Slowly things appeared to get back to normal at Black Sands after Hinewai’s return. Ahu and Hoata helped Hinewai get over her abuse by her husband Tui from whom she was now separated and free to marry again.
Luckily she was young and the bruises and wounds soon healed, but not however her shock at being so abused.
Hinewai showed no signs of her previous flirtatious manner and appeared to help Hoata and even went to see her sister Hatiti at the Hot Springs. Her step mother Hoata had not told her that Hatiti was pregnant and it was with sadness she returned home that night and was quieter than normal and spoke only a little of her visit.
“Hatiti is happy isn’t she?” said Hoata in more of a statement than a question. “I think she is happy with Kaihutu”
“He is ugly,” responded Hinewai.
“But a hard worker” protested Hoata. “Let us hope you will find a kinder man to love and look after.”
Hinewai nodded without much enthusiasm and her father then returned home from fishing.
“Now you are better Hinewai could you help Torangi the widower? He has not been looking after himself and needs a woman to tidy his house and get him organised. Men do not have the skill of housekeeping.”
“I thank you father for bringing me back, but do not try to marry me off again. It must be my decision to live my life in the future. However I will go and do as you ask if you have told him that I would.”
Torangi was much older than Ahuahu. His wife had given him a girl and a boy child. The girl had married a year or more ago but both his wife and son had died in the tidal wave. He was a quiet man but not morose. He accepted that the gods ruled their lives and that man was just a plaything for them, but secretly wished they would stop looking on him.
Hinewai noticed what a quiet natured man he was and he was satisfied with all that she did for him.
“Would you like me to prepare your meal for you occasionally,” she offered as she left him after her first visit.
“Thank you Hinewai; that would be good after a long day's fishing.”
So it was that Hinewai became his housekeeper. They even rubbed noses when they greeted each other and the Black Sands community nodded with approval.
Kamaka expressed his gladness to Ahuahu that Hinewai was happy again as they went fishing.
“Ahuahu, your children are still but young but the joy you have now will almost certainly turn to grief. I was wrong as I can see it now to have beaten Hinewai all that time ago. She thought that it was normal for those that loved you to treat her in this way. But she seems to be happy now looking after Torangi”
Ahuahu nodded, “Perhaps we were all wrong. I too felt that her youthful playfulness was a threat and should not have reacted as I did. Who can read all the signs and omens that the gods send us in order to plan our lives? How can we interpret the flight of birds or the distant thunder and decide our action? All we can do is hope that what we ourselves do does not upset the gods.”
Kamaka slapped a friendly hand against Ahuahu’s arm.
“May our work today be blessed by the gods,’ he said as they proceeded to launch their boat.
Ahu visited Hinewai that day as she was working in Torangi’s house, carrying Hekehoru with her. Hinewai was sitting in the porch outside the house eating some fruit. Little Tangaroa ran up to her and hugged her, and she hugged him back.
“Hoata said that you may move in with Torangi,” said Ahu.
Hinewai nodded. “He is gentle and kind…" She paused here weighing up her words, “...But a little dull.”
Hinewai beckoned Ahu to follow her into the house so they could speak in private.
“He is still grieving for his wife, but he also wants to touch me. I let him because I have never been touched by a gentle man before.”
She then indicated she would like to hold Hekehoru. Ahu extracted her out from the sling and handed the sleeping child to her. Hinewai clasped her to her breast and sighed.
“Papa-tu-a-nuku,” she prayed, “Please send me a child.”
A few weeks later she and Torangi were married.
Papa-tu-a-nuku - Earth mother goddess