasping the sides of the board.
The performer would swim out beyond the breakers and watching his opportunity as the wave broke would be hurled along by the breaking wave into the shallow water.
The game was called 'whakaheke-ngaru', identical with the Tahitian name 'la'ahe'e-'aru' for the same thing.
It is questionable if the Maoris ever used boards so large as the Hawaiians on which a man could stand upright.
I can say from experience that it is a most exhilarating pastime.
S. PERCY SMITH.
Volume XXX Number 1.
No. 117, March 1921.
New Plymouth, New Zealand.
Printed for the Society by Thomas Avery.