The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (For previous episodes click on Ahu in the labels area)
It was the day after the celebrations that once again Ahuahu was summoned early in the morning to the chief’s house. There to greet him were not only the chief but Atarani one of his wives. She was standing with her arms wrapped protectively around a young girl…Moana. Also there was Paikea who was looking very embarrassed. Ahuahu quickly took in the situation and spoke to the chief straight away.
“I see we have a visitor from the north. I fear she has brought us bad news.”
“You know this girl?” asked the chief.
Ahuahu nodded “She is Moana from Gannet Island; I have known her since she was born. Has she spoken with you?”
The chief shook his head, “She was found just outside the village, she asked for you and Ahu but was brought here first. Sit down and see if she will talk to you.” They all sat down and Ahuahu asked permission to begin.
“Moana, the last time I saw you, you told me you were frightened that there would be fighting between your Gannet Island village and Rocky Outcrop. Is this why you have run away?”
“Has there been much fighting? You must tell us what has happened.”
“Please do not send me back.”
“Won’t your mother want to know where you are?”
Moana shook her head. With that Ahuahu looked to the chief and said “Moana has always run free since she was little. She is independent and strong but headstrong. She is a survivor.”
Moana then interrupted “My father was killed in the fighting with the Rocky Outcrop men. My mother has fled but I do not know where. She knew I would look for you Ahuahu.”
“What about the rest of the village Moana?”
“It has been burnt, the women and children that the Rocky Outcrop men wanted have been taken but I know nothing more as I was hiding.”
“So you disappeared into the forest unseen?”
Moana nodded in reply.
Ahuahu turned to the Chief. “If you agree I will look after her, Ahu knew her well and she can adapt to our way of life here. Even Hatiti will make her useful.”
The chief looked dubious. “She could stay here and be a help to my wives instead.”
“Yes that is an option too, but perhaps it would be best for her to talk to Ahu and feel safe here first and then we can decide later. I need to talk to you alone so perhaps now Atarani can take her to Ahu while I discuss this other matter.”
The chief nodded to Atarani his first wife and she took Moana to Ahu while the room was emptied.
“What is it you want to say, Ahuahu?”
“I must tell you more of my trip to Gannet Island with Paikea. We spoke with Moana there secretly, she said then that fighting was about to occur. Paikea and Moana looked at each other as we were talking even though they are both young, it may not be good for them to be in the same whare. We must be sure that all that she has said today is the truth. Ahu will determine that.”
The chief grunted and nodded as Ahuahu continued. “I told her back then that if she was in danger she should come here. But at her age she has not learned to lower her eyes when she looks on a boy. She may be in danger not of the fighting but of being in love.”
The chief laughed, “She may be small but does appear to be plucky with a strong will. You are right she is better with Ahu than here if Paikea is mooning over her. Do you think that she travelled all night to get here?”
Ahuahu laughed, “No she was watching us as we harvested the whale these last few days. I saw her high on the hill top. She must have left her village many days ago.”
“You saw her? I wish I had sons as plucky as her to survive days alone in the forest.”
“She is resourceful and knows her own mind that is certain. She will be safe here even if the Rocky Outcrop men do take over the Gannet Island village. They may be closer to us but should not come further south as the fishing here is not as good as there. They have been poaching those rich waters for years.”
Ahuahu returned home just as Atarani was leaving; Ahu smiled and whispered to him, “Moana is lying down and is sleeping. You are not planning on a third wife are you?”
Whare - House, Dwelling