Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The two weddings (Nos.108/109)

Final chapters


Ahu and Hatiti decided that the siblings Houhia and Rauora should both be married to their partners in the one ceremony and feast for the whole village to celebrate the event. They were virtually twins having been born on the same day both with the same father Ahuahu but chosen completely different partners.   

Whilst Houhia had not yet made love to Tiemi the English scientist, Rauora and Hakeke would find every opportunity to disappear and laugh together on a deserted beach or in the forest on the pretext of fishing together or gathering fruit and other things for their families. This was quite normal for young people at that time. Everyone guessed what they were doing but in the end Hunapo, Moana’s husband suggested one day to Rauora that they should go fishing together.

They talked about the sea and the bait and the weather until Hunapo finally spoke out directly to Rauora.

“You are the chief’s son Rauora, it would be best if Hakeke is not fat with child when you get married.”

Rauora looked down at his feet. “Has she said anything to Moana?”

“She doesn’t need to. Even I can see you both look as though you have been married for years. We can see you are already husband and wife.”

“We could not wait Hunapo. There is no shame in it. We will have a joint wedding ceremony with Tiemi and Houhia in the village after they get married at the pakeha chapel by the priest at the Ngerengere settlement there.”

At this Hunapo looked at Rauora and raised his eyebrows questioningly. Rauora continued “This is because they need to have their marriage registered on a piece of paper by the pakeha officials.”

Hunapo nodded. “Moana still thinks that you should stop seeing Hakeke until the day of the wedding ceremony.”

Rauora thought for a while and nodded sadly. “She is part of me now Hunapo. I always want her to be laughing with me.”

Hunapo shook his head. “I looked after Moana for many weeks before I took her to be my wife after her first husband died. Let Hakeke yearn for you like we did with each other. Let her need you and you need her and then your marriage will be long and happy. Moana is a precious gift for me, so let Hakeke be without you for just a little while…” Hunapo paused and then added “And you will find she will be even more beautiful.”

Rauora nodded glumly unconvinced. 

In the morning before the traditional joint wedding ceremony, arrangements had been made for Tiemi and Houhia to be married at the little mission chapel where Houhia had to promise to love, honour and obey Tiemi. Ahu and Ahuahu attended the service with a few of the village people who were brave enough to enter the building. When the service was over the couple signed the register, Tiemi writing his full name and Houhia marking the space for her name with an H. They had both agreed that she would make this mark instead of a cross as Tiemi explained it was the first letter of her name in his language and Houhia thought it was like a symbol of them both coming together and holding hands. When she said that he knew once again that he had made the right choice and they would be happy together. Already he had cleared some of the land on the property belonging to Ahuahu on the road and a small shack had been built for their home. Tiemi promised Houhia it would be a proper house one day but Houhia thought that it was enormous already with four rooms and an indoor fireplace for cooking with smoke that came out of the chimney on the roof.

After the pakeha ceremony they then returned to Black Sands and the Traditional wedding ceremony and feast began for Ahuahu’s two youngest children. Most of the village were in attendance in accordance with the Maori custom and Tiemi was dressed up in Maori clothes.

Ikawhenua and his wife, Horowai’s grandparents were brought down to the main village from the Hot Springs. The old man sat by Ahuahu’s side and whispered to him. “Ahuahu, we have done as much as we can to protect our land, we must leave it to the young ones now to keep it safe.”

Their heads were almost touching as they remembered the past and spoke of their hopes for the future as the young people danced and the newly married couples looked at each other with longing.

Tiemi was somewhat overwhelmed as he had been dressed up in traditional Maori cloak and held the symbolic warriors weapons. “You look very fierce Tiemi,” Houhia said “will you protect me and the whole village as well?”

“Can I put them down now?” he asked and she laughed, nodding and beckoned Tangaroa to relieve Tiemi of them.

“If you are not doing anything later I will show you how to use them” Tangaroa said as Houhia burst out laughing and whispered “Good, Tiemi has nothing planned.” Tangaroa then slapped Tiemi on the back and said “No, I just remembered Horowai wants me home tonight. You will have to work how to use your weapon by yourself.” He then roared with laughter again and called out as he walked away “But we can go fishing tomorrow…early.”

Houhia looked into Tiemi’s eyes, “Men like to joke at the wedding when we leave our old lives behind.”

Meanwhile Rauora sat with Hakeke and held her hand. “You have not eaten anything, Hakeke. Do you not want some fruit?”

Hakeke looked into his eyes, “I feel a little sick” then smiled a weak shy smile “Rauora, I think you have given me all I need.” She paused swallowed and then went on, “I did not think there would be three of us quite so soon.”

Rauora beamed all over his face and with his fingers played with Hakeke’s counting them and running his index finger over her palm. Hunapo came up and rubbed noses with them both and said to them, “I will not moan at you any more. You can have your babies now.” With that they all laughed.

 

Afterword.

This is the last chapter of the Ahu saga. I would like to think that there were a few communities like Black Sands that kept their own identity but sadly most of the land was stolen or the owners were cheated out of it. The Maori were a conquered nation and it has taken many years for a small proportion of the land to be returned to the original inhabitant’s descendants. However their language, art and customs are still alive despite the lives lost and the tears that have been shed. This story and characters in it are fiction and I thank the Maori nation for providing the stimulus for this saga.

Although we leave Ahu and Ahuahu at this point the teller of traditional Maori stories, Mahuika the widow from Rocky Outcrop, who we have  met before will be starting a series of her tales soon as she tells the children in the villages about their past.

 

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking us on this journey! Over here in the States, we know very little about the Maori. In fact, I'd venture most Americans know nothing at all.

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  2. LOL that Rauora has his doubts.

    This was a sweet and beautiful end to the series. I've really enjoyed reading the whole way through.

    So... what else you got going? ;)

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  3. Although I didn't read all the chapters but I am glad I learned bits of the culture of the Maori. Thank you for that.

    Does this mean there'll be new series? ;)

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