03 July 2008

Funky Fried Chicken

Prince Tui Teka left the Ureweras at the age of 15 to join an Australian circus. He was billed as Prince Tui La Tui of the Royal Polynesians, and danced and sang. The audience didn’t need to know that he also drove one of the trucks and cleaned up the elephant dung. He eventually formed his own group, Prince Tui Teka and the Maori Troubadours. They had a convoy of caravans and Tui drove the truck.

His hobby, according to fellow bandmember Gugi Waaka, was collecting dead snakes that had been run over on the road. Some of them were up to seven feet long, and he would hang them off the bullbars. “At one time he had 54 of them, flopping around on the bullbars.

“Tui was the snake cooker as well as the snake collector,” Waaka told Mana in 2002. “The Aborigines told us us to cook ’em up, so Tui cooked them. They tasted just like chicken.’

Why does everything exotic – alligator, ostrich – seem to taste like chicken?


Martin Edmond said...

do you know which circus it was Chris?

Chris Bourke said...

I might have found the answer, by accident. It's from an account of a Maori singer going to a party in the mid 1950s at the Sydney showgrounds, put on by the people from Wirth's circus. Smoke was streaming out of a huge caravan, the liquor was flowing freely, and inside was Prince Tui Teka, 'like a king surrounded by all the circus crowd.' This was before he got involved in music in Australia: his job was to lift the centre pole when raising the circus tent. He was one of the few who could do it on his own.

Anonymous said...

Why do snakes and aligators taste like chicken
It the other way round because chickens (birds) came from the reptiles, chickens taste like snakes etc
That's what I told my boys and they are all university trained .........s now and they have not corrected me yet
Must be true

Martin Edmond said...

great story - thanks Chris.