Mahuika was going to Black
Sands with Hoku her step daughter, Hoku's husband Aotea and their children on a visit to Aotea’s family there.
She had told Hekeheke that if the children sought her out for a story perhaps
she should tell them one.
“Mahuika, I am not a story
teller. What do I know and what stories can I tell them?”
Mahuika smiled at Hekeheke
“We are all story tellers. We hear our first stories from our mothers and our
fathers. We do not forget them. It is our duty to keep telling them otherwise
what will become of our history?”
Hekeheke nodded doubtfully.
Then Mahuika went on “Tell
the children the stories about Rotorua where you were born. You must know them all.
When you tell a story it may be different from the last time you heard it
because of the way it affected you. Do you remember when the little girl wanted
the little bird Tieke, to be included in the story about Maui
taming the sun? If she tells that story now it will be unique to her. That is
why there are so many different versions of his exploits.” Here Mahuika paused
then said, “The best stories will last but who will tell the stories when I
Hekeheke knew then exactly what
Mahuika was talking about. So she nodded and said “I am sure the children will
With that Mahuika again shook her
head, “No, Hekeheke. They must be surprised when they hear a story. When a woman
relates a story she will talk about love and sadness better than a man. When a
man tells a story he will emphasize the bravery and cunning of the heroes and
their adversaries. It has taken me a long to time to be able to tell stories about Maui and his tricky ways so that boys enjoy it. You
must remember your listeners and tell the story to please them.”
As Mahuika expected the
children looked for her after she had gone to Black Springs. They couldn’t
find her so went to Hekeheke instead. She told them that although Mahuika would
be away for a little while she would tell them a story instead. So she took
them to her mother’s whare and sat them on the sand in front of the entrance
and began her first story.
of Tutea was the first man to set up a permanent home at Rotorua, which is
where I used to live. I was born there as were my parents and their parents before them. The village is called Rotorua now and there are many hot springs there. Some that
you can bathe in and some are so hot you can cook in them. There are pools that
bubble and hiss and some that every now and then grumble a lot then shoot a
great gush of hot water and steam into the air. This clearly makes the pool
feel better as then it quietens down again for a while before it starts to grumble again.
Here Hekeheke interrupted her story and said. “I
have not yet been to the Hot Springs
at Black Sands but I understand those at my birthplace at Rotorua are bigger and angrier than any
where else in our land.” Then she continued:
took a beautiful young woman named Kuiarau to be his wife and they loved each
other very much. They were the first people to settle in Rotorua and lived happily together with Tamahika’s father
Tutea, who also lived with them. One day when Kuiarau went bathing in one of the warm
springs, Taokahu, a taniwha (a water monster) saw her and wanted her for himself. So the evil monster swam up behind her and grabbed hold of her legs and dragged her down to his lair below the lake.
observing the struggle between poor Kuiarau and the evil taniwha, became very angry
and decided to punish him causing the lake to boil so the Taniwha would be
destroyed forever. However Kuiarau also died when this happened. So Tamahika
never ever saw his wife ever again.
From that time on
that hot lake and the land surrounding it has been known by the name of Tamahika's
lost wife, Kuiarau in memory of her.
She knew that not only had she not told the story well she had told it too quickly but as she had already got to the end looked up at them to see their reaction.
“Did you bathe in that pool Hekheke?” Asked one of
Hekeheke laughed and shook her head “No, that pool
is too hot to bathe in. All the pools there are different temperatures.”
“Did Tamahika ever get married again?” asked two of the
“I expect so, or else I would not be here would
I?My family has always lived at Rotorua. My mother and I
only came here after my father died. My mother is now being looked after by a man in our village of Gannet Island.”
“So you have not been to Black Sands and the hot springs there,
Hekeheke?" Asked another boy.
”No, not yet, but one day I will go.”
The boy then said "My father told me that Hatiti the second wife of Black Sands headman Ahuahu was married first to Kaihutu. Kaihutu died when he fell in a hot pool there. Do you think that a taniwha captured him?"
"No I don't think so." Answered Hekeheke.
She then understood what Mahuika had told her that the stories she told the children would interest them in different ways.
With that the children settled down again eagerly waiting for her next story.