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.”


  1. Delightful! Can't say it's a delightful twist, because it's been on the cards for some time.

  2. Yes Altonian, there have been a number of hints even when she was little he looked after her.

  3. What a lovely development!I really admire they way you've kept us all entertained and intrigued all this time. I'm only on part 3 of my latest yarn and I'm digging myself deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit!

  4. A sweet romance- the final line made it seem as if everyone but they seemed to notice that they were in love!

  5. This is a sweet little interlude after all the worry about the changes coming because of the white men.

  6. I agree; this is a nice respite from the impending Europeans. Also, it's sweet that everyone knows they are in love before they do. This will be a good match, and the fact that the woman made the "first move" in the proposition reinforces your idea that, in this story, women have more power than they do in real life.

    Hey, I think that Woman Power needs to come to life in America!! So glad to be back reading; I'll post when I get around to it... Peace, Amy

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  8. What a fun excerpt. Hooray, Ahuahu for head man, knew it would happen!

    I love that Horowai pointed out the positive in the frustration, already sounds like a passionate sort of love. Interesting how you assemble the parts so naturally. Love the way you clip these pieces at the end.

  9. I wanted to say out aloud Oooo...and ahhhh and awwww.
    Just read the last 5 chapters. Knew there would be troubles as soon as the pakeha turned up. Inevitable.
    Such a weave of love, life, struggles, and, change.
    Fabulous story.

  10. I'm with Alice, the last line was the best one for me - it's so true.