Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Mahuika's Tales No 23 The Birth of Maui
Hekeheke loved being married to Maui and he with her. Once Maui finally realised he really had her as his wife he was very jealous of her especially when he found out that she continued to tell stories to the village children whenever they managed to catch her walking about the village and the children would plead with her to tell them another story about Maui (the Maori superhero, not her husband!)
Hekeheke knew how important it was for her to fit in with the life of the village of Black Sands and she spoke to everyone she met especially when she went to the hot springs which made her feel so at home as she had been born in Rotorua.
She became great friends with Horowai who was the wife of Tangaroa’s who was the man in charge of the springs now that Horowai’s grandfather had died.
Tangaroa suggested that Hekeheke use the meeting hall there to tell the children stories of the past. Hekeheke was delighted and spoke to her husband Maui that night. Maui frowned at her trying to look stern. “Who shall I get to do the cooking and who will warm my bed?”
Hekeheke tried not to laugh but said “I will find someone, let’s hope she will be as good as me”. Maui didn’t know whether she was joking or not but said no more.
Word soon got around that Hekeheke was going to tell stories for the children there and about ten children were all waiting to enter the meeting house when she arrived.
The boys said they wanted to hear about Maui. Hekeheke shook her head, “I cannot talk about my husband, he would be cross,” she said and all the children laughed.
She sat them all down and said “I will tell you about Maui when he was just a new born baby”. And so she began.
Maui was the fifth of his parents' sons but he was born so premature, so weak and underdeveloped that his mother the goddess Taranga did not think it was possible for him to survive. So weeping with utter sadness she placed her cheek against his face to say goodbye then wrapped his little dying body in a knot of her hair that she had cut off and placed his body into the surf to be left to the care of the gods of the sea.
As you know Maui’s full name that he is now known by is Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga or 'Maui, the topknot of Taranga. As the tide was on the ebb the little bundle was washed out to sea almost certain never to be seen again. Some seaweed in the water gathered round the bundle as if to protect him and it floated away until the tide washed him back on a different shore far, far away.
There he lay on the shore with other flotsam, the seaweed and a dead jelly fish which has washed up on top of him. All this mess attracted a lot of flies. So many were gathered over the beach that Rangi-nui the old ancestor god and father of the sky ran over to see what had been washed up. He shooed away the flies and the scavenging gulls and poked at the dead jelly fish and found the baby Maui underneath really in a terrible mess but still alive.
Rangi picked him up took him to his home, cleaned him up, and placed Maui in a kete (woven basket) and hung him up from the roof supports to keep him warm and safe from harm. So he looked after him as his son and nursed him through infancy not realizing that he was in fact Maui’s own grandfather. Living with such a powerful god, Maui learned a lot and was not afraid of anybody. He grew up to be a confident and tricky person to deal not afraid of anybody. With his luck right from the start he knew that he could achieve much living with such a powerful person. Later when he became a young man he decided to try to find his mother but I will tell you about that next time.
The children were very pleased with the first story from Hekeheke got her to promise that she would tell them another tale soon. She smiled at them and said “Yes I will, but now I must go home to prepare a meal for my husband, Do you think he will eat a jellyfish?”