Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mahuika's Tales No 16 Hekeheke goes fishing

                                     Muriranga's jawbone

Mahuika and Hekeheke continued to tell stories to the children at Black Sands and they were greeted everywhere they went by the children pointing them out to their parents. One day as they were returning from another visit to the hot springs where they had both bathed in the steaming pools with Horowai and her family, a young man came up to them and nodded politely to Mahuika and asked if Hekeheke would like to go fishing with him later when the tide came in. Hekeheke’s heart skipped a beat as she glanced at him. She noticed he had a serious and worried look in his face and knew at once he was frightened she would say no.

“Do you have a canoe?” She asked.

 He shook his head but answered “I thought we could fish off the rocks”.

She nodded in approval, lowered her eyes so she did not stare at him.

Mahuika then spoke, “What is your name?”

The boy bit his lip and murmured “My parents called me Maui”.

Hekeheke squealed with delight, covered her mouth with embarrassment then said “Mo taku he! I am so sorry, but we have heard so many tales about you.”

Maui blushed too as Hekeheke laughing apologised. “Of course I will come fishing” she said finally looking shamefaced.

Later in the afternoon Maui called for Hekeheke and with a basket under her arm with some fruit to eat they walked down to the beach together.

“My name is not much better than yours” Hekeheke started to say. “So I promise I won’t disappear from sight.”

Maui nodded, “My parents called me Maui as I was the smallest and weakest of their babies. Luckily they didn’t throw me in the ocean.”

“You do not look weak now.” She said as she clambered after him on the rocks.

“All things pass, except the names we are given” He smiled back at her. “Shall I tell you a secret?”

Hekeheke nodded as they settled down and started baiting their lines.

“I saw you when you came the very first day. You didn’t see me. So I asked the god Tangaroa to make you want to live here and not just to visit for a few days.”

Hekeheke nodded. “I feel more at home here. I was born at Rotorua so I love the hot springs. I have been there almost every day.”

“I know.” Maui said simply. “I could not take my eyes off you.” He handed her a line to fish with and then pointing to a deep pool not far off. “There should be fish to catch in that pool ”.

“I thought you were trying to catch me”.

“Am I using the right bait?”

Hekeheke threw her line in and ignored his remark concentrating on observing the pool and taking out some fruit from the basket to offer him.

Finally she said “Do not be in such a hurry Maui. Today we are here to catch fish. Tomorrow who knows what we will catch.”

“All I know is that you are going to be harder to catch than I expected” he replied.

They stayed on the rocks for a couple of hours. They had caught three fish but they both knew that is not what they came for. He had his eyes on her all the time and wanted to reach out to touch her. She noticed how strong his arms were and his long fingers.

As they clambered over the rocks to return to the village a few children who had been spying on them shouted out. “Hekeheke, will you tell us a story?”

“Do you want me to tell a story about Maui? She asked laughing.

The children all cheered and laughed at the joke. Meanwhile Maui sighed to himself and thought that catching Hekeheke would be even more difficult than slowing down the sun. He really wanted her.

Maui just looked longingly at her as they walked back to the village. Hekeheke then told the children a story:

When Maui first returned home to his parents he noticed some people carry some food out of the village. So he asked them who the food was for. “It is for your ancestress Muriranga-whenua” they said.

“Where is her resting place?” he asked.

“Up there on the mountain” they replied.

“I will carry it up there myself” he told them. So each day Maui took the food offerings to the shrine of his dead ancestor and placed them outside the cave on one side.

Muriranga-whenua’s spirit suspected something strange was happening so the next day when she sniffed the air trying to sense if a stranger was approaching her spirit tummy rumbled ready to devour any intruder. She sniffed to north and to the east, then to the south and finally she sniffed to the west and the scent of a man came plainly to her.

“Who is this?” she cried out, “I can smell a member of my family. Luckily you are in the west else I would have eaten you. Is it Maui that has come and why have you tricked me?”

Maui came forward and pointing to the scattered bones in the cave said. “I ask for your jaw bone. I have been told that from it great enchantments can be made by he who possesses it.”

Muriranga-whenua’s spirit cackled with laughter. “Oh, it is yours Maui, I was keeping it for you.”

So Maui returned home with the jawbone.

All the children were satisfied that they had heard another story and ran off. Maui who was carrying the fishing rods then spoke. “I would like that jawbone, Hekeheke.”

Hekeheke turned to him and smiled “You may have it already. Just use it with care.”

For the first time Maui moved close to her and placed his cheek against hers for just a second, but not a word was spoken. Hekeheke knew she should have protested but could not after such a tender gesture.

Maui - Boys name from the mystic and rash Maori superhero 
Hekeheke - Girls name meaning to disappear


  1. aw that was a sweet romance story.

  2. What a great romance they have started. I'm glad she isn't so easily caught, and that he's willing to chase as much as needed. And I really wonder what the mythical Maui wants to do with the jaw bone.