Saturday, 16 June 2012

Kamaka's first wife (No 51)

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.)

It was a hot day and Hatiti and Ahu were in their house wondering how they could keep cool. Moana had been permitted to visit Paikea and the little ones were happy to play inside with bowls of water and their pretend boats. The two women were lying on mats and fanning themselves.

Ahuahu was fishing as usual with his oldest boy Tangaroa and Kamaka with his son who was also called Paikea but was the same age as Tangaroa.

“Hatiti, you never talk about your mother, do you not remember her?”

“Yes I remember her well, Ahu. She was beautiful but I do not know whether Hinewai or I looked like her, we can never see ourselves in our parents can we?”

“How old were you when she died?”

“I was both too old and too young,” Hatiti replied sadly. “Perhaps I was 12 or thirteen years old and Hinewai a year or so younger. I was not yet a woman but I had to become one to look after everyone as she lay dying. She coughed a lot and spat out blood and could not breathe and we were all hurt and damaged by her death.”

Ahu nodded, understanding the pain of losing a mother.

“Kamaka my father couldn’t understand why she should leave him like that. He really loved her and it was very difficult for us all when she died. He could not look at us at first as we reminded him so much of her. We were always short of food and we had to beg from our neighbours as he could not or would not go fishing again.”

Ahu was by this time sitting half up leaning on her elbow and stroking Hatiti’s body and patting her gently as they talked.

“Slowly we sorted ourselves out and he did return to fishing. I seemed to grow up fast as I was then the housekeeper trying to recall all that my mother had taught me but was too silly to remember. But slowly it came back to me and we coped.  Well that is not true; Hinewai did not cope well at all and she was angry all the time at everyone. She was always trying to find someone to blame for the death of her mother. Her behaviour began to be erratic from that time on. I loved her but she never seemed to get over the loss and perhaps that is why…” Hatiti trailed off hoping that Ahu would understand what she was trying to say, but finished off with. ”She is just so different from me.”

Ahu nodded then asked “When did Hoata appear?”

“My father found her gathering shells from the beach as he was working on his canoe. They must have started talking and before long she was living with us.”

“Did you find that difficult?”

Hatiti laughed for the first time since she had been talking. “No, not at all, for a few years I could go back to becoming a teenager again and growing up properly while Hoata took control.”

“What was your mother’s name? I ask because no-one ever mentions her.”

“Hinapouri” At this Hatiti began to cry. Ahu lay close to Hatiti and wrapped her in her arms.

“And when the moon does not shine you remember her then?” Ahu stated.

Hatiti nodded then said “But when the moon returns I look up and tell myself she has not forgotten me. When I talk to you Ahu I feel as though we are almost one person. I thank you so much for sharing Ahuahu with me.”

“But I love you too Hatiti, I would have it no other way.”

“Oh, Ahu, I think my baby moved.”

Ahu reached out and laid her hand Hatiti’s tummy and smiled. “Yes there is a movement. Now touch me to see if mine wants to say something too.” And they both laughed forgetting their tears.

Hinapouri – Girl’s name meaning dark night of the moon


  1. took some time to read the prev episodes .... it was worth ...loved the way you write !

  2. I like the way that, in each new episode, you add a little to your characters histories, and round out their personalities more and more. This is a dammed good read that should be in book form. Keep it up.

  3. both too old and too young..I love that line..shows great understanding..perhaps with each generation the story improves..even if only a little..jae

  4. the beat goes on Mr. Egg..getting to be by one of my favorite Sunday stories.

  5. Agrees with everyone's comments. What else is there to add? Such a beautiful story. :)

  6. How lovely! It can be very difficult to write from another gender perspective but you did it well.

  7. Lovely backstory - it explains a lot about the two sisters.

  8. Old Egg like old times—so nice to be back in the nest—listening, yes listening, to another of your well-told tales!

  9. Wow, this one is full of magic...a bright moon and hope, a dark night and a young woman's memories. How tragic to lose your mother when you are both 'too young' and 'too old', such a primitive age for a girl.

    These excerpts are from the heart(for an open heart). They are honest and full of the sadness in life, yet this one is especially hopeful. As babies dance and breathe in the wombs of women who share a common relation of sacrifice in life. Such a deserving friendship.

  10. Everyone, including myself is entranced with this story. It has such a gentle, magic feel to it, also so filled with love and caring.

  11. They are so lucky to have one another. This is a nice glimpse into Hatiti's past.

  12. maybe no one mentions her mom because every time they mention her she cries.

    but in some cultures, you just don't talk about dead people. which is kind of sad, not for the dead, but for the living because it's like incising a big part of your memory.

    defining mama one

  13. Isn't it always interesting how our memories live with us? Your writing to me is like the ripples from a pebble tossed into the pond. Thank you.