Bullrush or kingasini

We are thinking about school around here today – for a couple of reasons. Dad is writing up his memories and I have been involved for the past six weeks or so in preparatory meetings for the Karapiro, Whitehall, Taotaoroa and Karapiro Hydro district schools 125th Jubilee we will celebrate in September next year. This week we launched the website which will be used to publicize the celebrations. Dad, my sister and brother and I attended Whitehall primary; my mother went to Taotaoroa. The history of all four schools – two of which no longer exist – are bound up with one another. Check out the website if you are interested.

Dad (at Whitehall in the 1930s) asks me about the word kingasini. Yes, we played bullrush or kingasini in the 1950s and 1960s – at Whitehall (I recall we used the two names interchangeably – or were there two variations each having their own name – a vague memory is saying yes). I have a photograph here which shows the exact place we used to play it – the large bare patch in the lower portion of this photo – an area that was later grassed.

Whitehall School Archive

I can find three references to Kingasini: Tommy Kapai‘s delightful 29th September 2008 Bay of Plenty Times article Ding-dong of bullrush can teach our kids plenty (Omanu School). John Saunders’ Memories from Onehunga Primary School… on Old Friends and  Kitty Arnold (Whelan) Memories from St Pius X School (Glen Innes)… also on Old Friends. Wikipedia mentions bullrush as an antipodean variant of the British game Bulldogs and provides a whole lot of other names but not Kingasini – I wonder where the name came from?

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