Friday, 30 November 2012

Whatever happened to Moana and Paikea? (No. 75)

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.)

Let me tell you what happened to Moana and Paikea. Moana’s first child had been born safely and it was a little girl and they called her Hinemoana, meaning sea maiden. Between you and me Paikea had only thought of boys’ names for the baby before the birth as he was sure the baby would be a boy. He finally accepted that the name Moana chose was excellent as it linked both mother and daughter with the sea. Sadly Paikea’s father, the old head man had died before the baby was born so only his daughters had produced grandsons for him and they lived far away. Paikea found it hard to accept that he would probably never be chief like his father. As Moana was busy being a mother she was no longer involved in village affairs and giving advice to the village council or helping Paikea not to make foolhardy decisions.

Paikea’s mother and his father’s second wife would spend much time with Moana and the baby and he felt that he no longer knew what was happening in the village except through their women’s talk. Moana was settled now as she regularly had Ahu and Hatiti visit her and she them, but the whole dynamic in the village had shifted and Paikea’s family were no longer at the centre of things but Ahuahu and his family were.

It was really no surprise to Moana when Paikea spoke to her one night when the Hinemoana had been fed and put on her mat.

“Moana, I do not feel that our future is in this village. I think we should live at Agate hills with Aperahama and Aio‘s family there or with my other sister who lives close to the smoky mountains.

“Do you not want to stay and one day be chosen for the village council, Paikea?”

Paikea shook his head doubtfully, “When my father was the chief, it seemed as though I would be headman too one day. But things have changed now. Ahuahu is head man and you are a mother so they do not call on you for an opinion like they used to. Even Tui my brother seems closer to Ahuahu than I ever was and speaks to him of village matters. I have noticed Tui is even looking at Hekehoru, Ahu and Ahuahu’s elder daughter, but worse still she is looking back.”

They were silent for while then Moana spoke.

“I do not want to leave, Paikea. I live closer to my mother here, who lives in the forest to the west” she said pointing, “and Ahuahu and Ahu showed me how to behave in order that I could marry you, they are family to me. No, I do not want to leave. I have been made welcome here, I am respected and have a place in village life, I am happy and this is my home now.” She paused and then said, “Hekehoru is a beautiful girl, what is wrong with Tui looking at her. In any case I am sure he looks at other girls too. You are too jealous of Ahuahu, Paikea. That is no way to be headman.”

Paikea reacted immediately and hit her with his fist. She didn’t cry out, but just sobbed into her arms.

Realising what he had done he tried to hug her in his arms but he could not say sorry. He tried to touch her but she became wooden and didn’t react. He tried to pat on the back but she got up instead.

“Where are you going?”

“To put water on my face”

“You upset me.”

“Go to Agate hills by yourself. You may need some time away from me,” she said as she found the bowl of water in the darkness and splashed it on her face.

“Come back here and lie down and let me hold you.” He said.

“When you come back from Agate Hills you might be able to touch me again if you have changed back to the man I loved.”

There was another long silence then Paikea spoke again.

“Why did my father choose Ahuahu as head man; and why did he have to die?” He whined. Moana said nothing as she knew his fists were still clenched. She curled up on the floor by the side of Hinemoana with a protective arm around her.

Moana never spoke to Paikea again, she had even not told him she was pregnant again. He had gone by morning and he never returned to Black Sands. When his mother saw Moana with a bruise on her face and a split lip, she said nothing but returned home and cried. She knew that Paikea had shamed the family and the memory of his father. She wanted to blame Moana but knew that it was not her fault so kept silent.

Moana went away with Hinemoana too for a little while to the village where the Kakas call. She told Ahu she was visiting her mother who was not well to help look after her brothers and Torangi. She did not really need to go as Hinewai could have managed but everyone thought she went because Hinewai was needed so often at Black Sands to talk to the pakeha in their language. Even though Hinemoana could toddle around now she still had to carry her.

Later when Moana returned, Tui, Paikea’s brother came round to see her to ask if she needed any help. She looked at him closely and noted that he touched her longer in greeting than he should have done.

“You may come to see Hinemoana your niece, Tui. But remember once someone has put their hand in the ants nest they do not do it again.”

“I am ashamed of what happened, Moana. I am not like Paikea. I want to help you.”

“You do not know what happened, Tui. I thought you liked Hekehoru; go and help her instead.”

Tui’s face fell. “Am I that obvious, Moana?”

“Yes, everyone looks beautiful at your age Tui, especially brothers’ wives with tears in their eyes.”

“They said you were wise, Moana.”

She shook her head, “No Tui, not wise, but wiser now. You may come again but not to look at me in this way.”

“You won’t tell Hekehoru, will you?”

“Just go, Tui. I will tell no one.”

Later Moana approached Ahuahu and spoke to him in the village. “Paikea has gone to Agate Hills, Ahuahu.”

He looked at her eyes which were full of sadness. “Come and talk to Ahu, Hatiti and me tonight Moana.” So she took Hinemoana with her that evening and stayed for a meal and as they talked both Hatiti and Ahu played with Hinemoana.

“Who will provide for you Moana while Paikea is away? Tui looks after his mother and aunt doesn’t he?” asked Ahuahu.

”Tui has enough to do. Hinemoana and I will manage. Perhaps if I sing on the beach the fish will jump into my basket.” She said smiling sadly then continued, “Paikea may not be gone long.” She looked down as she said this.

She would not tell them anymore but later when Ahu held her face in her hands, she understood everything. “And there is another baby on the way, Moana, isn’t there?”

The tears in Moana’s eyes told it all. “I wanted to tell you Ahu,” she whispered, “but no words would come out, it hurts so much.”

As Ahuahu would pass her whare before returning home from the sea, she always had fresh fish to eat. She knew who her real family were. Tui meanwhile was now holding hands with Hekehoru.


  1. A bit difficult because I don't have the context of the previous chapters yet, but I can certainly appreciate the emotions of the characters here.

  2. Once some lines are crossed the story changes forever..Jae

  3. This is quite a shift in direction for the story, and life is very much like that, our roles and relationships change with time. Good writing, I am eager to see where you take it next!

  4. Even when it can be said, "Sorry" does not always fix everything.

  5. The girls in this village have the worst luck with men. So sad to see Paikea turn out so bad.

  6. Oooh, well, certainly it will be interesting to see if Moana’s wisdom holds true in particular respect to relationships. Paikea would need far more than a crash course in wisdom to command the respect he was raised to expect… As an immature soul, he needs much evolution of character which there may not be time for… In fact, as a person, he may be cut out for another destiny altogether. If so, it’s entirely possible that, in a little wandering and character-building, he may find it and return to Moana, thus proving she was wise not to move… Lots to think about…
    I look forward to more, Good Sir Egg.

  7. Paikea is certainly not mature, yet. He's foolish and jealous too and that make him angry and a little dangerous. Sad that he felt he needed to punch his wife. You've given such life to everyone, all of the characters have depth and it all makes for such a good read.

  8. I have in the past made this series somewhat idyllic with the women players probably a lot stronger than they should be for the period. Sadly this was not the case either with Maori or anywhere else in the world for that matter. I made Paikea a flawed character from the start and he has not disappointed with the beautiful and funny Moana being abused. Tune in next week, prompt word permitting; all is not lost.