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The White Dog

16 July 2013

Not all kaitiaki, spiritual guardians are associated with families.

Where I live in Waimarama we have a kaitiaki that is linked more to the area than the family. Our house was built by my grandfather in 1912 and is located on the slopes of the ancient fortress of Whanganui a Tara. This kaitiaki takes the form of a white dog and has been sighted by many people who have been to our home.

I remember our mother often telling us that it took care of the place and that we would never see it. My Uncle John confirmed this. It seems that this white dog only appears to strange people or visitors to the house.

I myself have never seen it but I do recall that as a child we would take turns at going down the hill track through the bushes to get the mail and anything else that was left by the mail service. In the winter this meant a trip down when it was dark and very scary.

When it was my turn to go get the mail I took great comfort in knowing about the ’white dog’ and often believed that I could hear it trotting alongside; whatever, I can say that I was never as scared as some of my siblings about having to go down and get the mail.

In my last year at Waimarama School I wanted to see out the remainder of the year at Waimarama and opted to stay in the house on my own. Once again the ‘white dog’ always gave me a great sense of security and being alone was never a problem. I would catch the mail service each Friday night and spend the weekend in town. I would happily wait in the dark with my spiritual friend for Mr Begley, the mail service driver to arrive.

There are numerous tales as told by other people of having been confronted by this ‘white dog’ One that comes to mind is where two young people came up to the house and asked if they could pitch their tent down below just inside our front gate.

In the morning my Dad went down and saw that the tent was still there. He called out to see if they were inside. He was very surprised to see two very relieved young people pop their heads out of the tent. They had been terrorised all night by a large white dog that had refused to let them leave the tent!

The origin of this ‘white dog’ is a tale that is just as mysterious and starts with ‘Tara’ the first man who arrived here in Waimarama but that story is for another time.

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