Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Pakeha want to settle (No. 60)

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.)

Ahuahu reported as much of his conversation with Hinewai to the village council as he thought appropriate and informed them of the pakeha visiting settlements around them and trading their goods for supplies. He also told of some villages that had received muskets in exchange for being able to camp on their land near safe anchorage for their boats and to build their own huts and grow their own vegetables.

“We may not trust the men from Rocky Outcrop but they are the only ones that we can talk to, that are strong enough to protect us.” He said. At this there was great murmuring of dissatisfaction from some of the members of the council.”

“If they do not bother us why should we bother them,” said Rapata an older member of the council.

Ahuahu shook his head in unbelief. “Who are you talking of, the men from Rocky outcrop or the pakeha? The men from Rocky outcrop do not concern themselves with us because we have nothing they want. We make them welcome when they come and offer them the use of the hot springs, but they do not come to see us because we are no threat to them. If you are talking of the pakeha that is another problem; they already are trading with our northern neighbours, soon they may trade with Big River to the south and beyond if they do not do so already. The problem is, what are they are trading and what is being giving them in return? When villages have muskets they will become powerful and settle old scores with their neighbours because they will be stronger. When the pakeha set up camp they will steal or trade away our possessions, our women, our children perhaps. They will fish in our waters; they will cut down our trees and may even defecate outside your whare Rapata. Do you want that? They will change our way of life for a few plants and pigs and muskets. Our life will not be better for them coming but poorer.”

At this the head man held up his hand. “Enough, Ahuahu, enough! Life is changing all the time but we need to talk to the men from Rocky Outcrop. Will you go Rapata? “

Rapata shook his head, “I speak with my hands not with my head. Do not send me,” and he turned his face aside.

“Ahuahu, it must be you again. Will you go?”

“Yes, I will go, but I go with empty hands. Will they talk to me? All I can do is ask for their protection. Already I know their response…” The rest of the village council looked at him not understanding what he meant.

“They will want us to support them if they have to combat the pakeha or their neighbours. Is that what you want?”

The Head man nodded his head sadly, “This is the outcome that will surely be the case. We had better prepare our weapons.”

“Will you take Paikea, Ahuahu?” 

“Not this time, let him enjoy Moana, it’s time they gave you a grandchild. I will take Tangaroa. No man would take his son if he is in enmity with his host.”

“Thank the gods that I have you sitting with me, Ahuahu.” He whispered, “Paikea needs Moana’s head on his shoulders, she also speaks this way.”

“For a woman she sees much” agreed Ahuahu.

That night after all the children were asleep even Tangaroa who was so excited to know that he would accompany his father to Rocky Outcrop the next day, Ahuahu then spoke to his wives. “Tonight I will hold on to you both. I think that in going to Rocky Outcrop tomorrow things will change forever.”

Hatiti glanced at Ahu and looked at her questioning her with her eyes. Ahu in turn merely smiled and said to him “You want to feel us both holding you because you want to remember us together whatever happens after you meet the men from Rocky Outcrop and you want to favour neither one of us tonight.”

“Happiness is a fleeting gift.” He said nodding. “Tangaroa and I are in no danger and will return of course but I know not what this will mean to our village. This is a time that may mean much change to our lives, many will see it as a time of plenty but  I can see it will be a time of drought and much sadness. Holding you both tonight will always remind me how happy I have been. Not being in enmity with Rocky Outcrop as we are now is much different from having a pact to assist each other in war.”

Pakeha - White men, Foreigners


  1. Robin, still loving the Ahu stories and how you weave them into various prompts. There is danger on the horizon, not just from neighboring villages, but from Mother Earth, right? Peace, Amy

  2. You are developing the tensions and possible troubles ahead so very well. This episode clearly emphasises the love and wisdom inherent in Ahuahu's character. I am enthralled with this novel.

  3. Perhaps like Amy and Altonian as i read I tried to remember the opening perhaps it was simpler..protected from the outside that feeling of being safely gathered in you end with..maybe that's all that's worth hanging into in any world..jae

  4. I haven't visited for a while, but now I'm hooked. I'll be back for the next installment.

  5. New ways and weapons threaten to destroy the tranquility they have known and treasured. We always tend to develop the: 'They won't bother me, if I don't bother them' mentality, but sadly it almost never works out that way. I can't wait to see what happens next!

  6. The threat of the pakehea seems to loom over this chapter. The part with Ahuahu and his wives is sweet, but they seem to be on the brink of great danger. I'll keep reading- I'm eager for the next chapter!

  7. I read ALL the Ahanu stories! Such a pleasure!


  8. Ahuahu, too, tries in his own way to hold onto what is - what will become the "was" - in his own way. I think I worry most for him. Always so capable and always so depended upon.

    Thank you.

  9. i love the richness of your tale ~ your writing draws the reader in to care about your characters immediately! wonderful!

  10. "Holding you both tonight will always remind me of how happy I have been."

    Beautiful, powerful, foreboding! One can feel the rising tension in your story, making us anxious for chapters yet to come.

  11. Always trouble when the white man arrives. Start off meaning well but, greed for more, in the end spoils it all as it always has. I wondered when they would make another appearance.
    I like the way he says MUS KET too :)

  12. I see the storm clouds building around them. Well, I already knew the joy they've been enjoying wouldn't last forever. I sure hope they all make it, though.

  13. I'm heartbroken, knowing that this is not only happening in your story. Far too many pieces of history have played out this way and I'm only relieved for this village, as they harbor shear courage and strength in Ahuahu. You are taking us to the climax slowly, allowing us to feel the anxiety and the early ripple in the water.