Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Kakas have stopped calling (No. 94)

A story of Ahu and Ahuahu and their family in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts)


Ahuahu the head man at Black Springs liked Hunapo, Moana’s new husband. He could see so much of himself in the young man who was a fisherman like himself that took on Moana in her need after Moana’s husband Paikea had been killed. He could remember many years ago before he himself had married Ahu that the mischievous Moana was just the sort of child he wanted if ever he was married. She was observant and very funny and so independent and self reliant but a terrible tease. Now she had grown out of her bad habits and was a very useful member of the Black Sands community. In fact she was a lot like both he and Ahu had been as they grew up without parents.

Now she had settled down with Hunapo who was kind and generous and had shown his strength by walking up to speak to Moana’s husband Paikea’s family after his death to say that he would look after her. They had agreed as they could see that by agreeing to this, as Paikea’s brother Tui wanted to marry Hekehoru who was Ahuahu’s daughter.

Moana and Hunapo were a good match and utterly devoted to each other. Hunapo was happy to be a father to Moana’s two children by Paikea and soon another baby was on the way, his. It was a boy and Moana wanted to call him after Ahuahu because he was one person that she loved and trusted above all others as she had known him all her life. Hunapo was not so sure he wanted a more popular name. He was worried that people in the village would talk especially as Moana and Ahuahu were not related.  Hunapo thought a lot about the name and after walking through the village in the dark one evening by himself he came back to his whare and said to Moana “We will call the child Huahua”. 

Moana looked doubtfully at him trying to work out what the name meant. She could see Hunapo name in there and Ahu’s and there were certainly the sounds of Ahuahu’s name in there too. Her eyes suddenly opened wide “Isn’t that was they call birds that are stuffed to cook and eat?”

Hunapo looked surprised “Is it? I remember it was the name of an old chief way up in the lands to the north. We can’t have Apoapo can we? That means roll together doesn’t it?”

At this Moana laughed and pulled him down on top of her. “No, that is a not a good name but I think I will talk to my mother and see what she says. She will be down to see him soon from the village where the kakas call”.

Hunapo nodded glumly. “Soon there will be no kakas there. Already the pakeha white men have started cutting the trees for themselves and there are great cleared areas in the forests. Hauku should come and live here instead.”

Moana nodded sadly, “Yes you are right. Her husband Torangi is an old man and cannot work in the forest anymore. He must grieve to see the forest destroyed. I will talk to Ahuahu”.

Hunapo shook his head. “Just be the mother you are. I will talk to Ahuahu”. With that he clasped her to him again and breathed in the milkiness of her body. She looked into his eyes and shook her head, “Another few days Hunapo, then it will be the full moon. We will have so many babies.”

The next day Hunapo spoke to Ahuahu and they agreed that Hunapo should visit Torangi and Hauku and ask them to live in Black Sands. Hunapo then asked Ahuahu about Moana’s wish to have the new baby named after him.

Ahuahu looked doubtful and shook his head at first then smiled “My name means something different where I was born, it means healthy and strong; whereas Ahu’s name means to look after or care for or even to build or heap up. There is nothing wrong in calling your new baby Ahuahu. Ahu and I did look after Moana when she fled from Gannet Island we all made sure she would be a good member of our village. When you see Moana’s mother, talk to her too. Do not be concerned Hunapo. It is not the name but the person inside that counts. Your new child will be loved by everyone.

With that Hunapo relaxed a little. However when he went up the village where the kakas call he was met with the news that Torangi had died the day previously after a long illness. He had not worked in the forest for some time although Hauku’s boys did so now under the pakeha timber cutters.

He told Hauku about Moana’s new baby and that if she wanted she could live in his village by the sea now to help with Moana’s children.

Hauku looked at Hunapo’s eyes and touched him gently on his arm. “What you have asked is a great comfort to me Hunapo. I remember this forest as a young girl and now with all the changes it is time for me to move on again. My sons will continue to work here and earn money from the pakeha. They do so even though I see my homeland being destroyed before my eyes. But it is different for them. I will bring my youngest child Hakeke with me after I have buried Torangi here tomorrow.”

Hauku cried a little more and Hunapo waited respectfully allowing her grief to pour out. As he waited there Hakeke came forward with a bowl of water for him to drink. Hunapo was astounded when he saw her for there in front of him was a smaller version of Moana nodding politely at him. He smiled at her and said “Moana your older sister has just given birth to a baby boy. I hope you can come down and see them soon.”

Hakeke smiled sadly, nodded and took the bowl away after he had finished.

“Hauku, the reason I came today is that we wish to call her new baby Ahuahu and we thought it best you should be aware of this before we tell everyone.”

Hauku looked up and said through her tears “For many years Ahuahu has been like a father to her. It is fitting that you have decided this. Certainly he has been a greater help to her that her father my first husband ever was”.

A few days later afterwards Hauku and Hakeke came down to Black Sands to visit and a big gathering of relatives and friends met to welcome the new little Ahuahu into the village. Despite Hunapo’s concern everyone thought that it was the best name for his and Moana’s child. Even though they weren’t related they were still part of Ahuahu’s family.


  1. I had been wondering how Moana and Hauku were doing. Interesting concerns with the naming of the baby. I love the part where they are changing around Ahuahu's name and come up with unwanted meanings.

  2. This was a wonderful story. Reminds me of the many variations of colloquialism in Spanish - in some countries, "guagua" means baby, in others, the bus!

    I see the logic in not naming the baby something that might stir controversy in the small community. I also mourn the death of those old souls, the trees...

    A most worthy continuation of the saga, Robin! Peace, Amy

  3. Families are built in many different ways..important thing is..they are family..

  4. I enjoyed this. We should take as much care in naming children

  5. Beautiful segment of a beautiful series. Care should always be taken when choosing names. Joan wanted to call Christopher - Paul! Paul Hall! At school - Pawley Hawley! I had to jump on that one pretty quickly; took some doing, I can tell you.

  6. The naming of a child is so important because it's something they will have to live with until they die. I even made sure my children's initials didn't spell out an odd word. Thanks for another wonderful episode.