Treasure Island

Andrew Barton Paterson

(17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941 / New South Wales)

The Maori Pig Market


In distant New Zealand, whose tresses of gold
The billows are ceaselessly combing,
Away in a village all tranquil and old
I came on a market where porkers were sold --
A market for pigs in the gloaming.
And Maoris in plenty in picturesque rig
The lands of their forefathers roaming,
Were weighing their swine, whether little or big,
For purchasers paid by the weight of the pig --
The weight of the pig in the gloaming.

And one mighty chieftain, I grieve to relate,
The while that his porker was foaming
And squealing like fifty -- that Maori sedate,
He leant on the pig just to add to its weight --
He leant on the pig in the gloaming.

Alas! for the buyer, an Irishman stout --
O'Grady, I think, his cognomen --
Perceived all his doings, and, giving a shout,
With the butt of his whip laid him carefully out
By the side of his pig in the gloaming.

A terrible scrimmage did straightway begin,
And I thought it was time to be homing,
For Maoris and Irish were fighting like sin
'Midst war-cries of "Pakeha!" "Batherashin!"
As I fled from the spot in the gloaming

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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