This story was also posted on the Sunday Scribblings site as their prompt was Myth this week. Hopefully Mahuika will return next week to relieve the teenager Hekeheke of the temporary task she was left with. To find my other stories just click Mahuika on the Labels bar.
Mokoia Island on Lake Rotorua
Having told her first story to the children
while Mahuika was visiting Black Sands, Hekeheke became more confident and
decided to tell a longer story next time. It was one that had always been her
favourite. With all the children gathered around her she began.
time ago there lived a beautiful and high ranking young maiden (puhi) by the name
of Hinemoa, the daughter of a very important chief at the time. They lived at
Owhata on the eastern shores of Lake
Rotorua where I used to live.
Because of her rank, Hinemoa was not permitted to meet young men by herself. A
husband would be chosen for her by her family and their tribe. Many young men
came from far and wide to offer to marry her whose beauty was well known.
However none of the suitors gained the approval to wed her.
On Mokoia Island
in the centre of Lake
Rotorua lived a family of
several brothers. Tutanekai was the youngest of them. His mother had had an
illicit affair with Tuwharetoa who came from another tribe and later Tutanekai was
born. Luckily his mother’s husband was a kind man and agreed to take his wife back
and to raise Tutanekai as his own son as he still loved her and did not want to
give her up.
of the Tutanaki’s elder brothers had declared their love for Hinemoa and set
out to win her hand, but none of them won approval from Hinemoa's people.
visitors came to Hinemoa’s village for meetings many young chiefs saw Hinemoa
and fell in love with her. Tutanekai knew however because of his lowly birth that
he would never win approval from Hinemoa's family. Tutanekai however was
extremely handsome and excelled at the games of the time when the whole village
and their neighbours would come to watch the men compete. It was Tutanekai's skill
in these events and his good looks which caught Hinemoa's eye. She fell in love
with Tutanekai and at each tribal meeting they would search each other out and look
at one another. Sadly they were only able only to convey their feelings through
their secret glances of longing and had never spoken as that was forbidden as
she was puhi.
of them could see any way their love would ever be fulfilled. Tutanekai would
sit on the shores of Mokoia
Island with his friend Tiki
and play sad music on his flute. On very still evenings his music would reach
across the lake to where Hinemoa also sat thinking of him with longing as she
knew that it was him playing. She was full of sadness as knew she could never
marry anyone but Tutanekai. Her family began to suspect she wanted a man they
considered unsuitable and in order to prevent her sneaking away by herself pulled
all the canoes on the lakes edge far from the water as they were too heavy for
her to move by herself.
after night she listened to the music of her would be lover until her heart was
breaking with sadness and she knew she could take no more. It was then she
decided, if she could not use a canoe, she would have to swim. The next night,
she told her people she was going to watch the evening entertainment, but in
fact she headed for the lakefront, after collecting six calabashes from the
cooking house. She rested by the rock named Iri iri kapua while she tied the
calabashes together to form floats.
then slipped in to the water at a beach called Wairerewai and swam for Mokoia
in the dark heading for the sound of the flute being played by Tutanekai. She
finally made it to Mokoia
Island, but she had
become so cold during her swim, she headed straight for a hot pool there named Waikimihia
close to Tutanekai's house.
she had warmed herself, Hinemoa realised she was naked and was too shy to
approach Tutanekai's house without clothes. It so happened at this time
Tutanekai became thirsty, so he sent his servant down to fetch a calabash of
water. The servant had to pass quite close to where Hinemoa sat in the hot
spring warming herself. As he passed the pool, Hinemoa in a gruff voice called
out to him 'Mo wai te wai?' (For whom is the water?) The slave answered; ‘Mo Tutanekai'
(For Tutanekai) 'give it to me' demanded Hinemoa, and as soon as the slave did
so she smashed the calabash on a rock at the side of the pool. When the slave
returned to Tutanekai and told him what had happened, Tutanekai made him go
again. Again Hinemoa challenged the slave and once again smashed the calabash.
time Tutanekai became angry and decided to go down to the pool himself. He
dressed himself, and took a flat weapon made of greenstone called a mere and headed
for the pool. Once there, he challenged whoever was in the pool to show
themselves. No one moved. Hinemoa had shifted under a hanging rock which provided
some protection for her naked body. She stayed there still and quiet. Then,
Tutanekai felt around the edge of the rock and came to where Hinemoa hid. He
grabbed her by her long hair and pulled her clear. 'Who are you and why do you
annoy me?' he cried.
answered, 'I am Hinemoa…I have come...to you'. Tutanekai couldn't believe his
ears. And when she stepped out of the water, he was sure he had never seen such
a beautiful woman in all his life. Tutanekai took off his cloak and wrapped it
about Hinemoa picked her up and took her to his whare to sleep.
next morning the people of the village rose to prepare the morning meal and
remarked that Tutanekai was sleeping late that morning, as he normally was up
first. After a while, his father began to think he might be ill so sent a servant
to check on him. The slave went to Tutanekai's whare and as he peeked in saw
four feet instead of two poking out from beneath the covers. The slave ran back
to report this to his master and was sent back to investigate further. It was
then he recognised Hinemoa. Such was his surprise, he began to call out 'It is
Hinemoa. It is Hinemoa who lies with Tutanekai'.
brothers would not believe the slave, and nor did any one else, but with all
the noise Tutanekai stepped from his house with Hinemoa on his arm. It was then
the people noticed canoes heading toward the island, and knew it was
Hinemoa's family. They feared a battle would be fought and thought Hinemoa
would be taken away from Tutanekai forever.
At this point all the boys listening got excited because they thought there would be a battle.
Upon arrival her father asked where his daughter was. She appeared holding Tutaneki's hand pulling him forward. Her father then accepted that she had chosen Tutanekai herself so there
was much rejoicing between the two tribes and lasting peace maintained between
them as they knew now that the couple were meant for each other.
When Hekeheke finished the story all the
girls looked pleased but the boys were cross as there had not been any fighting.
Once again she realized that each would remember the story for different reasons.
She smiled and was happy with the way she had told the story, but she still wanted Mahuika to come back soon as telling
stories was not easy.