Friday, 30 March 2012

Ahu’s Secret and Moana’s admirers (No 46)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

Ahu was happy to be back home again and Ahuahu was so pleased that he would sleep with her again.

“Did Hatiti not sleep with you Ahuahu?”

“Yes, but it does not feel good when you are not here. Even though she was with me I was wondering where you were all the time and if you were safe. I can always hear you if you call out for me in the village but not when you are far away.”

Ahu wrapped him in her arms and whispered to him. “When you say words like that I know I have first place in your heart.” Then she was quiet for a little while as he caressed her, but in the end she spoke. “I have a secret Ahuahu it is one only we must share. Moana’s mother and her young brothers are living with a man at the Kaka village in the forest. “

“It is good that she has someone to protect her now that her husband has been killed.” said Ahuahu.

“Yes, but the man is Torangi of our village, he was living by himself as Hinewai has now left him. I cannot tell Hatiti or Hoata and it is not my place to speak to Kamaka about this. I do not like secrets and it is hurting me. I did not even tell Moana I knew him.”

“You are worrying unduly Ahu. Kamaka has already said to me that one day Torangi would wake up and find Hinewai gone. That has now happened but he must hear it from others not us. If ever Kamaka asks me if I have heard anything I will tell him that Torangi has been seen but Hinewai is not with him. That will merely confirm what he is expecting. Relax tonight then tell me what he said tomorrow night.”

But Ahu was still restless and spoke again.

“Can Moana really be so determined to marry Paikea, Ahuahu? She seems so young to give herself to a man.”

“I will take her fishing to take her mind off him. She must be seen to be a useful member of the village.”

“If she asks some of the questions she asked me you will want to throw her overboard.” Ahu laughed as she took her clothes off. “It is cold tonight, warm me up Ahuahu.”

The next day, Ahuahu was up early and woke Moana and asked her if she wanted to go fishing. Moana jumped at the chance and was soon dashing off to the beach to find some bait while Ahuahu fetched Kamaka to join them.

They fished all morning when the tide was full. Kamaka grunted a lot voicing his confusion in having a teenage girl in the boat. But he was enchanted when she began singing asking the gods to send fish for them to catch. They caught a few large snapper on the lines and when Kamaka bade her sing again they noticed that other boats were approaching them either to get some of their luck or just to see and hear Moana sing.

Later with all the other boats in a circle around them Ahuahu said, “We have caught enough Kamaka, we should return now.” One of the other fishermen called out, “Stay longer Ahuahu, we need some of your bait.”

Ahuahu shook his head laughing and called out, “This taniwha is ours alone you must befriend one of your own.” With that they paddled to shore with Moana looking back, her eyes lowered and smiling shyly at the disappointed faces.

As Moana gathered up the fish to take back to Hoata, Kamaka’s wife, the two men cleaned up the boat and stowed it in the dunes.
“How is it you have all the most beautiful women with you Ahuahu. You have even got my precious daughter and I thank the gods that you saved her.”
“You knew that I only ever wanted Ahu, Kamaka. And there must be many men jealous you have Hoata for your wife to comfort you. Ahu loves her dearly they have been good friends since we came here.”
“I have never told anyone this Ahuahu. I loved my first wife so much, the gods punished me for that and took her away. I took Hoata to be my wife so that my children would have a mother. I am glad I did so as she gave me a son, but she is not like…” Kamaka paused and then said, “I cannot even say her name anymore. It hurts so much.”
“Perhaps, she sent Hoata to you so you would not be lonely, Kamaka.”
“I had never thought that Ahuahu. Leave me now while I sit here awhile and reflect on this matter.”
Ahuahu paused reluctant to leave him, but Kamaka said as he stared out to sea, “Go, I will see you later. I just need to be alone.”
So Ahuahu walked back to the village by himself and as he did so murmured his thanks to the gods for his wives and his children and for friends and wondered whether Kamaka was thinking about his first wife or Hoata.
Taniwha - Water Spirit

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Back from town again
As all of us commuters
Jostle for a seat

Stare down the tall man
Grab the last seat by the girl
With a fragrant scent

I’m in paradise
Our knees touch each other
She leaves at my stop

Her perfume lingers
Just a remnant of a smile
and we separate

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ahu teaches Moana about tact (No 45)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

After Ahu had heard the rest of Torangi's story about Hinewai they returned to his house where Hauku and her daughter Moana were talking. After some discussion they decided to accept the invitation to stay the night with them so that Moana could have some time with her young brothers before they returned to Black Sands.

Hauku was not told by Ahu that she knew Torangi and so their evening was spent talking a lot about Gannet Island and the past. Although Ahu nodded and remembered people from those far off days she also remembered the hurt of being the unwanted niece that her aunts had to care for. Her joy now was all with Ahuahu and her children at Black Sands.

Moana was happy that she had her mother’s approval to live with Ahu and knew too that her mother would be pleased if one day she might make a marriage with the head man’s son. Even though Ahu explained that there would be many parents who would want their daughters married to him too.

That night Ahu slept with a protecting arm around Moana and early the following morning they set off for home.

Much of the journey was spent with Ahu explaining how Moana should act discreetly and show off her skills and be of service to all in the village. If she met Torangi the chiefs son she should not look him directly in the eye and always address his father and mother with respect and show her discretion when she spoke to them and anyone else in the village. Now that she was a woman she could play with and look after younger children but with those of her own age and older she should not run with or laugh at or touch them openly except with respect.

Moana listened carefully to all this and said “Is there no other way, Ahu?”

“Yes, of course there is, you can run and laugh and play and tickle boys your own age but you will never marry the chief’s son.” was Ahu’s answer.

Moana sighed. “He seems so far away from the time I met him with Ahuahu.”

“Remember Moana, if he looks at you, do not smile at him, but lower your eyes, and if he smiles look affronted as though he had watched you washing yourself.”

“But I think I would like that, Ahu.”

“Then you better run off with that boy who has been following behind us for some time. Have you not noticed him?”

Moana turned around quickly and saw a shadow of a youth disappear into the bushes. Then she huffed with frustration “Usually I can tell if there is anyone around, why did you not tell me earlier?”

“There must be a village near here. Can you not smell the smoke of their fires? Your mind is too much on Paikea. Be patient and calm down, it is affecting your judgement.”

They walked on steadily for some time then at last Moana broke the silence.

“How can I make him want me unless he sees I want him?”

“Trust me Moana, from what Ahuahu said he already wants you. You do not have to win him over but his parents. They must see you as a worthy member of their family.”

They spent all day walking down from the hills and it was dusk by the time they reached Black Sands.

Everyone was overjoyed to have them back home again.

“We are very tired” said Ahu. “We both need to bathe after that long walk,” as everyone hugged and rubbed noses with each other.

“Perhaps we should wash in Hoata’s house where it is less crowded” said Moana.

”That is a good idea Moana,” responded Ahu.

“You have taught her a lot already, Ahu.” laughed Hatiti.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Young Love

We were wed early
and in our amateur love
kindled another

You diligent were
with the fruit of our love
supporting us all

and the spring of life
as we nurtured our baby
bound us together

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Whatever happened to Hinewai? (No 44)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

“I will tell you what happened after we left Black Sands” Torangi told Ahu as he explained how he and Hinewai had parted.

As everyone suspected Hinewai was not happy about her being banished from Black Sands. She and Torangi travelled north past fern gully and lodged for a little while at Gannet Island. Torangi did not think this was far enough to get away from the stories about Hinewai’s behaviour. So despite Hinewai’s protests they travelled even further past Rocky Outcrop to country that neither of them knew.

Hinewai despised Torangi now and blamed him for their being evicted from the village. All he had to do was to turn a blind eye and they could have still be living close to her father Kamaka and of the grave of own her mother who had died so many years ago.

“I will not abandon you, Hinewai. You are my wife. I know you have been hurt in the past but I will never hurt you.”

“You are weak and old. Why could you not give me child of my own? The whole of Black Sands was full of little children; Hatiti’s, Ahu’s and even my father has given his second wife Hoata a son. They would not have banished us if we had had a child to look after.”

Torangi tried to put his arms around her but she pushed him away. Torangi shook his head in misery. “I could have tolerated you secretly meeting lovers as I know I am an old man but I cherished you and told you that you were beautiful. But you paraded around with those young men and the entire village knew you had betrayed me.”

They walked on for days until they reached a large bay right at the tip of the mainland where the air was balmy and the breezes light and they could see many islands off shore. “No one will know us here Hinewai. We can start anew if they agree that we can stay.” Hinewai nodded in grudging agreement. So Torangi spoke to the villagers to see if they could stay a few days.

They were assigned a tiny hut that had not been used for some time but a few of the women in the village provided some basic mats and utensils for them to use and sat talking with Hinewai while Torangi went to speak with the village men to see if he could help them fish.

The first night they slept close together and Hinewai criticised him no more and even got up to bid him farewell as he joined one of the local men to go on his boat the next day, and did this for the next few days. But when he returned on the fourth day with fish as usual for their meal she had gone. He stayed a few days longer in the village hoping she would return but he knew that as she had taken everything that belonged to her he would not see her again.

Embarrassed that he would have to leave the village after so short a time he explained his situation to the head man who suggested diplomatically that Hinewai would probably try to find somewhere closer to her own village. Torangi knew this was not the case but left the village and said he would try to find her. He lied of course as Hinewai did not need him to protect her anymore.

Torangi slowly made his way back down south with great sadness. He also knew that Hinewai finally understood that she would never have children after the beating she had from her first husband when she was pregnant and she obviously decided that her life would be best spent as a kairau or loose woman which for a short while might ease her pain but would eventually lead to more sadness and eventually her demise.

He worked is way down through the country again but kept inland avoiding the coast until he eventually found the village where the kakas call. For some reason there was a shortage of men there and they welcomed him with open arms to work in the forest and to trade the cut timber to other villages and to fashion bowls and ornaments to barter. Not far from the village there was a waterfall and a pool at its base where the villagers bathed and eventually one of the empty houses was offered to him as he was a valued worker.

He never heard of Hinewai again but never forgot how beautiful she had been and his longing did not end until Hauku arrived in the village with her children and she agreed to care of him and he of her.

Ahu nodded to Torangi and said to him “Thank you for being so honest with me. May your new life be filled with love.” Then they returned to Hauku and Moana.

Kairau – prostitute, loose woman

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

To my favourite muse

Hello my little one
I see you again
but do you see me?
You write
and with what seems
like effortless ease
your elegant prose
spills out again to tease us,
to test your readers
and baffle their senses
as flower petals and dirt
are thrown in our faces
and every word
that pleases us
is accompanied
by one to negate
those very feelings.
You test us by revealing all,
but staying your hand,
keeping us wondering
and yet leaving us
helpless spectators
to something beautiful
as we agonise over every cut of the knife.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Ahu and Moana visit Hauku (No 43)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

Ahu and Moana reached the village where the kaka calls by mid morning. The whares were surrounded by tall trees and the wind whispered overhead as though calling out that strangers had come. Ahu asked the first person she saw if she knew of Hauku who had come from Gannet Island village. The woman nodded and pointed to a house almost hidden in the trees. Ahu thanked her and turned to Moana “Do you remember the village?”

Moana shook her head “It is a long time since we visited, I was much younger then”. Ahu smiled at that thought.

They approached the house and Ahu nodded to Moana to call her mother.. “Mother are you there; it is your daughter Moana,” called Moana.

There was movement inside the house and her mother came out calling her name, "Moana", over and over again. They greeted each other with affection then Moana turned and indicated Ahu by her side. “You remember Ahu who married Ahuahu don’t you?” Hauku nodded fiercely and came up to Ahu and rubbed noses with her. “Come in the two of you. I thought I had lost Moana” she said to Ahu. They knelt down on the mats on the floor and everyone wanted to talk at the same time. They paused and Ahu said, “You can see that Moana is safe. She is living with me and Ahuahu and we are happy for her to stay with us. She is safe there and can help me and Hatiti who lives with us, with our children. You do not have to worry for her.” Ahu paused and then said “Ahuahu and I are sorry to hear that Moana’s father was killed. But no doubt you feel safe now back in your home village.”

Hauku nodded, “Yes, I do feel safe here, it feels like home but this house belongs to a widower who has not been here long either, he lets me stay here with my little ones as there is no where else for me to go.”

At this Moana glanced at Ahu but said nothing. Ahu replied, “It is good you have somewhere safe to live. Have you no relatives left in the village?”

“Oh yes, I stayed with them to start with but now I can be useful here and we do not crowd out my sister’s family.”

Moana then spoke up. “Ahuahu told me to go to him and Ahu if I felt I was in danger when he visited Gannet Island many days ago. He looked for Kiri Hi’lei’s wife when he was told that he had died. Is she here also?”

“She was, but now has moved on. No one knows where she has gone.”

“If ever she does return, tell her that both Ahuahu and I grieve for Hi’ilei.” said Ahu. Then as Moana gave her the gift they had brought with them they heard a sound outside.

“That will be the widower I told you about, his name is Torangi.” said Hauku.

Torangi was a common name for men and Ahu thought nothing of it until an older man came in through the doorway, it was Torangi, Hinewai’s husband.

All at once time stood still for Ahu, she remembered that terrible day when Hinewai was caught making love to a local boy and Torangi had discovered them and beaten the boy up. How Torangi and Hinewai were considered unfit to live in the village and were expelled and now she was standing face to face with him.

The women rose together in respect for the man of the house, but Ahu said no word to indicate that she knew him. He greeted Hauku affectionately and nodded to Moana and Ahu. He recognised her but did not say a word either.

Hauku explained why Ahu and Moana were there and then Ahu respectfully spoke to Torangi. “May I speak with you while Hauku and Moana talk together alone before we return to Black Sands? Perhaps you can tell me about the village here?”

“Yes, let us walk in the forest we may even see the noisy kakas.” He replied with a smile. Moana and her mother thought that Ahu was just being polite and told them not to be too long and then they would eat together.

“Thank you Ahu for not recognising me and asking questions in front of them. I will tell Hauku everything one day but now I am so contented to have a woman in the house that is closer to my age who wants to stay home and look after me.”

Smiling Ahu said “Torangi; it is so dark here in the shade of these trees I am not sure who it is I am talking to. Please tell Hauku soon about your past; do not start your new life with secrets. I assume that Hinewai has run away from you?”

Torangi, nodded. “I do not think anyone will tame her. I grieve for her as she was so young and beautiful but she could never be truly mine. I am ashamed I could not make her happy after her first husband had beaten her.”

“Apart from telling Ahuahu I will be silent of your whereabouts and Moana knows nothing of you and your sad history with Hinewai. Even now I am sure she is telling her mother how happy she is because she has fallen in love for the first time.”

Whares - villages houses

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Io says goodbye to her little Robin (No 12)

After being hijacked by the Greek goddess Io on the way home from Britain to Australia I found myself being charmed by her to such an extent I was now travelling the Pacific with her on a strange quest to find the legendary Pacific creator god Io, her namesake.
Missed an episode? Just click on Io in the Labels menu for the tale so far.

It was only when I found that Io was a consummate tourist did I start having suspicions about her real motive for this quest on behalf of the old Greek god hierarchy. She was revelling in the trip, the shops and the food and the wine and of course discovering new places that perhaps even she had never dreamed of. We had criss-crossed our way across the South Pacific and were enjoying a break from my fruitless and her non existent research for the Pacific god Io to spend a few days on a Fijian resort island a short sea plane flight from Lautoka. Io had pointed to the map and said “Let’s try a little island miles from anywhere.” I was going to say most Pacific islands are miles from anywhere but thought the better of it so we booked in for few days.
In utmost luxury and total decadence I suddenly twigged what this was all about. Those Greek gods were not interested in change, they merely kept up the pretence that everything was as it had always been. No wonder that Io and the Oracle had been happy to hang around for over a hundred years trying to find a suitable human to meet Zeus’s command to them to find a mortal that could go on a quest to search for something that was known already (or easily researched). It was a distraction from the endless boredom of being forgotten by the world of today. They knew that they were totally superfluous and they certainly didn’t care a hoot about a Pacific Io. It was only when she felt that sense of awe in Hawaii that she stopped pretending so she fled away from the evidence and decided to just do the touristy thing while I bumbled along in my trivial manner with my books, photos and pages of notes!
I was now totally torn between keeping my beautiful Io for selfish pleasure to that of confronting her with my suspicions. I had fallen for the trap by being bewitched by her, and had set out on my voyage of the Argo or something like it but without the same hardships.
On the night before we were due to fly back to Nadi in Fiji to then travel on to Auckland in New Zealand, we had dinner together. She knew straight away that I was going to talk seriously to her. She pouted and said. “When did you realise?”
“Probably before we set off from Australia but definitely as we left Hawaii” I responded.
“How did you keep it from me?”
I then told her how I kept her image in my mind at all time. How I breathed in the scent of her body and ran my fingers though her hair. I would nibble her ears and wrap my fingers round her calves or lay my head between her breasts whether I was with her or away from so if she read my thought she thought I could not take my mind off her which blanked out any suspicions that she may have had.
“Why exactly did you come here?” I asked.
“It was a thank you present from Zeus for all I had done over the years.”
“That was a bit late wasn’t it?”
She shook her head. “Time has no real meaning for the gods. Perhaps one day there will be another saga written; one about my travels with you which will be turned into an exciting tale but sadly it doesn’t have a happy ending. Why did you question everything? Why did you take a deviant line? We could have roamed the Pacific for years. Just why did you have to spoil it?”
Io looked as though she was going to cry as she went on. “I really loved you Robin, you were my best and gentlest lover of all and you know that now don’t you?” She paused here then whispered, “Well you really were the first but I couldn’t tell you that could I?”
“Was I? I could never remember; you always kept the best bits from me until Tonga.” I smiled sadly at her.
She reached out and put her fingers to my lips then touched me tenderly on the face and as she did so I felt an excruciating pain in my chest just as though I had been kicked by a bull, (OK a heifer perhaps). I knew my eyes were wide open but I couldn’t focus or breathe. I slumped to the floor and Io leaned over me and put her lips to mine for the last time and breathed into me or was she taking part of me with her? No, she whispered these words “apochairetismos kokkinolaimis mou".
The resort staff came running up and tried to assist while Io slumped on the floor beside me weeping uncontrollably. I think she held my hand but I wasn’t sure as I was not there anymore I was already a miniscule dot of a star in the constellation of Taurus quite close to that of Io where she was happy for me to be.
apochairetismos kokkinolaimis mou – farewell my robin

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Moana’s confession (No 42)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

Both Ahu and Hatiti spoke to Ahuahu about Moana whilst she was playing with Tangaroa and the other children from the village in front of the houses. As they watched she seemed so young to for them to be talking about her fondness for the chief’s son Paikea and how she should be looked after now that she lived with them.

Ahuahu listened to the women talk and when they looked to him he was playing a hand game with Hekehoru who was on his lap. The women too had their babies with them, Hatiti was holding Aotea Ahu’s son who she had breast fed and Ahu was playing with Horowai Hatiti’s little girl. Ahu said, “Did you not want to discuss this?”

He lifted his face to theirs and smiled. “What you have learned I had already worked out. Paikea and Moana could not stop looking at each other when we returned the other day. The chief wanted to have her with him …to help his wives I expect, until I told him they were already looking at each other. As you say she will have to work very hard to catch his eye again with his father looking on and his mother and aunts checking her suitability. However despite what she says about not wanting to go to the village where the Kakas call. I think one of us should take her there to see her mother.”

Both women then shook their heads. “She does not want to be sent back there, Ahuahu.” protested Hatiti.

“She will not be sent back, Hatiti. She will visit her mother to assure her she is safe with us and that she has a home and work to do here. It will also help to show that she is becoming a responsible woman as you will persist in matchmaking.”

The two women agreed that he was right. They then started to discuss who should accompany her. In the end Ahu said it would be best that she went.

“Hatiti has never been there and is still feeding Aotea and I can see Ahuahu does not want to as Moana’s mother may not like the way that would look. We will tell Moana tonight and prepare to be at least two nights away.”

Hatiti then said “Look at the way Moana and Tangaroa play together they look so happy. Why couldn’t she stay young a little while longer?”

“Are you thinking of Hinewai, Hatiti?” asked Ahu.

Hatiti nodded sadly “Moana reminds me of her before she became a woman.”

Later that evening they told Moana of their decision. She protested at first but in the end she could see that it was a sensible thing for her to do.

“I will try to remember the way to get there.” said Ahu. “I only ever went there once when I was child it will be a bit of a search for us.”

“It is alright Ahu, I remember.” said Moana quietly.

“Oh Moana not another little lie, how many more are there?” asked Hatiti.

With tears in her eyes Moana said in a very small voice, “I think that is the last one.”

Ahu and Moana were gone early the next day. As it was still winter they had had cloaks on and carried baskets with food and knives, some dry firewood and moss for the journey and a present for Moana’s mother.

It was cold and windy but was not raining so they set a brisk pace heading west into the high country. They had long passed the Ngerengrere settlement and climbed higher still surrounded by an endless vista of ferns when Ahu said that they should stop for a meal as it was past midday even though they could not see the sun.

“Do you remember where we are Moana?”

“Yes, I think we may get there by nightfall but we may have to sleep out if it gets dark quickly.”

“Yes, we should stop well before dark as it is so cloudy in order to make camp and try to light a fire Moana.” replied Ahu.

They had just reached the edge of a tall forest when Ahu decided that they travelled far enough. They walked into the forest and made an encampment under a large tree clearing the ground and when Ahu had sent Moana off to find water she set about using the sticks and the string to start a fire. She extracted the dry moss from a package and placed it in a wooden dish. She then set up her fire making equipment and started to twirl the dry sticks in the little depression in the dish. Moana returned a little later with some water in some little bowls just as Ahu was teasing the dried moss into the centre to try to catch a spark. It took some time but eventually the sparks caught the moss and the dry leaves that Moana carefully placed in the bowl. Gradually the flames were fed with twigs and the fire was tipped onto the place prepared on the ground and it took hold.

After they had eaten their food and drunk the water from the stream Ahu decided they should sleep straight away with one cloak on the ground and one to cover them.

“We should be safe, Moana. So come under the cloak with me and we will keep warm.”

She wrapped her arms around Moana’s little body and said “Do you want to talk?”

Moana nestled into Ahu’s body and felt her warmth. “Ahu, tell me about men.”


“Yes, tell me what it is like to be with a man. I want to, but confess I do not know what to expect. I look at Paikea and I want him to touch me but do not know what will happen if he ever does.”

“Don’t hurry your life away, Moana. You are at an age now that you have started to feel differently, it is exciting and there will be laughter but there will be tears also. If I tell you now what I like, when you talk to Hatiti she may tell you something different. Both Hatiti and I love Ahuahu because he is a gentle man who treats us with care and consideration but we do not discuss details with the other. He is strong too but does not ever hurt us and is a good father. Do you want your husband to be gentle and to make you feel safe? “

“Yes, Ahu, and I want Ahuahu to be like a father to me now that mine has been killed in the fighting.”

“Just remember that the boys you meet may be just as worried as you when you are first alone together but then there are others that will not care. But do not expect him to behave as Ahuahu may do with me. You will know what makes you happy when it happens, when it does tell him so. Now try to sleep.”

"But I only want Paikea, Ahu."