Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tangaroa and Horowai (No 66)

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.)

“Do you not like me Tangaroa?” said Horowai as she helped the strong young man unload his boat and placed the catch of fish in her basket to take home.

“Of course I like you, you are my sister.”

Horowai squealed with laughter. “You know you are not my brother. That is why I have chosen you to be my husband.”

Tangaroa looked doubtful. It was true that Horowai was not his father’s child but was the daughter of Hatiti and her first husband Kaihutu who had died and who none of the children remembered not even him. Hatiti was Ahuahu’s second wife so Horowai was his step sister.

“Why would I want a wife that knows me so well?” he retorted “I should have a wife that I pick out. In any case you are younger than me. You should not be looking at boys yet, particularly not to marry.”

“But I am now old enough to be married now, Tangaroa. You know me and have seen me. It is better you marry me who knows what you like to eat and who likes to have his hair combed by a sister who isn’t really a sister and who lets me pluck those hairs from your chin just a wife does.”

“You don’t tell the others that you do that, do you?”

Again her voice tinkled with laughter, “I am the only girl you really like in this village, admit it and I have no secrets from you do I?”

“But I may have secrets from you, Horowai. What about that girl from Big River that came all those months ago with her parents, how do you know I didn’t tickle her?”

Horowai suddenly looked sad. “Please say that you didn’t Tangaroa.” She paused, thought about it and continued “And even if you did, we tickle each other all the time so that means nothing.”

Tangaroa finished stowing his boat and came to join her as she was waiting with the basket. When he came up to her he looked at her in the face. “Yes you are beautiful Horowai” he then bent down and rubbed noses with her while she placed a hand on his chest.

“Everyone will be cross if we are that close” he muttered uncertainly.

“Hatiti my mother won’t” she declared.

“My father Ahuahu will want me to marry a headman’s daughter.”

Horowai thought a for a second or two and then said creatively, “Well perhaps you will.” 

Tangaroa looked at her “What have you heard, Horowai?”

“You will have to be much closer to me, for me to tell.”

“I thought you kept no secrets from me.”

“Do you promise not to tell anybody?”

“No, I cannot do that. I do not keep secrets from Ahu and Ahuahu, well not anybody really.”

“Sometimes it is better not to tell someone too much if it hurts them.” she replied, “like telling me you fondled the girl from Big River.”

“I didn’t fondle her, I said I tickled her. But really I didn’t even do that. It is more fun to touch you because I love it when you laugh and you wriggle in my arms; you are always so much fun to be with. I shouldn’t say this but I am so happy when we are together and I feel you next to me. Now tell me what have you heard?”

Horowai nodded in agreement that she loved him touching her then looked around her in case someone was listening to them. “Our head man is not well” she whispered, “They say he will not be head man for long.”

Tangaroa looked at her puzzled “But why should I marry the new head man’s daughter.”

Horowai’s eyes twinkled with amusement, “You spend too much time fishing and not enough time with your ear to the ground or holding me tight.” She squeezed his hand with hers. “Look we are nearly home, remember I have said nothing.”

“You might be beautiful Horowai, but you are very frustrating.”

“Good, that is how you should be with me; frustrated because you really love me so much.” Tangaroa was about to protest that he didn’t love her, but in his heart he knew that he did, he loved being with her. When he touched her she would look directly at him encouraging him without saying a word. Then they heard Ahu called out to them. “I wondered when you two would be back. Your father has something to tell us all.”

It was a not until after they had had their evening meal that Ahuahu said they should all sit down to hear what he had to say.

“Our head man is not well, he is dying and the village council have met. He has named his successor and the council have agreed with his choice. They have appointed me the new head man of Black Sands. This is a great honour for our family. We are well respected and I thank you all for making this possible, I am so proud of you. Ahu and Hatiti have been the ones that have built this family up and loved us unreservedly; we have achieved much over the years and you all have done us great honour.”

Tangaroa turned to Horowai who sat by his side and he could see her shy smile on him. He nodded his head and reached out to hold her hand and smiled back at her in understanding linking and unlinking his fingers with hers.

Ahu bent her head over and whispered to Hatiti, “She loves him so much; they still think it is a secret.”

The Guard Dog

The dog shook his head
The flies irritated him
He snapped and growled

His tether just held
He chewed through the rope
And so was soon free

Head straight for the trough
So cool in the water now
Head back to guard house

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Love at first sight

It’s love at first sight
So please give me chance
Your eyes entice me

Never in my dreams
Did I expect that sweet smile
My heart burst with joy

I savor your kisses
You nod and our fingers link
We become as one

As zephyr winds blow
Flowers blossom in my heart
You are my true love

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Flight from Big River (No. 65)

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.)

The Village of Big River had been destroyed by fire and no survivors had yet been seen. The pakeha seemed determined to establish a settlement at Big River where there was safe anchorage for their ships.

“What do you think really happened, Ahuahu?”

“I think that when we spoke to the chief there they had already argued with the pakeha and killed some of the newcomers. We turned up and were welcomed by the chief but the other men were edgy and we were sent on our way crossing the river further upstream so as not to see the burnt out encampment which we could smell. When the pakehas main boat returned after checking the coastline they probably found their camp destroyed their men dead and took revenge on the village.”

“Why, Ahuahu?”

“It is possible the pakeha wanted women after a long sea journey and they argued about that. I was told by Hinewai that the pakeha have a strong drink that makes them lose reason. They may have threatened the men from Big River. When we saw no women in the village working caring for their children I sensed they were in trouble. They had been hidden away.”

“This is not good, should we tell Rocky outcrop what has happened?”

“That is a difficult question to answer. It is one thing to have an agreement with them to help us if Big River is aggressive toward us but we have no such agreement if the pakeha slowly ease their way into our land. They are masters in the use of their weapons; this is bigger than a pact between villages. Our whole way of life may be threatened. We are on our own.”

“I have not spoken yet to Moana, what did she say to you?”

“Moana is like a daughter to me. She is wise but she is also with child, Perhaps she should be allowed to be a mother without being embroiled in village politics all the time. She will always give an opinion but when you ask her for it Paikea is humbled. He is keen to learn but asking her to speak may make him become rash in his actions to impress you.”

The old chief grunted at this. “You are very open Ahuahu but worse still you are right. You didn’t let him see the burnt out village did you? I could tell from his account that you kept them out of danger. Go home now to your wives. We will speak again tomorrow.”

The next morning Ahuahu and Tangaroa were down at the beach working on their canoes when they saw some people walking along the beach toward them. They were survivors from the Big River village who had hidden in the forest all night and had made their way along the coast to reach Black Sands.

Ahuahu stopped work and greeted them and told Tangaroa to take them to the village to eat and rest and advise the chief while he packed up what he was doing and he would join them later. 

There was a man, his wife and a teenage daughter and another mother with two small children. They all looked very tired and dirty and they walked slowly with exhaustion. Tangaroa picked up one little toddler and carried him and they made their way back to the village. As they walked along, occasionally the teenage girl would look up and glance at Tangaroa and now and then would brush against him. If Tangaroa noticed he did not say but merely spoke to the man and told them they could rest at the village to decide what to do next. Just as they arrived Ahuahu caught up with them and took the man to the chief’s whare and suggested Tangaroa take the women and children home to Ahu but the chief seeing them arrive insisted they enter his home to rest.

The families were given food and drink and the chief then asked the man whose name was Marama to speak with him and Ahuahu, whilst the women and the children stayed with the chief’s wives. Ahuahu told Tangaroa to speak with the teenage daughter whose name was Haeata indicating he should try to get her to talk too.

After they had introduced themselves the girl said “If you are god of the sea why did you let the pakeha come to Aotearoa?” Tangaroa shook his head smiling, “I was told I was named Tangaroa to appease him not to be him!”

She smiled also and then said “Are you not frightened that the pakeha will come here to destroy this village too?”

“We are not important here; we do not have a big river or a safe place for large boats. Our canoes are pulled up into the dunes each night as you saw us just now. All we have are the hot springs. Would you like me to take you there?”

She shook her head but at the same time said, “I would, but my parents do not want me to be out of their sight. Do you not know that our village was destroyed and many people killed?”

Tangaroa nodded then asked “But why did that happen and how did you escape?”

Haeata then looked around to see if anyone else could hear. “The pakeha had camped on the south side of the river and started trading with us but they were drinking a foul smelling liquid and they argued with our men and wanted to take some of our women in exchange for the goods especially the muskets, so a fight started. Luckily most of the women were in their homes or hiding so we were not involved. The pakeha were soon overpowered except those that escaped who crossed the river to their camp but our men followed and killed them too.”

“Even though they had muskets?” asked Tangaroa.

Haeata nodded, “The pakeha could not walk straight and were falling over so they could not use the muskets properly. The pakeha’s big boat returned two days later and found their camp destroyed and their men dead. My mother was wise enough to anticipate this happening so took us into the forest even though my father wanted to stay and fight. We saw them destroy the village so we waited in the forest but no survivors came, so we came here.”

“Where will you go now?”

“We only know the way of the sea. We must live by the sea; so we will go further on to find safety.”

Tangaroa looked at her and thought how attractive she was but he knew the people from Big River were not to be trusted. He wanted to reach out to touch her but dare not. She could see him thinking and then said with her eyes lowered, “Tangaroa will you guide us to the next village?”

Tangaroa shook his head, “Just follow the track along the coast.” And then he surprised himself by adding, “You do not need me, I am promised to another.”

Haeata her eyes still lowered and with much emotion in her voice said, “And so was I, but I am no longer.”


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Walking alone

It's my fall from grace
Absolute misery now
I've been shown the door

So I walk alone
Not to nestle in your arms
Tears like autumn leaves

Saturday, 15 September 2012

At Agate Hills (No. 64)

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.)

“What did you think Paikea?” asked Ahuahu after they had said farewell to the men who had ferried them across the estuary and were making their way down south towards Agate Hills.

“I did not like the look of them.”

“Don’t you worry about the men that ferried us across the river, they were too busy to say much and were probably told not say anything to us in any case. Did you notice anything about the settlement and the river?”

Ahuahu could see that Moana was itching to speak but with a glance he told her with his eyes to say nothing.

“They were nervous about our being there. They have built a pile of stones on the south side of the river overlooking the sea. It smelled different too but that may be just the wind or the low tide here.”

Ahuahu nodded then asked Moana. “And you Moana what did you notice.”

Moana grinned back at him, relieved that she could speak at last.

“We crossed the river at the wrong place; I could tell it was not the usual crossing point. So they did not want us to see something.” She went on, “Those stones on the south side are probably meant to be seen from the sea; they are a marker." She thought a little more and then said, “There were not enough women and children in the village, they are hiding. They are expecting more visitors and do not know when they will come, but it may be soon.”

Ahuahu nodded, “I think that the pakeha themselves put up that pile of stones to mark the safe anchorage there. We were taken upstream to cross but the water flows too quickly for a crossing there. This was to prevent us from seeing something, maybe the marker, maybe something else, the men in the boat could say nothing as they had to paddle so hard in the current to cross at that narrow point. The women and children are clearly out of sight and will disappear altogether if and when the pakeha return. Some pakeha may still be here and camped by the shore that may be the smell.”

“Let’s us hope the people at Agate Hills know more,” said Paikea.

“I doubt it, but we will see.” said Ahuahu.

They reached the Agate Hills settlement in mid afternoon and were welcomed by Aperahama, the husband of Aio, Paikea’s sister. They went through the formalities of the greeting ritual, rubbing noses and removing their cloaks that they had worn. Aio came out to greet them and the process was repeated. Aio looked at Moana and turned to Paikea. “You have chosen well, little brother.” She kept on repeating Atanga as they were escorted in to the whare, with several children running in from play all clamouring to see the visitors.

Moana in her turn thanked them for their welcome and presented them with a little carved wooden representation of the sea god Tangaroa that had been made from the forest trees where her mother Hauku now lived. After resting for a while Aperahama took Paikea and Ahuahu to see the agate workings and to see how the craftsmen fashioned the ornaments from the stone. These were laboriously etched with sand and water. Meanwhile Aio sat Moana down and they discussed children of which she had four and clapped her hands when Moana told her she was now pregnant. Aio then called all her children around her and introduced each one. The smallest one a little girl who was only about three wanted to sit with Moana which she was allowed to do.

“What is your name, little one” Moana asked. The little girl checked with Aio first who nodded at her, and she said “Hirini”.

Moana smiled at her and said “I love the name Hirini. I have a dear old friend who has this name that I take to the hot springs at home because she cannot walk by herself. I am sure I will like you too.”

They stayed two days and although they talked to several people none knew of the pakeha or what they were doing. Aperahama said “Our village is like yours, we work, we trade, we live and we love. We want nothing to change but it is not our decision; change will happen and we will all be poorer for it.”

After their visit was completed, Ahuahu and the young couple returned a few days later heading back for Big River. As they approached the river from the southern side Ahuahu sensed something was wrong. He sniffed the air. He motioned to the others to keep quiet and carefully advanced by himself to spy on the river estuary. There in safe anchorage was a huge pakeha boat with the sails furled. There were little boats being rowed with oars rather than paddles in the river and smoke was rising from the remains of the village which had been burnt to the ground. Ahuahu counted the men and the boats and tried to work out what they were doing. Great fear possessed him as he thought of his family at Black Sands. He made his way carefully back to the others and signalled for complete silence and indicated they were to go back the way they came.

When it was safe to do so, he explained to both Paikea and Moana what had happened. “We must get back to Black Sands as soon as we can but we have to follow the river upstream and cross it far away from this settlement. We must not be seen. The country there is higher and more difficult to traverse but we will be safer that way.” Moana nodded in agreement but Paikea was all for checking the pakeha out himself. It was with great difficulty that Ahuahu told him that would endanger them all. He glanced at Moana and when she saw him look at her, her eyes fell with shame that Paikea was still hot headed and not wise.

“Paikea, you can do this, but you must do it alone and not follow us home. I must get Moana back safely and report to your father.”

At this Paikea nodded glumly realising the seriousness of the situation, “I understand, I will come with you.”

“I will tell you all of what I saw so that you can tell your father first,” Ahuahu said, “But I think that some pakeha have been killed and their main boat has landed and taken revenge.”

They headed west for an hour and then turned north and had to wade across the cold river and it was very late by the time they finally got to Black Sands. He told Paikea and Moana to return home whilst he saw his family first before he saw the chief and confirmed their discovery to the headman.

Moana knew that once again their lives would be overturned. She looked at the greenstone gifts that she had received from Paikea’s sister and her tears fell on them making them shine in the moonlight.

The next day a few survivors from Big River arrived in Black Sands. They had escaped from their village and had hidden in the forest all night for safety.

 Atanga - beautiful

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Laundry Girls and the hinge of fate.

Look what I came across, it’s an old snap of the Laundry girls, and there is the foreman, five laundresses and the office girl. It is 1926 and it must be summer in England. For working girls the bobbed hairstyle was all the rage, even in a city on the south coast of England. Well they knew all about the latest styles because fathers and uncles worked the big liners that sailed into and out of Southampton all across the world. They would tell their daughters and nieces all about what they had seen and describe the exotic places they visited how the ladies dressed in America. So the tales from far off would germinate a need that would echo the black and white pictures they saw in the movies with the subtitles imposed and a piano player providing the music to match the scenes portrayed.  The hinge of fate has yet opened on their lives.          
That is Edna on the left and she has put her best foot forward. Curiously she was quite shy, and soon she will get engaged and later will give him up because he was too “fast”. Later she will marry the son of a friend because everyone will say what a hard worker he is. But that doesn’t make them love each other, and she will feel she has failed him because she can only bear him daughters and not sons. Edna lives to be 97.
Next to her is Patsy, what a pretty round face and smile Patsy had. Sadly she believed everything her first boyfriend told her and ended up pregnant a year after the photo was taken. Her mother raised the baby girl and Patsy thought of the little mite as a younger sister. Patsy died during a raid on the docks in Southampton in 1941 and her baby never ever knew who her real mother was.
Deirdre the office girl could type, so she worked in the office. She was the clever one and was good at dressmaking. Her indulgence was shoes because her mother used to tell of not having shoes to wear to school and having to wear her brother’s boots. So Deirdre decided to be different had four pairs of shoes including the black leather boots she is wearing here today!      
This is Bert the foreman with the two most senior girls linking arms with him. He was a veteran of the 1st World War but was too old for new war in 1939 forecast to be more lethal than the first; and it was for many. Bert joined the Home Guard and guarded the Post Office at night with a broomstick as there were not enough weapons to go round. He died in 1948 of tuberculosis after spending months in a sanatorium just south of Winchester.
Brenda is next in line with the big hair, I think she is a beautiful girl and she is in charge of all the girls except Deidre. Everyone loved Brenda. She married Frank a butcher’s boy who delivered meat on his bicycle and eventually had his own butcher’s shop. They had five children two boys and three girls. Their eldest boy became a politician and stood for parliament a couple of times but always got beaten by the sitting member.
Winifred comes next and she always looks sad. She is the eldest of eight and her father died many years ago. At home everything is left to Winifred to do, and must go out to work, get the younger children ready for school and somehow run the home while her mother takes in sewing. She said that when she married she would never have children but when one of her younger sisters had a child she changed her mind and never regretted it. She loved all babies and when she was old and ill her daughter looked after her.
Now what can I say about Lucy? Lucy was trouble with a capital T. When waists were not emphasized she bucked the trend and showed everyone she had one! With her dark come hither eyes and olive complexion some say she had Italian blood in her. Who knows? She didn’t stay long at the laundry for people to find out. The story is she headed straight for London and hit the stage with a bang. I like to think that when most of the theatres were closed down during the war she stayed on to entertain Londoners with some feathers and exotic dancing at the Windmill Theatre!

Note this is a conjectural piece with names and events invented

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Big River, Big troubles (No. 63)

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 night Ahuahu came home from a meeting of the village council looking rather depressed. He told Ahu and Hatiti that he had been asked to accompany Paikea and Moana who were to visit Paikea’s sister at Agate Hills south of the Big River estuary. It was supposed to be a family visit and on the way they would pay their respects to the headmen of the villages on the way. The Big River settlement had been very much ignored since the incident some many years ago when a pakeha expedition had been killed and eaten by the people there. There had been rumours from some of their fishermen of more great boats at sea with their enormous sails so their own village chief suggested a courtesy call might be appropriate on the way through their territory to see any had landed there.

Ahuahu knew that once again this was a test for Paikea to see if he was sensible enough to use tact and discretion with their neighbours to find out what was happening with the pakeha. The old chief felt that Ahuahu  would manage but he wanted his son to prove himself in this way. It was some time since their wedding and as Moana had now become pregnant for the first time it was good time to visit well before the baby arrived.

As expected the journey to Big River was uneventful and when they reached the shore of the tidal river they made their presence known and asked to taken to the head man. Ahuahu greeted the chief in the traditional fashion and advised that they were travelling to Agate Hills much further south and indicated that his chief’s son Paikea and his Moana his wife were visiting relatives there. The chief nodded glumly but bade them rest awhile while they spoke of the seasons and of fishing. Immediately Ahuahu realised there was more to this than social chit chat. He nodded his head and indicated that perhaps they had come too quickly for Moana and that a short rest would be appropriate. At this Moana raised her eyebrows in disbelief that Ahuahu should think that but realising it was ploy to talk a bit agreed that a rest would be good and kept quiet.

It was not long before the chief got round to talking to the two men about what really concerned him. It was of course the pakeha, who had made a number of landfalls near their estuary and had boldly camped and tried to trade with them.

“Ahuahu, this is not a good sign. Each year we see more of these pig men visiting us and stealing our crops and even our women. Has this not happened at Black Sands?”

Ahuahu shook his head. “It is to our advantage that our waters are treacherous for large boats. You have a safe harbour and I know they have been here before. Many years ago I visited you and there were signs even then, but your men at the estuary were not keen to tell us of them.”

The chief nodded. “You probably guessed then that all those years ago we killed a few but they are very strong with their muskets and slashing swords. Their boats are so huge they could sail in any weather. I fear they will always return.”

Ahuahu nodded “The wheels of life keep turning. We ourselves came many years ago, and now they see that this is a fine land to settle in too.” He paused and then said quietly, “They are ugly and smell. The only good things they brought were the pigs they left behind…but we ate all the ones we found!”

The chief laughed. “Yes they did not last long. They must have known we needed fattening up. We guessed they would return when they set them loose.”

Ahuahu laughed in turn but then was serious. “I think we should get the council of Chiefs to discuss this. It would be better to have a united front against the pakeha rather fight among ourselves. They would surely want to dissuade them from occupying this stretch of coast.”

The chief shook his head sadly, “Have you not heard there are many already trading with the pakeha. He bent his head over and whispered “It is said they are trading their weapons for supplies.”

Ahuahu had heard but he would not confirm it as he thought that the men from Big River would also do so given half the chance if they did not do it already. “Unless their boats are stranded on our beach we will never see them. A party was sighted on our beach many years ago but apart from scaring us off with their muskets we have not seen them again at Black Sands.”

The chief nodded then turned to Paikea. “How is it you are travelling today and not enjoying your wife at home?” He slapped Paikea on the arm. Paikea at first lost for words, eventually blurted out,”I thought she needed a rest.” The chief roared with laughter and nodded his head to Moana who was sitting with the women and she demurely nodded a reply.

“Your father chose well, Paikea.” Then turning to Ahuahu said, “I will get my men to take you across the river. You may need the rest of the day to reach the Greenstone settlement.”  He nodded at Paikea to fetch Moana and then said while he was alone with Ahuahu. “I heard you were the one that dealt with Rocky Outcrop all those years ago to settle boundaries. Do you think they are trustworthy?”

“Luckily they do not bother us. But let us discuss it in a few days when we return, but I fear there will be some that will think more of the pakeha’s gifts than the blood of our people.”

“Ahuahu, blood will always be spilt.”

After they had rested they were ferried across the river to continue their journey. Ahuahu glanced at Paikea and secretly willed him to note all that he saw.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

John and Marcia

The duty of every lover is not to engage in idle banter when the elements of trust and devotion are better manifested in tokens of far greater worth.

“John, John”, “Marcia
Marcia, Marcia”, No!
These are not enough

“I pledge thee my troth”.
“Like a loaded Visa card?
John, I do, I do!”

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hei Tiki (No. 62)

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.)

Despite Ahuahu‘s fear and that of the village council, there was no threat to their village from other villages who may have been trading with pakeha and nothing was heard from the Big River settlement. The wide and deep estuary was clearly known to the pakeha which is why they had had made landfall there years before. The flat alluvial plains each side of the river were good for tilling and the information from Hinewai indicated that this would be a good place for them to establish a settlement.

Over the ensuing year their village had the occasional visitor from Rocky Outcrop and who was clearly instructed to find out more about Black Sands and if it could be defended. This pleased Ahuahu seeing that as a sign that the Rocky Outcrop chief had acknowledged the wisdom of Hinewai's advice regarding the musket.

Moana and Paikea had settled down in their married life together but no babies would come. She visited Ahu and Hatiti occasionally and would talk of many things but never mentioned that babies would not come. Eventually Hatiti could not resist asking about this.

“Is Paikea’s mother chiding you for not being with child Moana? My first husband Kaihutu’s mother would talk of nothing else from the day after our wedding,” she laughed.

Moana cast her eyes down as Hatiti started combing her hair. “No, she says nothing. If she says anything to Paikea he does not tell me.”

Ahu, who was still attending to the little ones, then spoke. “Do not hold in your worries Moana.” She looked around to see if any of the older children were close by. “Talk to us. It may help.”

“I do not know what to say. “ Moana’s eyes were full of tears, “We make love…often, but a baby will not come.” The two older women then attempted to soothe her.

“I was born first,” said Ahu, “but a second baby would not come so my father treated me as though I was boy as he was so disappointed I was not one. My mother was given a Hei tiki necklet to help her conceive again. But by then her love for him had died  so she did not wear it. It is the only thing I have left of hers. I have kept it but have never worn it.” She then smiled at them. “That is because babies come easily to me.”

“You have never shown me it, Ahu” said Hatiti.

“Neither of us needed it, did we?” laughed Ahu. “I will fetch it.”

“Do you think it will work, Hatiti?” said Moana as Hatiti continued to comb her hair.

 “Babies will come when they are wanted but you must imagine them all swimming together in a conch shell but only one of them is right for you. You must empty the conch shell and do not leave any behind. When you make love again do not let him rest until he is fully emptied and cries out, no more.” Hatiti smiled at Moana. ” But still do not let him go. But hold him tight all night. Then make him take you again when you wake...” Here Hatiti paused as Ahu returned to them, and continued, “but wear the tiki at all times too.” She said grinning.

Ahu returned and presented the Hei tiki to Moana. She looked at it delighted and exclaimed “It looks like a little baby!” Ahu nodded in agreement but then said to Moana. “Is Paikea happy?”

“Yes, he is happy with me but he feels that as he is a man now and should be given more responsibility.” She paused here and bowed her head. “His father talks to me a lot of village matters but does not seek Paikea’s advice. I speak freely and honestly, but when his father has gone Paikea will ask ‘Why did he not speak of that with me?’”

“Moana,” said Ahu, “We told you a long time ago that his father valued your opinion and thought that this would help Paikea to become wise too. Being the son of a head man does not mean he is automatically wise.”

“It may be necessary to tell the head man of this,” said Hatiti.

Ahu shook her head, “I agree that he should know but to talk directly with the head man about his son, your husband, is not wise. Paikea will see this as a betrayal.”

“Should she speak to Paikea’s mother?” asked Hatiti.

“Yes, she will like that,” nodded Ahu “This will not be a betrayal, but a talk in confidence between women. His mother will tell her husband the Head man in her own way and she will value your friendship and confidence when you speak this way to her.”

A few months later Moana told Ahu and Hatiti she was pregnant. As she had not seen one of Paikea’s married sisters it was arranged that they would both go to his sister’s village which was known as Agate Hills far south beyond Big River well before the baby was born.