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.)
A message had been sent to Ahuahu from the headman at Rocky Outcrop, Ruaimoko, for a meeting at Gannet Island with a cryptic message to bring a female member of his family with him. The messenger was told that he should stay the night and return with Ahuahu’s reply the following day.
Ahuahu discussed this with Ahu and Hatiti and said “He has always been fair in the past. I think that one of you should come but I will also take Tangaroa as well. He has met the chief before.”
Ahu shook her head, “Why not take Horowai? She has never been to Gannet Island. Tangaroa will want to tell her about where he was born.”
“It is about time she was with child, Hatiti, what do you think.”
“Yes, it would be better for her to go now before she is,” said Hatiti, “She is still young, she should go. She should see our country to the north as it is now before it is completely taken over by the pakeha.”
At that Ahuahu smiled at her “You are right Hatiti, she must have stories she should tell to her children of our heritage for them to dream of.” He then continued, “I do not know what he wants but with Tangaroa and me she will be safe.”
So a message was sent back with the man from Rocky outcrop that they would meet in four days time at the old Gannet Island village.
Ruaimoko was already there when they arrived and welcomed them in one of the old village buildings that still remained there. The small fishing village that was once Ahu and Ahuahu’s home was but a remnant of former times.
“You are welcome Ahuahu, and it is good to see that your son Tangaroa is with you. Ahuahu then introduced Horowai, Tangaroa’s wife. “Good, good, Ahuahu I am glad you have brought a young member of your family with you.”
Once they had settled and had some refreshment he went on, “I am aware that Black Sands is but a poor settlement compared with others and you have fought hard to retain your independence. By your efforts and possibly because the pakeha have little interest in your location you have not only survived but prospered by their neglect.” He paused here then continued.
“Of all the people that I know you are the only one that I can trust to help me now. Rocky outcrop in is danger of being taken over by the pakeha. Their settlements to the north of us are expanding and there is much inter-village fighting around us as we are confined to smaller and smaller areas. There have been many signs to indicate that our own survival is at risk. Our tohunga has forecast much trouble and sadness ahead. This is why I want to see you.”
“What is you request Ruaimoko? But tell me first why you wanted a female member of the family with us.”
“Hoku, come forward.” The old man called. From the other room of the building a teenage girl came to join them.
“I am here, Father.”
“This is Hoku my youngest daughter,” He looked at Ahuahu and said smiling, “She is my favourite and knows it,” Hoku had by this time knelt down close beside him. He put his arm round her and touched noses with her. “Ahuahu, I want you to take Hoku and keep her safe for me until the present troubles are over. Be a father to her, keep her chaste and safe. I know that marriage is on all girls’ minds. You are the only one can I can trust to treat her as one of your own. If you do this and have a son about her age I may consider him to be a husband for her...later.”
“You honour me Ruaimoko, my wives will look after her, and she will be part of my family. I have but one son her age who is unmarried and that is Aotea. He is Ahu’s third child. But do not let us rush into an agreement yet. You may want to send for in but a few days.” Ahuahu then turned to Horowai, “Horowai, you can see now why you are here. You will escort and protect Hoku as we return.”
Ruaimoko then said, “The decision to do this was painful to me.” He then paused then continued. “You have not argued or tried to dissuade me, you know we live in times of change. To show my appreciation I have persuaded my village council that your village may use our tauranga around Gannet Island for taking care of Hoku. Mind you we would also like to be told of any whales that are close to shore off your beaches too so they too can be shared!” he said with a grim smile. ”I wish that you had brought Aotea with you too, I should like to have met him.”
“We will not force them upon each other Ruaimoko. Hoku has heard us speak so will be wary of him now. I will inform you of her wellbeing. It is better they should like each other before we decide if it is a good match.”
So Hoku returned to Black Sands and Horowai held her hand and talked to her for much of the way telling her about Black Sands and the hot springs there. Ahuahu talked to the three of them on their journey back and told Hoku that she would be treated as a relative by all of his family and would live with them in his whare.
At this Tangaroa, said “Horowai and my home is but a short walk away at the Hot Springs you are welcome there too.” At this Horowai squeezed hold of Hoku’s hand tighter and whispered to her “You have not left a boy behind at Rocky Outcrop have you?”
Hoku shook her head, “My father was so protective with us girls, no village boys dared to talk to me openly. I cannot think of marriage at the moment when my village is in danger. I just hope my family will be safe now I have left them behind.”
Tauranga - Fishing ground
Tohunga - Holy man, witch doctor.