Saturday, 23 June 2012

Moana's Discovery (No 52)

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.)

One day Moana approached Ahu and Hatiti who were discussing babies and what they would call theirs when they were born. Moana listened to them quietly for a little while and when there was a lull in the talk she blurted out “Why do neither you nor Hatiti have a moko on your chin when so many other wives do?”

Ahu looked at Moana and sensing there was more to it than a simple question responded “Do you ask because you would like one yourself and feel that a future wife of a chief’s son should have one?”

Moana just nodded in reply.

“About a  year after I had Tangaroa I thought that I might have one done and both Hoata and I discussed it then,” Ahu said, “but when I found out that Hoata was to have one done because Kamaka, wanted her to look more like his first wife, Hatiti’s mother, it did not seem so important. I discussed it with Ahuahu and he said that in the islands where he came from not many women had a moko on their chin so that I could decide for myself. However he did say he would rather my lips were not coloured. What do you think Hatiti?”

“When Horowai was born,” Hatiti began, “I talked with Kaihutu my first husband about having a moko but as he died so soon afterwards it did not seem appropriate anymore. Now that I live with Ahu and Ahuahu I know the moko is not an important symbol for this family. She then said shyly “My lips are full enough without having a dye pricked into them to make them look fuller. Perhaps Ahu and I will discuss this again with Ahuahu, but have you not noticed his face does not have a tattoo either but that his legs do.”

Then Ahu nodded then asked “Does Paikea want you to have a moko, Moana?”

Moana agreed, “His mother and his aunts have them so he thought that I should have one too.”

“Moana, what is it that you think of when you see me or Ahuahu? What is special about Hatiti or even your mother Hauku?”

Moana glanced back at Ahu and shook her head. “I do not know Ahu.”

“Alright then” continued Ahu, “What is special about Ahuahu?”

Moana shook her head again “I still do not know, Ahu.”

“We are all different. We behave differently, we don’t do the same things as others, we love more intensely, we are strong and when we are together we are very strong indeed. Ahuahu came from over the ocean he was not born in Aotearoa but came here as a child.”

“Did you know Ahuahu saved many people from the village here when the Volcano erupted; he made a decision to take us to higher ground so we were not affected by the tidal wave that destroyed the village. Sadly Hatiti had returned here with her father too soon and was nearly killed but Ahuahu saved her when we all thought she had died and were already mourning for her. She loved Ahuahu from that day on and when she did marry but lost her husband shortly after Horowai was born I brought her back to live with us. I chose Hatiti for Ahuahu as it was better that we should all love each other. Ahuahu saved her life and deep inside knew that meant he was responsible for her. If you want to be a strong woman you must make decisions for yourself. You showed that strength by coming to Black Sands but now that you are here you must stay strong and make up your own mind, and not agree to what others say you should do, but decide for yourself.”

“Why is my mother Hauku different, Ahu?”

“She saved her family when the fighting occurred at Gannet Island and your father was killed. She did not stay but fled to her own Village where the Kakas call and chose to help Torangi a widower there who now looks after her. You had told her that you would search for Ahuahu and she trusted you to do that. She was strong and thought that you were too. Who knows what would have happened to you both had she not been strong.”

Moana nodded “You mean that my love for Paikea must make me stronger not weaker.”

“Yes, that is right Moana. You must discover that you are no less of a woman when you marry. You need to be strong, very strong. Why do you think that you are allowed to see Paikea? It is because his father thinks you are strong and worthy, do not let him down.”

With that Moana smiled and said, “Yes, I will make up my own mind and be strong, this is a wonderful discovery. I think I will go down to the beach  to see if Ahuahu has returned.”

When Ahu and Hatiti were alone with the little ones Hatiti said “you have not mentioned Moana’s mother Hauku’s new husband before or said that his name was Torangi. Is that Hinewai’s husband?”

“Hinewai left him Hatiti, I did not want to hurt you by telling you that they are not together anymore. I told Ahuahu but he said that Kamaka your father already had told him that this would happen. I am sorry his name slipped out.”

Hatiti then said “When you said we were all strong I did not put myself with you and Ahuahu. But you are right Ahu I am strong and I love fiercely, especially you and Ahuahu. Now that I know that Hinewai has left him, I feel it is better for them both. Would you have told me eventually?”

“Yes, once Kamaka mentioned Hinewai again, Ahuahu was going to tell him that he had heard Torangi was by himself now. If you like, talk to Ahuahu so he knows we have discussed it.”

“No, Ahu we can talk about it openly, you and Ahuahu are part of me now and I am so content. I just hope that Hinewai is safe but I am still frightened for her.”

“You are strong Hatiti, you made it clear you loved Ahuahu, you were brave enough to tell me so all those years ago. And when the gods took your husband I knew then that you belonged with us and we would not argue.”

Hatiti then reached out and gently traced her fingers on Ahu’s hand and they spoke no more.

Moko - Tattoo


  1. I am fascinated by your story and am reading it with great enjoyment

  2. Oh, for those days when youngsters listened to and took advice from their elders. This element of your excellent series is particularly good.

  3. I missed a few weeks but I'm so pleased to this fascinating story is still unfolding.

  4. Old Grizz stopped in for the next chapter...I plan on reading to my grandchildren when I cave up this winter...

  5. This story grows more beautiful as it continues on. I love the important lesson you've put forth in this episode and that the young girl has decided to make up her own mind about things. This world needs strong, independent thinkers not mindless sheep. Sorry to run on about it, but this struck a chord with me!

  6. A balancing love: making one stronger not weaker, this makes me happy. I wish that all brides-to-be were able to have a moment of awareness such as this one.

    I may have said it before, but your writing allows such a strong presence from the characters.

  7. It's so fascinating. I like how you naturally slip in these factual details.

    Many writers (including me) struggle with this.

  8. Robin, continuing to follow the Ahu saga and hoping you publish it as a novel. If you do, I'm a cheap copy editor, ha ha ha!

    This fit the prompt well, the moments of realization in here. From past discussions, I realize these women in the story are somewhat stronger, with more authority than the actual indigenous women, and yet, you strike that balance every time, making it not only believable, but affirming of women everywhere.

    That's but one of the reasons I love your writing! Peace, Amy

  9. I forgot until now that we have covered many years in their lives. It feels like I haven't been reading it very long, though it's been about a year now.

  10. Wisdom of those who have, trying to tell those who will. It's a pitty there are not more wise ones, truly wise - not just smart, to tell it. But even sadder the number of those who will with no regard for wisdom - they are too smart for it.

    Thank you.