Sunday, 30 December 2012

The New Priest (No. 78)

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.) 

Black Sands heard no more of Pastor John with his defiant attitude and of him wanting to talk to the people in their village. However a month or two after his visit another priest from Big River called in to pay his respects to Ahuahu.

The man who was quite old and grey was taken to Ahuahu and approached him respectfully by removing some clothing and his shoes and walked up to Ahuahu from the side rather that in front of him and knelt down. Ahuahu nodded and asked him to sit down by his side. Ahuahu offered him some refreshment and Hatiti brought him water and some fruit to eat.

“You have not been here before priest. I am Ahuahu headman of this village. Did you want to see the village and its hot springs?”

The old man grinned, “No, Ahuahu, I have heard much about the hot springs and the many visitors you have here. There is a lot of talk about the place both by your Maori neighbours and by the pakeha that have been here too. I do not need to know any more now; later perhaps. I have another reason to visit you.”

Ahuahu nodded, “Tell me the purpose of your visit then, priest.”

The old man, smiled “Call me Rapata, my pakeha name is Robert but it is not a word it easy for you to say, so in Maori it is pronounced ra-pa-ta.”  

Ahuahu laughed “We had another priest here we did not like saying his name which was John. It did not sit well on our tongues.”

Rapata laughed as well “He knew his name was Teone or Hoani here but would not use them. Yes, I know this man.”

“Have you come to ask for what he wanted?”

Rapata laughed again and slapped Ahuahu on the shoulder. “No Ahuahu, I come with much more important request.”

Ahuahu was amazed this man was acting just as though he were a Maori himself, respectful, laughing a lot, slapping in a friendly way and apparently telling the truth.”

“I will hear you, Rapata.”

“Good, Ahuahu. I have been told you care for the Ngerengere people in the foothills. Is that the case?”

“Yes, it was agreed many years ago that when the boundaries of our land were settled with our neighbours we would be responsible to provide food and clothing for the ngerengere people there. Our women have always visited them and tell them what is happening in the world outside.”

“Good, good, Ahuahu. We would like to help you do this. Would you agree to our church setting up a mission to help these people to live their lives in peace and safety with pakeha workers caring for them and tending them especially if they are sick and dying? We have people that are experienced in this a work and may be able to relieve their suffering and make their lives more fulfilled. Did you know many ngerengere often hurt themselves because they cannot feel the cuts and breaks they do to themselves? So they have missing fingers and toes and wounds that do not heal.”

“You should talk to my wife Ahu. She goes regularly as do other women from this village. They can take you but first this must be discussed with the village council. Will you stay the night and visit the ngerengere another day? They may be frightened of you as you may be the first pakeha they have seen so someone from the village must be with you at all times.”

“I will stay here until you give me permission to go there Ahuahu.”

“Just why would you do this for them, Rapata?”

“Ahuahu, there is a lot more that the pakeha can do for the Maori people. It is not just us saying you must do this or do that. It is also showing what we can do for you. You may like us better if you see that we can give you something without taking anything from you.”

“I want to believe you Rapata, but one pakeha that is good still leaves hundreds that are bad. However let us see what the village council think tomorrow. Tonight you may talk to Ahu and Hatiti with me; their two heads may be wiser than my one. The children however will stare at you as though you are a sea monster.”

With that both men laughed together.

“We will not need the woman that can speak English then, Ahuahu?”

“Hinewai?  She does not live here but in a village in the forest.” Ahuahu pointed to the hills to the west. ”You speak our language very well so we will all be able to understand you.”

“One day, I will meet her perhaps.”

“One day, perhaps, Rapata. She, like many of us has a heavy load to bear.”

“Most of us do, Ahuahu, most of us do.”

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Looking for me?

If you are looking for me or wonder where I am, don't worry as I am moving house and communications will be cut for a few days. Have a beautiful Christmas holiday wherever you are.

What do I wish for?

What do I wish for?
To be always at your side
Knowing you are near

What do I long for?
Your touch that makes me shiver
With such a delight

What do I dream of?
Being with you forever
Springtime and in fall

Such a pair like us
Will surely last a lifetime
In such utmost bliss

Your eyes say it all
We are one united soul
Passionate lovers

Saturday, 15 December 2012

News of Paikea (No. 77)

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.)

Moana’s time to give birth came and she went to see Ahu and asked that Hinemoana could be looked after by Ahu and Hatiti when she had the new baby. “Should you not ask Paikea’s mother to be involved, Moana?” was Ahu’s response.

“I should I know, but since Paikea left she has hardly spoken to me,” replied Moana. “She has merely asked to see Hinemoana or looked after her while I rest, but she is embarrassed and cannot talk about Paikea leaving. She does not blame me but was shamed by the bruises that all could see on my face.”

“Perhaps if I walk with you to see her now she will be less worried, and we can say she can help you. Come let us do that now.” So the two women with Hinemoana toddling along between them walked slowly to the old woman’s whare.

As they entered the building they heard wailing inside and they found Paikea’s mother prostrate on the floor tearing her hair out with Aperahama, Aio’s husband from Agate Hills trying to comfort her. He had brought news that Paikea had been killed. He explained that he had gone to Moana’s home first but as she was not there had come here to Paikea’s mother instead.

He told them that Paikea had been at a Pakeha town many miles to the south of Big River. He and some other Maori men had been drinking and got involved in a brawl with the pakeha and Paikea alone had been killed and the others were injured.

Moana’s face turned pale and she sank to the floor in shock. Paikea’s mother smashed her head down on wooden bowl to knock out her teeth. Ahu turned to Aperahama and said to him, “Take Hinemoana back to our whare and get Hatiti to look after her.” She looked down to Moana who was grasping at her belly. “Moana, is the baby coming?”

Moana nodded, “I think it is Ahu.” She then doubled up with pain again as Ahu turned to Paikea’s mother and said to her “We came round to ask if you would help Moana deliver her child. The shock has made the little one arrive early; will you come and help us?”

The old woman looked up her face all bloody and shook her head sadly “What has happened to our family Ahu? Why have the gods looked away?”

“The sun comes up every morning,” said Ahu, “Some of us will be here to see it but …” She was interrupted by Moana gasping with pain again, so she said. “I must take Moana down to the trees, her baby is coming quickly. Remember there will be part of Paikea in this new baby Haumiatikitiki,” calling the old woman by her proper name. She then helped Moana get to her feet and they walked out into the fresh air and made their way slowly to the women’s birthing site.

Luckily no damage was done to the baby by the shock to Moana and she delivered a baby boy quickly and was soon back in her own home again. Hatiti came round to assist her and brought Moana's daughter Hinemoana back too. Moana still continued to cry and no one knew whether it was through the shock of losing Paikea this way or something else that had changed in her life. Once she had got the baby to suckle and had taken some food and saw that Hinemoana was settled and sleeping, she thanked Hatiti for staying with them that night.

Hatiti said, “Moana we are much alike, my first husband was taken from me suddenly and my grief was overwhelming. You had much of your grief before Paikea was taken away but you have the joy of having your children with you still and there is much life ahead for all of you as there was for me. You are safe and loved here, this is your home.”
“I feel ashamed Hatiti, I hoped that Paikea would never return for making me unhappy but the gods merely laughed and granted my wish in this way and now I feel guilty. I did not want him dead as it is but a short time since I was so proud to be his wife.”

“He has not died because you wished it but because he could not see happiness was with you not in fame or trying to be strong and wise like his father. All of us have our own paths in life Moana. Let us hope there will be someone to walk by your side looking at you rather that to the heavens for happiness.”

Moana looked up at Hatiti and smiled sadly. “One of my greatest joys is feeling part of Ahu and your family. I understand now all what you have told me. Many years ago Ahu said it would be difficult being married to a Head man’s son.”  Moana was quiet for a little then reached out and touched Hatiti on her arm and whispered. “Would you ask Ahuahu to tell Hunapo that I have given birth to a son?”

“I am sure the whole village will know of this event Moana; but he will not come to see you without others present for at least a full moon. Let’s hope he will still provide you with fish and play with Hinemoana then.”

Moana then whispered to Hatiti “He will look always after us. He told me once that as he had been feeding the new baby inside me for months he considers it his too!”

Hatiti whispered back, “Oh why couldn’t you have looked on him first Moana?”

With Moana weeping silently again the two women then settled down to sleep while the new baby snuffled quietly by their side.

A few weeks later Hunapo went to see Paikea’s mother and spoke to both her and Tui. “I have come from Ahuahu,” he said. “Everyone knows I have provided Moana with fish for some time. Ahuahu said that I could do this in Paikea’s absence and I speak with you now out of respect for Paikea and to assure you she and the children will continue to be cared for by me.”

Tui looked at Hunapo, “You have shown respect to Paikea and this family in telling us this. Hekehoru has told me that you have been quite open in dealing with Moana in her need and have spoken to Ahuahu regarding this. Moana will therefore no longer be of this family but be your responsibility from now on.”

They formally bade farewell and Hunapo returned to Moana to tell what he had done. Moana was quite silent as he explained to her only nodding as he spoke. When he had finished she patted the floor by her side. “Sit with me Hunapo you are my husband now. Bring all your things here and we will live together. I have decided to call the new baby Ikawhenua. My babies are your babies they have no other father now and we will be sure to have many more.”
“You have named the baby Ikawhenua because that is where I first saw you and wanted you so many years ago,” said Hunapo. “You honour me Moana, I will love and cherish you till I die.”

“I know you will Hunapo.”

Haumiatikitiki - Girl’s name meaning Guardian of the Fern Root

Ikawhenua     - Boy’s name meaning Fishing Grounds

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Marina Appears

(Mark and Marina the mermaid part 8.  Mark has carefully planned a rendevous with Marina the mermaid (now pregnant), at a remote cove to meet her secretly close to where she will give birth)  
The day that she should have appeared in the little secluded cove came and went. My eyes strained to find any clues to her being in the water observing me or just swimming on the surface and diving similar to the sea lions that might show themselves once in a while. I moved from the beach and clambered up the rocky cliffs to get a better view but if she was there in the sea she wasn’t letting on. So I made my way down to the cove area again and as the sun sank in the sky pulled my sleeping bag out to prepare for the night.

Just as the light was just failing I heard her call out. She mimicked the bird call “Maaark, Maaark,” Just the once. So I risked calling back “Marina” just the once myself then repeated it after a few seconds so she could check the direction that my call came from. Then I got up and walked down to the water’s edge careful not to be too close in case a bigger wave pulled me off my feet.
I waited what seemed like ages thinking that her call was in fact a bird’s after all, and then with a whoosh she came up with the next breaker and lay there at my feet. I was so relieved I could say nothing but bent down and held her in my arms and hugged her. This was a mistake as the next wave came in and washed over me soaking me and I risked being pulled into the turgid sea and being toppled over.
Marina held on tight and with a couple of flips of her tail pushed the both of us up the shingle bank. Every part of her within kissable distance I was kissing and licking and hugging as the sea continued to wash over my feet and her tail that still dangled in the water.
“Let’s get up the beach a bit I said.”
She laughed, “I was going to say let’s get back in the water.”
In the end she agreed that I should pick her up and carry her up to my sleeping bag, whispering to me “Is there anybody close by?”
“No, we are far from any habitation and the park rangers that look after the area will have gone home by now.”
She nodded in satisfaction and took my hand and placed it on her tummy, “He’s there,” she said simply. I bent down and kissed her cold tummy and progressed up to her neck and chin and then kissed her gently on the lips. “You are a clever girl.”
She nodded contentedly and I wrapped her in my arms and placed one leg over her flipper to make sure I had all of her close to me and whispered “I missed you.”
She nodded in reply but was alert as ever wanting to check the surroundings in the poor light before the moon rose. “There is an old sea lion smell, and this thing we are lying on, who has been on this …it is not only your scent is it? I bent down to sniff at it. It just smelled of sleeping bag, not really of me or anyone else…or did it?
From my silence she knew it was my wife’s scent she could smell. “That’s all right then.” She said quietly, but still pushed it away and lay on the pebbles instead. So I changed the subject and said. “Have you found somewhere safe to be?”
She nodded cautiously, “Wives do not tell husbands everything, Mark. My only concern is to bear this child…our child.  You have done your job, but I know you want to be involved and care for me and the calf very much. I love that you feel that way but it is not natural for mer people to think this way. You think like a woman and are too soft. You love too intensely and I cannot risk your feelings putting the little one at risk.”
She then continued, “One day if you cannot find me you will want to get a boat and look for me. You must not do that. Already you have suggested in your thoughts that I should be checked to see if the baby is safe inside me. He will stay inside me until he or she comes out. That is my decision not yours. You do not know the way of the sea. If I lose the little one you must realise I will turn away from you and look for one of my own kind to try again. I will do this until there is no hope left and you are no longer in my mind such as you are now. The sea is cruel and those that survive here appear so too. We do not love as you do but with determination and an instinct for survival. Our paths have crossed; I love you but will turn away from you unless my species can continue.”
She sensed my bitter disappointment that it was not me but her kind that was uppermost in her mind. “I love you Mark for little things as well as big. I notice how you check my tail and back for scratches which might become infected, I love that you look at me and lavish me with such gentleness, no mermaid ever expects that!”  She ran her fingers over my chest. “Even in our differences you see me so much more worthy than yourself. I do not deserve that.”
“I do not understand.”
“I am built to manoeuvre on beaches and shingle, yet you pick me up. You touch every part of me and consider it beautiful. When you talk to me you do not say how much better it is to walk on two legs or be constructive and built boats and those planes that fly in the sky, or catch fish in their thousands rather one or two in your hand because that is all you really need. You do not consider me to be abnormal.”
“Shush Marina, I do understand. The most important thing is the baby. I will go away later like a merman, but like a human I will return every month to check if you are well. I will worry alone and then rejoice when we are together again. Though please say if you need me to bring something for you, anything at all.”
“Just come and check on me once a month, Mark. That is all.”
“When will the baby come?”
“I know, but I cannot say. It will be a dangerous time for the two of us and there is no one to help me.” She paused and then said, “We are very protective at that time, and would not want mermen there either let alone land creatures.” She said with a little smile.
“But wouldn’t the dolphins help if there are no mermaids to help?”
“How did you know about that?” Marina said surprised.
“Well they quite like and trust us, don’t they?” I replied.
“No, they are using you; playing with you perhaps.” She smiled and then she went on “But, yes, they will help to protect me and the baby...I hope…if they haven’t anything better to do.”

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Oh that you would see
My eyes are always on you
And yours are sparkling

Oh that you would hear
My love for you a-telling
And you are listening

Oh that you would feel
My fingers you caressing
You murmur a sigh

Oh that you would love
My lips that are you kissing
As you hold me tight

Oh that you would dare
To share your life with me
Love everlasting

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Moana and Hunapo (No 76)

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.)

Hunapo, one of the other fishermen at Black Sands noticed that Ahuahu always took some fish for Moana when he returned home so he said, “Your family is large Ahuahu, let me take Moana some of my fish in future.”

“We can both do it Hunapo. She is with child now so she may be pleased to receive a little extra.”

Hunapo was very careful with Moana and was never seen to enter her whare. He would talk to her and play with Hinemoana outside after he had given them some fish but never stayed long. No one could ever say Moana looked at him directly as she was very discreet too. It was said they used to meet on the beach in the evening to talk but as the new baby was now a noticeable bump in Moana’s tummy no one thought much about it as he spent most of his time finding shells for Hinemoana, while Moana sat on the beach talking with other villagers.

There had been gossip regarding Paikea’s disappearance but his mother explained that Aio her daughter wanted him to help them at Agate Hills and Moana no longer appeared sad.

One day Hinemoana cut her foot on a shell at the beach so Hunapo who had just grounded his canoe after fishing at sea came over to Moana, and carried Hinemoana back to Moana's home where they managed to clean the cut and stop her crying. Hinemoana sat in Hunapo’s lap chewing sadly on a bit of oca root and then fell asleep in his arms.

“Now you are here, would you like to eat with me, Hunapo?” Moana said as she looked at him cradling Hinemoana in his arms; "She is asleep now so we will not disturb her and that way you do not have to prepare your own meal tonight.”

“I shouldn’t, Moana. People will talk.”

“They won’t, not with me almost ready to have a baby. Everyone saw you bring Hinemoana back here crying.”

Hunapo nodded his assent and his heart filled with love for her. But he didn’t know what to say to her so he bent over Hinemoana and brushed his lips on her forehead rubbed her tiny nose with his.

Moana saw him do that. “Thank you Hunapo, she has missed her father and she likes you.” She then went back to preparing the meal and fussed about outside with the fish on the fire while he continued to cradle the little girl.

When Moana came back in, she came over to him and picked Hinemoana up and placed on her sleeping mat on the floor. Then went to get their food and gave him his. Trying desperately to avoid eye contact with him she asked him “Why have you never married, Hunapo?”

Hunapo could not answer as he was eating. When he had emptied his mouth he said, “Please do not ask that question, Moana.”

“You are not tane moe tane are you?”

Hunapo laughed so much that he nearly choked.

“Moana,” he finally got out, “I was in a boat and heard you sing to the fish at sea all those years ago. I promised myself that I must find someone like you to marry, but sadly there was only one of you and Paikea claimed you.” He paused and then went on. “I should not have come in here tonight. Because you will you know now that I do not want Paikea to return.”

Moana bowed her head in embarrassment, but whispered to him quietly, “Neither do I.”

Hunapo reached over and gently touched Moana on the face. He then did a very bold thing and let his hand touch her on her swollen belly gently patting her and then said “If he does not return home, I will look after you and the children.”

“I knew you would, Hunapo, I could read it in your eyes.”

“What should we do?”

“I will talk to Ahuahu and Ahu. It is over six moons since Paikea has gone and there has been no word. I will ask Ahuahu’s advice but tell him you will protect us.”

Hunapo shook his head, “No, I will talk to Ahuahu. He must think that I approached you first.”

“But you did, Hunapo, right at the start and Ahuahu knows that.”

They just sat looking at each until Hunapo said to her, “I never thought that you would look at me Moana.”

“Hunapo, you have made my life worth living again. I will not cry myself to sleep tonight but sing with joy.”

Hunapo was by this time caressing Moana on her arms and on her face. He then leaned over and held his face against hers and nibbled at her with his lips. “I will go now while it is still light.”

Hunapo made to get up but thought better of it and laid his head between her breasts, sighed with contentment as he hugged her but then got up and left the whare.

As he walked through the village to go back home, he felt as if he was as tall as a tree; he had never felt so happy in all his life.


Tane moe tane – homosexual, but literally, man with man.

Whare - dwelling

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Long Wait for a Mermaid

(Mark and Marina the mermaid part 7  With a chance that Mark has got Marina the mermaid pregnant he plans to meet her at a secret location close to where she will give birth)
As we parted that last day on the beach close to where I had rented my holiday shack I looked at her not wanting to let her go. She glowed with health and I loved that her body of necessity was well covered with a soft layer of subsurface fat to keep her insulated against the cold water.

We had talked again of many things; none of importance and as the tide returned up the beach again and started to hide the rock pools she edged nearer the water and pulled me with her. We both swam out into the sea. The waves broke over us and although I could still touch bottom the strength of the waves kept pushing me further into shore. She then let go of my hand and without saying another word disappeared under the surface. I watched where I thought she would be headed but braver than me she did not look back but was gone from my sight.

I felt terrible. I had another two or three days left at the shack and spent each day returning to the beach hoping that she had changed her mind and wanted to see me again. That did not happen. So on the last day I packed up and, loaded my stuff in the car which had not been driven once all the time I had been there and returned home.

I had noted in my diary what day I should start visiting the cove where she had planned to be and had that anxious thought that she didn’t have a diary so how would she work out when to look out for me? Isn’t it curious, that every advancement that man achieves; he loses more than he gains? It was only when I slowly worked out that she could calculate the time and the passage of days by the moon quarters and by the tides and of course by the sun that I relaxed a little. There were probably a lot more clues too that humans had long forgotten or had never worked out for themselves. I will tell you a secret though, I pretended to be her and collected a pile of 30 cockle shells and each day when I woke up I would move one from the pile to a new one. So I knew that when the first pile was emptied it was the day we should meet hoping she was doing the same.

So I opened up my house again, spent a whole day cleaning it up from a few days of neglect and I watered the garden, pruned the roses and returned to being a wasteful human again. Then I spoke to the kids on the phone and settled back into a normal life as seen by them but an anxious one for me as I relived those few days with her. I did think that perhaps I had been manipulated by her but even if she had, I didn’t mind, it had been worth it.

I checked with the Parks and Wildlife office about doing a study of the interaction of land and marine life in the conservation park where I knew she would be and they were enthusiastic and encouraged me to talk to the rangers on site, so I harvested a few leaflets and took them home.

I took a trip down there and spent some time talking to the rangers about birdlife and vegetation and the possibility of seeing other animals in the park and on the shore. So they knew I would be a frequent visitor and hopefully I would be just as a common sight as the honeyeaters, lizards and crabs that were already there.

And so it was; me with my backpack and binoculars, walking boots and sunglasses and I now barely received a nod from the staff if ever they saw me.

The cove that Marina had told me about was not easy to access. The larger more frequented beach was bad enough with warning signs and discouragement to enter the water and of not approaching any sea lions or fur seals that were resting on the beach. Her little cove however was quite a battle to access only by leaving the footpaths and making a precarious descent down to the tiny beach through thick scrub and clambering over rocks.

Having descended to the coarse sand and shingle I looked to see where the high tide mark might be then I ventured out as far as I could without entering the water to see if there were any signs of her being there. There weren’t which was both good and bad. One, she was being careful; but two, she may not have got here yet. The main thing was that I was sure that her choice of such a secluded place was well thought out indeed. This was especially so when I made my way back to my car and got lost over and over again and was lucky to get out the park before closing time.

I began to take photos of the things I was supposed to be interested in so if anyone asked how I was doing I would produce the camera and find evidence of the little bird or lizard to prove that I really did know what I was doing.

Then I experimented with leaving the car outside the park so if in future I stayed after closing time they wouldn’t set up a search party looking for me, thinking I was still in the park. This was just in case I couldn’t leave Marina if I found her.

Next I set up a cache of food and water hidden close to the cove including long life milk and dried food in plastic zip lock containers. My diary and shells told me that I had less than a week to wait so I spent a few days at home and then returned to the cove with just one day to go.  I regularly walked into the park with binoculars round my neck and talked to no-one. Unnoticed and as fluid as the movement of the tides I made my way to the cove and back day by day.

However my longing for her was overwhelming, if she didn’t appear I would be devastated.

Monday, 3 December 2012

You are the light of my Life

When I look at you
You are the light of my life
You brighten my day

When I speak to you
You listen to me with love
You have trust in me

When I dare to touch
You smile and encourage me
And fast my heart beats

When for you I yearn
I know that you wait for me
No matter how long

When I hold you close
We melt together to be
One being in love


We are gathered here
So those greeting words go
Together in prayer

Bidden to celebrate
Our life in all its fullness
And joy in being

So in the spring love
Joined in happy wedded bliss
Eying each other

Soon they are smiling
A bundle of joy and more
Their love is complete

The names that they choose
Link gathered families
And bonds are strengthened

Sadness is ever close
When parting prayers are spoken
As lives reach their end

We are gathered here
So those greeting words go
Together in prayer