Haere mai — welcome to the September kōrero column. Te hōiho, the horse, was first brought to these shores by missionary Samuel Marsden more than 200 years ago.
On first seeing them, Māori were astounded by these large four-legged creatures, but quickly came to see their usefulness, adopting them for transport and farm work.
Rural Māori children often learnt to ride at an early age, and right through the 20th century, many would ride to school on horseback — some still do.
Māori were also keenly involved in horse-racing, organising their own race meetings from the 1870s, usually in iwi groups. These sometimes included a wāhine’s race — in the 19th century Pākehā women rode side-saddle but Māori wāhine tied their skirts to their ankles and sat astride, as men did.
The Ōtaki-Māori Racing Club describes itself as the last remaining Māori racing club in the country. Thoroughbred horses were introduced to the district in the 1840s and the club was formed in 1886. At that time, few Europeans lived in the area and at big race meetings, attended by 3-4000 people, only around 200 would be non-Māori.
Kupu hou (new word)
Hōiho (horse) — pronounced “haw-ee-hor”
I eke hōiho ki te kura a tōku matua. — My father used to ride a horse to school.
More words related to hōiho:
pereki hōiho — to break in or train horses
purei hōiho — horse racing
kiore moana — seahorse
tera — saddle
tanapu — to rear up (of a horse)
haeana — horse shoe
hōiho poka — gelding
hōiho uwha — mare
punui hōiho — foal
E mihi ana ki a Titihuia Pakeho rāua ko Mairi Lucas.