Hatiti came to stay with Ahu as the time for the delivery of her baby came near.
Ahu’s little girl Hekehoru was excited that Horowai, Hatiti’s baby daughter should be staying with them too. She could have a real baby sister to look after as well as the wooden dolls that her father Ahuahu had made for her.
Ahuahu said very little except to show surprise she did not stay with Kamaka her father and Hoata his second wife.
Ahu said “I asked her first. She is happy to the leave the Hot Springs as it has bad memories for her now she on her own.”
“Next we will be building a house for her in the village.”
“If she wishes it I am sure you and her father Kamaka can build her one. There is room near us.” Ahu replied and Ahuahu huffed in exasperation.
“Yes that is a good idea, Ahuahu.” Ahu went on, “That way she won’t actually be living with us for long.”
Ahuahu thought about this and decided he would speak to Kamaka. He was still confused though as he felt that he had somehow suggested something that he didn’t mean to say. He knew that Hatiti was dear to Ahu but he also remembered how proud he was to have rescued Hatiti nearly two years ago now when she was lost after the Tsunami. He also remembered how much she had clung to him in her nakedness as he brought her out of the forest and how even now he thought how beautiful she had been and how much she had trusted him.
“Ahu…” He began, but couldn’t say the words. She looked at him trying to read what he wanted to say.
“Go and talk to Kamaka, husband. He may wish to discuss it with you.”
So Ahuahu wandered over to Kamaka’s house to talk to him. Hatiti meanwhile had heard Ahu and Ahuahu talking while she was feeding her baby Horowai but did not intrude. She wanted to live back in the village again to be close to Ahu. Ahu would be able to make her laugh again after the death of her husband. They would comb each others hair and be like sisters. Ahu had told her that if Ahuahu wanted another wife she would ask him to pick her; someone that Ahu could get along with. As she was thinking about this Ahu came back inside the hut.
”Hatiti, I think my baby is coming. I will have to walk down to the special place for women to give birth. Could you let Hoata and the other women who will help know I am walking down there now.” With that she led Hekehoru to Hatiti. ”Please look after the children for me. Tangaroa is playing with the other boys.”
With that she turned and walked steadily out of the house and across the village to the woods nearby. Hatiti gathered up the children and quickly went to find Hoata.
Ahuahu and Kamaka were sitting outside Hoata’s house and Hatiti told them that the new baby was coming. Ahuahu started to get up but Hatiti said to him, “No sit, Ahuahu. You do not have to be present every time.”
Kamaka looked at Ahuahu quizzically, but said nothing as he did not know that Ahuahu had been at the birth of Hekehoru two years before. Hoata heard them talking and came out to see Hatiti.
“I am glad you are coming back to live in the village Hatiti. Your father and Ahuahu will build you a fine house.” With that she listened to Hatiti who told her of Ahu starting to have the baby so Hoata went straight away to fetch the other women to help.
Ahuahu walked back to his house with Hekehoru and Hatiti who was carrying her baby Horowai.
“Ahu seems to want you part of the family, Hatiti. You will feel safer back here with all those that you love. Kamaka and I will start building your house soon.”
“You and Ahu have shown how much you care for me especially since Kaihutu my husband died. We two are always being pushed together by events. Now Ahu wishes it, yet I do not want to hurt either of you by me being so close to you again.”
“Hatiti you are a woman, I do not understand how a woman like Ahu thinks. Does she want me to look at you?”
Hatiti shook her head. “I wish you had not asked me this Ahuahu. But I think that she wants to make sure if anything happens to her that you will look on someone she is close to and can trust to love and care for her children and you as much as she does.”
“She has spoken to you?”
“When the cold wind blows you wrap your cloak around you tightly.” said Hatiti cryptically. “Ahu said that she would like me to be that cloak to look after you and the children should anything happen to her.”
Ahuahu was silent for some time. Then he said “We will not talk of this again, but I will just say that I will be saddened if you have other men look on you to be their wife…for my children’s sake, of course.”
Hatiti smiled shyly “Thank you Ahuahu. I will do anything for Ahu. But for the moment I will prepare a meal for you and the children.”
Ahu’s new baby was born quickly. It was another boy and she was soon back home again, tired but happy. Tangaroa was happy too as he now had a baby brother. Ahuahu wanted to call him Aotea to show where he had come from and Ahu liked the name.
Meanwhile Hatiti settled in close to her new family and was very happy knowing that they all loved her. No one spoke again of their agreement.
Aotea – Boys name from the boat that brought the first settlers from Hawaii to New Zealand (Aotearoa) many years ago.