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
“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.
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
“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
“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.