Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ahuahu reports on his journey (No 38)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (For all of the Ahu stories click on Ahu in Labels on the side bar)

Ahuahu and Paikea returned to Black Sands and went immediately to the Head Man’s house and was welcomed with, “Come in Ahuahu and have a meal with us.”

Ahuahu said “Gladly, but I should let my wives know where I am; they will worry if I am not back by nightfall.”

“I will send young Tui to tell them you are with us,” said the chief.

So Ahuahu sat down with the family and ate with them and after they had finished and the women had cleaned up the chief asked Ahu how their day had been.

“There is good news and bad news,” started Ahuahu. “The good news is that there is a pod of whales out to sea looking as though they might stay a few days as they are breeching and there are mothers with calves so they might stay for a little while to rest. The journey north may have been too tiring for them. Should the weather change it is possible they could be pushed on shore by the tide. There are a number of little rocky bays below the high point where we observed them which is but two hours from here not half way to Gannet Island. If the gods are generous one may be stranded on shore and not have the energy to get back to deep water. It will be a welcome gift.”

While Ahuahu was speaking Paikea sat with his mouth open. He couldn’t believe he was hearing such detail in Ahuahu’s observation as he had been there with him. He could not have said the same things.

The chief looked at Paikea, who seeing he was expected to say something blurted out “I have learned much today father but I do not know what we should do now.” The chief again looked at Ahuahu who then went on.

“I believe we should send just one lookout up to where we saw the whales early each day to see if any have beached during the night. But our man should look as though he is on the move hunting on land so he should not stay there all day lest he is observed.”

The chief nodded “That is good advice and what else did you do?”

“We got as far as Gannet Island village but our meeting was strained. We were not made welcome. A friend I had there has died and the villagers are nervous and suspicious. I heard whispers about a possible raid on the Rocky outcrop community much further north. But it may be just women’s talk. It did not seem to be a good time to talk of sharing the spoils of the sea if they have weapons in their hands.”

Once again Paikea was amazed at how Ahuahu had interpreted their visit to the village and their conversation with the beautiful Moana in this way.

Once again his father turned to him for his opinion.

“I have learned much on this trip father, Ahuahu has taught me a lot.”

The chief then nodded and grinned at Ahuahu, “The boy seems impressed, go home now to your wives so I can find out what Paikea really thinks.” He stood and Ahuahu did as well and then he whispered “My boy likes you, I can see it.”

It was quite dark when he returned home both women greeted him in turn but the children were fast asleep. Hatiti hoped he would choose to sleep with her and tried to keep eye contact with him so he would understand. Ahu on the other hand saw how tired he was and needed a rest so spoke to him quietly.

“Will you tell us of your journey today Ahuahu while we rub your body so that you can sleep well?”

“It is good to be home. Yes, I will tell you both what has happened and Hatiti will learn of our past before we came to Black Sands.” But before he did this he went to see the children and bent over them in turn and whispered a few words to each of them. He spoke to Horowai last and brushed his lips on her forehead and he turned to rejoin to the two women and saw that Hatiti had been watching him and her eyes were full of tears that he had shown his love for her daughter in this way, but they said not a word.

Later as they massaged his body he told of his journey up to Gannet Island and the sighting of the whales. Then Ahu explained to Hatiti that the dead man Hi'lei used to fish with Ahuahu and they had been friends so there was nothing left now to link them with that village.

Then Ahuahu spoke again. “That is not quite true, little Moana spoke with me but now she is nearly a woman. She wanted to return with us. She and Paikea could not stop looking at each other. He is in love for the first time.”

Ahuahu did not tell the women of the possible fighting with the village at the Rocky Outcrop again. So Ahu told Hatiti of the day Tangaroa their first child was born when Ahuahu was drenched by a wave as he fished off the rocks and how little Moana had seen it happen, she had run back and told the whole village laughing all the time so when he finally returned and saw Ahu and baby she had already heard the story. With that they settled down and slept peacefully holding on to each other.

When Hatiti woke in the night hearing Aotea cry for his feed Ahuahu was facing her fast asleep but with his right hand holding on to her calf.


  1. Your story continues to entertain and enthral. How do you do it?!!

  2. The group must be grateful to Ahuahu, he approaches the led with such patience and caution. I have to remind myself that he isn't the chief. I like to think of Ahu as his special wife but it seems as though he is dividing himself equally. I wonder if Hatiti will value him for that.

  3. These characters are beginning to take on a living solidity in my mind. I can feel that you are writing as a 'narrative historian' - great reading and story-telling.
    By the by, got the link up and running now, thanks very much.

  4. For some reason I keep identifying with Ahu. Ahuahu is such an admirable character that he might disapprove of my having a preference for one wife. Keep writing! I really want to know wat happens next.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind words.

  5. I look forward to reading this each week. I don't know how Ahuahu manages to keep both women on an even keel. I'll be back again next week to see what happens next.

  6. What war mongers Gannet Island Village has turned out to be. I'm so glad Ahu and Ahuahu left there.

  7. Just a minor correction. Alice above mentioned Gannet Island. That village and a village further north, Rocky Outcrop are always fighting. Ahu and Ahuahu lived and married at Gannet Island with its abundant fishing but escaped from the ongoing fighting. That is why they are at Black Sands, a poorer but happier village yet prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions!

  8. Such love these women show to Ahuahu -- and he's awesome, as well. Love how perceptive he is ... why isn't HE the village elder or chief? (or both)

  9. I love the warmth of your characters. There is such a comfort here though their lives are simple and I would think, physically hard.