Moana reveals the whereabouts of a black rock (No 48)
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 had primed Moana on how she should act when they were visiting the chief and his family assuming it was a matter that affected the village. When they arrived the men greeted each other first and the women did likewise, and then the men and the women. Moana was regarded equally and with the entire nose rubbing she looked forward to greeting Paikea the most. As instructed she lowered her eyes but when they rubbed noses, Paikea whispered “I wanted to see you again.” Moana blushed but said nothing and sat with the women.
Ahu and the chief’s wives noted her behaviour and nodded with approval.
“We will eat then talk” said the chief. During the meal there was much discussion of fishing and the vegetable gardens and the chief said “I hear you are catching more than you expected with the bait you are using Ahu.” referring to Moana singing on their boat.
“Yes we catch the fish but too much small fry and rubbish as well that we don’t need.”
The chief roared with laughter. Then his face then turned serious. “When we have finished the meal I need to talk to you about Gannet Island village as we have had a message from village council at Rocky Outcrop that they want to discuss the boundaries between our lands.”
“It is many years since Ahu and I were at Gannet Island. I do not think we had an agreed boundary between Black Sands and Gannet Island. We were never short of food there.”
At this the chief shook his head, “No, I do not need to question only you but Moana; she may know more. Young Paikea said she claimed to have big ears. I want her to talk to us with Ahu in the room so she can feel relaxed.”
And so it was that the Chief, Ahuahu, Ahu and Moana sat together. Paikea was also in the room and sat just behind his father. They first discussed how the men from Rocky outcrop had taken over the Gannet Island village. Moana said not a word when she heard that was indeed what had happened but just looked sadly at Ahu.
“What do you think they will do Ahuahu?” asked the chief.
“They have wanted to have the wealth of the fishing grounds around Gannet Island for years, now they have them, and there is no threat from the men in the old village who have now either been killed or have fled. They will be content for a while. But they have an insatiable hunger for power. They achieve this through threats and bullying. We must show them that there is some sign of our ownership of the land to north as far as or further than the bays where we caught the whale otherwise they will soon be sitting on our black sand beaches.”
“I hoped you would not be so blunt, Ahuahu.” Then turning to Ahu; “How far south did the women’s business take you when you lived there?”
“It was not far from the Village certainly no further than the hill where there is an old stone pit. But I do not remember there ever having a dispute with the Black Sands village.” Ahu replied “There was never any cause for that.”
They then looked at Moana.
“Moana, what can you tell us about the land between the two villages?”
“My mother and father never considered that there was a fixed boundary. However I know there is a black rock high on the hill above the bay where the whale was caught. I rested there for two nights after I had escaped from Gannet Island. There are no other stones like it around. It is off the beaten track. It may be significant.”
The chief smiled, “Yes I heard that you were watching us. If it is a stone that has travelled it could be a marker that this village would have placed there to show the extent of our land. Who else but the old people of Black Sands would have placed it there many years ago?”
Paikea now spoke “We should fight more often to better know our property.”
The chief shook his head sadly, “We are trying to avoid fighting Paikea. Why do the young think that fighting is honourable when so much sadness comes out of it? We fought the earthquake, we are punished by the winds and we battle the sea daily, then there is the pakeha. Surely that is enough. We fight only when have to.”
Ahuahu then spoke again. “Those bays under that hilltop where the whale was caught are more easily reached from our village. This is proof enough that they belonged to our village.” The Chief grunted in agreement.
“Moana” said the chief “I need you to show one of my men where this stone is. He will take a holy man with you to reaffirm our claim to that boundary. We will have evidence then for the council of chiefs should there be a dispute. Do you think you can find it?” Moana nodded in reply.
“Father, may I go too?” asked Paikea.
“No, boy you might kill someone!” the chief said laughing then seeing Paikea’s hurt face added. “Go take a walk with Ahu and Moana while I discuss another matter with Ahuahu.
The two men were left alone. Ahuahu looked at the chief in anticipation.
“Paikea and Moana may now speak to each other but they must be accompanied. I have had good reports about her and I like her she will be a valuable asset to our family. They are yet still too young though,” Then he added with a grin, “Especially Paikea.”