Saturday, 13 October 2012

Horowai at Hot Springs (No 68)

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.)

Hatiti’s former mother-in-law sent a message to her to ask if she and Horowai could visit her first husband Kaihutu’s father, who was sick. For some time after her first husband died Hatiti found it difficult to revisit her in-laws at the hot springs even though they were only a few minutes walk away from Black Sands village. For her it was a world apart from the happiness she had found with Ahu and Ahuahu. But as the years passed she and Ahu started to go there again so little Horowai could understand that she had a connection with the steamy place where people went to bathe and relax. Often there was dancing there and visitors would come to bathe in the pools to help ease their aches and cure all manner of complaints. It was a good way too to find out what was going on in their world as people from villages far away would go there. In this way Black Sands and their hot pools were perhaps a reason that great respect was made to the community as a whole and why some might say that adjoining villages left them alone as they provided a service to a far greater area and were never a threat to their neighbours.

Horowai knew now that she and Tangaroa would be married, probably next year and she asked Hatiti if they should tell these relatives too.

“You are Kaihutu’s daughter, Horowai, his family is your family, when we visit tell them you are promised to Tangaroa and we will ask if the wedding might be held in their meeting house there to honour your father.”

Horowai nodded uncertainly and looked at Hatiti sadly. “I have only known one family of you and Ahu and Ahuahu and my brothers and sisters. I love Tangaroa dearly and I feel that he has always been part of my life but of my father’s family I know so little, only that they do look on me and speak to me with affection when we meet. When I see them I try to imagine my father and compare them with what you have told me about him but I am ashamed to admit that they are but strangers compared with all that binds me with my true home.”

Hatiti hugged Horowai. “You will find the right words when you speak to your father’s parents. Your love is like the sunshine and warms everyone.”

The following day Horowai, Hatiti and Tangaroa visited the springs early in the day and spoke to her father Kaihutu’s parents.

“Tangaroa has asked Horowai to marry him”, announced Hatiti. “Ahuahu and Ahu have agreed subject to your approval too.” Kaihutu’s mother nodded and spoke quietly “It is no secret, we have many visitors here and for a few weeks there seems to much talk of the young couple.”

Kaihutu’s father nodded his head smiling. “Tangaroa has already got a name for his ability at fishing so no one is surprised that he has caught our granddaughter.”

“Grandfather, I should like the ceremony to be held here in the meeting house in honour of my father, if that pleases you?” said Horowai.

Kaihutu’s mother came to Horowai and hugged her and held her face in her hands. “Should not Hatiti have asked us child? Do you speak for yourself?”

“Shh! Woman.” Interjected the grandfather, it should have been Tangaroa that asked.”

Tangaroa looked bewildered; he glanced at Hatiti for help to sort the problem out. Meanwhile Hatiti was laughing.

“Do not worry children, they are joking with you. Did you not think that everyone in Black Sands has been waiting for this event? They are teasing you.”

“But we only decided the other day,” protested Tangaroa.

“Yes, but the whole village decided long ago,” responded Hatiti. “The love you showed for each other was not a secret.”

The old man continued “Of course you may have the wedding ceremony here and it would please us both if you permit us to provide you with your home here too. There is an empty whare that is most suitable for a head man’s son and his wife. I have not let anyone else have it. It will be our wedding present to you.” He then continued “This way we will be the first to see our first great grandchild. I am determined to live for that day.”

Horowai went over to him and knelt in front of old man. “Will you make me happy and give me to Tangaroa on our wedding day, papa?”

He touched her on the face and with tears in his eyes he mumbled “Of course my child. It will be a very happy day for me too…for all of us.”

They spent some time at the hot springs and inspected their promised whare that Tangaroa loved because from the entrance he could just see the sea. When they were walking back home, Hatiti said to Horowai, “You made your grandfather very happy today, did you realise you called him father?”

“Yes I did, didn’t I?” replied Horowai, “It just popped out and seemed the right thing to say as he is part of me too and he made me laugh.”


  1. Very pleasant chapter. See how nice things can be when the 'white man' is not involved in matters.

  2. Love can see itself, but is still so surprised when others see it too! Young love, so sweet. And family, generations, close - sadly something not frequently found these days.

  3. warm water..warm real tonic..jae ;)

  4. It was a excitement locating your site yesterday. I came here right hoping to learn something new. And I was not dissatisfied. Your well thought out ideas for new events like this. Thank you for this idea and sharing your knowledge.

  5. Aw, sweet. I think it's fun the way everyone knew they were in love long before they admitted it to themselves and each other.

  6. The last chapter is so unsettling. Knowing history, the uneasy peace won't last and this peaceful tribes way of life is soon going to be gone forever.

  7. You always inject us with necessary comforts in this series. Love does transcend and I'm happy to know of this love story, which feels like it was written in the stars.