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.”