Sunday, 30 March 2014

I heard a growl from heaven

I heard a growl from heaven

And a shiver ran through me

Perhaps it was near my time

It was a hell of a time to go

Much too late to make amends

Too soon to heal all wounds

The root of my problem was why?

Should I plan to pack my bags

Or would I burst onto the scene

And joins the motley rows

Slowly pushing forward

And being directed

To those escalators

Either up or down

Or do I still have a choice?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The day the letter came

While she stayed at home

Something was torn from her heart

His letters dried up

Weeks had long gone by

Now she felt winter’s cold grip

Her life was frozen

Rain fell in her heart

That cold fear of loneliness

Drowning all her hope

Sometimes letters come

When they don’t there is still hope 

But what if they do?

Her tears wet the page

Loneliness is a cruel friend

He would not come back

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Life elsewhere

A small slight figure

Almost emaciated

But with a cute charm

I saw her digging

Cunning eyes on the lookout

Searching for treasures

Her life now reduced

To degenerate squalor

Just trying to survive

Where were her parents

A child without her childhood

And just where were we?

Mahuika’s Tales No 30 The Sandfly and the Mosquito

                                     The Sand Fly 

Mahuika once again was at Black Sands with Ahu’s family and she noticed that Maui, Hekeheke’s husband had a swollen face and great red marks on his arms. As she was about to tell her story she said, “Once many, many years ago all creatures lived in harmony but it is said that it was Man that caused the rift between living things and ourselves.”

“The Mosquito and Sand fly have always waged war against man. Sand flies and Mosquitoes are but a feckless lot, as they are at the mercy of the winds; when winds arrive then both Sand flies and Mosquitoes fly to their birthplace where the bracken fern grows for shelter and support. A long long time ago the Ngapuhi people tell us that a new canoe of great size was made through the co-operation of all the creatures on earth. They hauled the great timbers from the forest and many men, animals birds and even insects all played their part in this work. The Sand Fly and the Mosquito were also there doing what they could buzzing around busily. Absolutely no-one was absent. 

All who took part in the strenuous hauling job were well fed, all except the Naeroa (Mosquito) and Namu (Sand fly) tribes who received nothing for their services. They were both so cross they determined to spend their lives tormenting mankind for this snub. Up to this time they had never attacked man before.  Namu the Sand fly and Naeroa the Mosquito talked together to determine how they should punish mankind. "Come friend" said the Sand fly, "Let us go now and attack the Man tribe." But Naeroa the Mosquito shook his head and said, "No, let us await the dark of night. Otherwise he will see us coming and he will be prepared."  The Sand fly was not happy, “I think we should take a mighty army so great that it will confuse them and they will be overcome." The Mosquito buzzed with annoyance: "Better it happen at night for then as we approach him if we will raise our voices he will be confused by the murmuring sounds and strike wildly at us while we are still far off. He will even strike himself while we silently dart in and attack." The Sand fly was indignant, "I can see you are afraid, Naeroa, So I will go alone without you." 

Away went the Sand fly, gathered his people together, and flew off to attack Man with his mighty army. The Sand flies swarmed around the man clung to him and bit him. But as Man felt the attack he turned to defend himself, and vigorously slapped at the army of Sand flies. Because he could see them with one slap of his hand he killed a multitude of Namu’s army. Hundreds of the Sand Fly tribe fell to their death. Those that got away, fled far from where man lived to hide in the sandy wastes and swamps by the sea where man did not go. Namu the Sand fly reported to Naeroa, the Mosquito: "We lost. Nothing remains for us but the drifting waters and the winds of desolate space for neither numbers nor bravery saved us." 

Naeroa the Mosquito and Namu the Sand Fly then sang their lament for the dead Sand Fly heroes who sought to revenge themselves on man. When evening brought darkness to the land, Naeroa the mosquito decided to avenge Sand Flies. He approached Man and buzzed in his ear and Man to ward him off kept slapping in the air, and on his face, his ears, his legs and wherever he thought the insect was. 

The Mosquitoes then approached him from a different direction with the same result, with Man merely striking himself while the mosquitoes escaped each time. During the night Man slapped himself so frequently about his ears that he became quite deaf and his anger against his enemies was great. But now that he could no longer hear, the Mosquito folk attacked him in great numbers and with ferocious onslaught. Nothing was heard save the ceaseless song of the Mosquito folk and the slapping of the hands of Man as he hit himself in vain. Morning came and the face of Man was so swollen that he could no longer see and he had great red marks where not only the mosquitoes had bitten him but where he had slapped himself as well. 

So then the Mosquito army departed having avenged their cousins the Sand Fly folk. Even today war still continues between mankind and his old enemies, the Sand Flies and Naeroa the Mosquitos. The Sandflies will attack you in their land whilst the Mosquitoes will attack you at your home.” 

Maui then spoke, “But why did they pick on me?” At this everyone laughed, but it was Hekeheke who spoke out. “You know why. I said I wanted some reeds to make a basket and when you got them for me the sand fly told the mosquitoes that you were taking their food again and asked them to take revenge.”
However as Maui still looked glum, Ahu said, “I have some ointment that should help but Hekeheke may not like the smell of it, but it will relieve the itching.”

Monday, 24 March 2014

Dum makes amends (Dum tales 15)

                          Dum's grinding stone

Yum hit Dum. Dum had given baby Wah-Wah a piece of meat from an animal that he and Grunt had caught the previous day to chew on even though the baby had no teeth and the baby choked and had thrown up. Yum was furious. Although Dum knew what he done and regretted it, he somehow he had to make amends. Yum however wouldn’t even let him hold Wah-Wah anymore and was very cross. So he went outside the cave and sat sulking trying to think how to make things better.

He saw Dong, Grunt’s wife walking back with her baby who was eating all sorts of stuff now even reaching out to touch things as they passed and stuffing everything he found into his mouth. Dum patted the ground and indicated he wanted to talk to her. As before, Dong looked anxiously around to see if anyone was watching and then sat down with him but at least an arm’s distance from him and looked at him curiously.

Dum told her what had happened. Dong laughed and shook her head. She then explained that new food for the baby had to be chewed up first before giving it to them. She then bowed her head so as not to look at him and said that it could be mixed with some of Yum’s milk too so the baby would accept it more readily.

While she was talking Dong kept on making her fingers move to show what she meant by making very small shapes that could be swallowed by a baby.

Dum then pointed to Dong’s little boy whose name was Bonk. And asked if that was how they started to feed him proper food. Dong nodded her head. She explained that they used some bits of fish that were mixed up with milk or water for him but definitely not with bones. She then cupped her hand to demonstrate and pretended to stir something with her finger in her palm. Dum nodded in understanding.

So Dum got up and patted little Bonk on his head and walked away from the cave toward the beach. Dum had got an idea. It took him some time but at last he found what he was looking for. With a heave he picked up two stones from the beach, a large one that was concave on one side and flat on the other and the other about the size of a hand that was easy to hold even by a woman. Slowly he lugged them back to the cave stopping now and then for a rest and to gather some seeds and nuts as summer was nearly over. When he got there both Dong and Yum were there with their babies. Dong nodded at him but Yum pretended not to see him. But because Wah-Wah had seen him, he called out ‘duh-duh’ to him in recognition. Yum still tried to look cross as clearly she had been speaking to Dong and so nodded at him too but did not pat the ground beside her in forgiveness.

Dum placed his stones on the ground, then came over to them. He first rubbed noses with Wah-Wah who gurgled happily then did the same with Yum. She just grunted and then pointed to the stones questioningly.

He brought them up and placed them on the ground and out of his basket he pulled some seeds. He placed them in the bowl of the large stone and with the small round stone ground them around until they were like dust. He then licked his finger and put it in and tasted the powder, nodding his head. The two women then did the same and tasted the powder.

He then flicked that away and put in a nut with a hard shell and hit it gently with the small stone. It cracked so he picked it up and prised it open with his nails and tossed the nut inside it to Yum to eat then did the same for Dong. When he put in another one he cracked the shell off.  He threw that away, then with the small stone ground the nut kernel into a powder too. Once again the women tasted the ground up nut. This time Yum could see how useful the grinding stone would be. She looked up at him, smiled and patted the ground beside. Dum had been forgiven.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

I have a rival

I have a rival

Who sang his warning early

So she left my bed

The blunt truth did hurt

What response did I have now?

I’m a broken man

Daily grind at my job

Plenty takes my mind off her

Will she forget too?

I’ll see her once more

For it’s only natural

To woo her again

I took her roses

“What if we have a quartet?"

She says smilingly

Saturday, 22 March 2014

To catch that pretty girl's eye

It is difficult

To catch that pretty girl’s eye

And to smile at her

It is difficult

To be the first one to make

That very bold move

It is difficult

To find those pesky buttons

With trembling fingers

It is difficult

Not to want to eat her up

But say words of love

It is difficult

Not to upset her parents

Nor make a mistake

It is difficult

Not to look too nervous

On your wedding day

It is difficult

To have that first argument

And make up after

It is difficult

Not to shed a tear of joy

With the first baby

It is difficult

To farewell to your children

As they leave your home

It is difficult

To lose the one you so love

And not shed a tear

It is difficult

Not to remember the bliss 

Of being married

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

So just what is real?

So just what is real

In this world so false

What is true and authentic?


Only you in springtime

Your smile, blossom in your hair

And love just for me


Nothing spooks me out

I have no phobias or fears

With you by my side


Bless the day you came

Enlisted in this army

Our karass of two


Karass - Kurt Vonnegut invented the term for his novel Cat’s Cradle for a closely linked group of people. A karass of only two is strictly speaking a Duprass, but who is quibbling?

Mahuika's Tales No 29 The Battle of the Birds

                                      The seabirds on their way

Hekeheke and Maui called their baby Tamahika after her late father whom she loved very much. This name is associated with Rotorua where the hot springs and geysers are. It was her way of showing where her family came from. No one was surprised at Black Sands because she was regarded  as one of them now as the village children all loved hearing her tell the stories and the fact that she had been adopted by Ahuahu, the chief's family as she was a friend of Mahuika. Hekeheke had not yet returned to story telling but Mahuika came often to the village to stay a few days to see Ahuahu and his family and especially to see Hekeheke who she loved as a daughter.

When she came there were family gatherings at Ahu and Ahuahu’s home with the whole family sharing a meal and afterwards telling stories.

Mahuika was always called on to tell a story and sometimes one of the other members of the family would tell one too. This night as Hekeheke nursed Tamahika in her arms Mahuika told the story of the battle of the birds. Hekeheke leaned against against Maui with Tamahika in her arms sucking contentedly as Mahuika began her story.

“A long time ago the birds of the air did not have designated areas to live. They lived where they chose and it so happened that some Kawau (cormorants) lived by the sea and found their food there and some lived on the lakes and rivers inland and fished there.

One day the salt water kawau was blown inland and found a lake that was inhabited by a fresh water Kawau. Being polite he did not fish in his lake but waited to be told he could feed there. But the invitation never came so he suggested instead that the other Kawau fly back to the sea with him and fish with him there. So the inland Kawau agreed and followed him out over the land to the sea. Immediately the sea bird dived into the sea and found a fish and offered it to the inland Kawau who swallowed it down but almost choked as it was so spiny on its back and with its fins that stood out that he regurgitated it. “Your food it terrible, it is so much better where I live.”

“What food do you eat there?” asked the sea Kawau.

“Matamoe (eels)” he replied, “They are smooth skinned and easy to swallow. Let’s go back to my place to eat instead.”

So the two Kawau flew back to the lake and when the sea Kawau tasted the Matamoe he said “This is excellent cousin. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if we both were able to fish in each other’s waters. You can have half of my territory and I can have half of yours.”

“No, I do not like the sea, I do not agree”  said the other one.

“In that case", said the sea Kawau crossly, “Before long my family and friends will take this place from you for not sharing it.”

So the sea birds and the land birds prepared to fight each other. The land Kawau managed to get the support of the Kuku (pigeon), Kaka (parrot), Tui (parson bird), as well as the Ruru (owl), Piwakawaka (fantail) and the Pitoitoi (robin) and many more.

When they were all gathered night began to fall and the Pitoitoi said that he would wake everyone first thing in the morning to prevent a surprise attack, then the Koekoe (Cuckoo) said then I will go and if I see them coming and will call Koe-ko-o-o-e so you know that they are approaching. 

At dawn Pitotoi (Robin) woke up all the land birds. Kawau (inland cormorant) went on watch from a tall tree. Then he thought he could see movement of the horizon and sure enough all the birds could hear Koekoe the cuckoo calling out Ko-ko-o-o-e from a distance. Karoro (Seagull) who was in the lead of the invading party called out "Aha, aha" as they do when he heard the Cuckoo who by then started to fly back to be with all the other land birds.

"Who will advance and challenge the enemy?" asked the land Kawau, and the Pirakaraka (fantail) said "I will" so he went and stood awaiting the advancing army flicking his tail from side to side glaring at them and taunting them with his dance. "Tei, tei, tei," he called to them and them flew back to his friends. 

"Who will speak the ritual of war to us," asked the land Karau. So Tui (parson bird) said "I will, but first let the Honge (crow) give the warning but first let Tane-te-waiora herald the sun's rising so it might shine on us. Pipwharauroa (cuckoo) can then conclude the ritual and Kuku (pigeon) make the final response. Thus all the necessary actions were taken. Ruru the owl then led them all into battle with the birds from the sea. He lifted his wooden powhenua (spear) and with his eyes blazing at the sea birds as they advanced called out mockingly, "Come on brave and gallant birds from the sea" and hooted at them. With this the Parera (duck) laughed too and went "Ke-ke-ke, ke-ker". With this jeering and laughing the Kaka (parrot) flew in, glared at the enemy flew up above them with a stone in this claws screeching "Look out, look out, haven't we warned you enough? You don't belong here," and dropped his stone on them. So the battle began but the sea birds had been humiliated by the way even the most unlikely of the land birds had laughed at them as they protected their home especially the Parera (duck) as he kept repeating "Ke-ke-ke-ker (quack-quack-quack-quacking) all the time so in the end they turned and flew away.

They returned to the sea and vowed never to return over the land again except to make their nests on the seashore nearby or islands in the ocean and have stayed there ever since."

The story really pleased the children and even Tiemi the white man who had married Houhia clapped. Mahuika then spoke to the children and said "Remember, each of us has special talents that may seem quite small but when all are used together just as the land birds did can defeat the most menacing enemy."

Then to everyone's surprise Tiemi asked if he could tell a story. Ahuahu nodded saying"Will you tell it in Pakeha talk or Maori?"

"With Houhia by my side I will tell the story in your language and she can correct me if I go wrong. Mahuika's story reminded me of a very old story from a civilisation now long gone about a mouse (kiore) from the country and one from the town, like Auckland." Here Tiemi pointed to the north where the big pakeha port town was.

"A proud and sleek town mouse (kiore) visited his poor scruffy cousin in the country. The country mouse offers the town mouse a meal of simple country fare, some fallen grain he found, and a drink from a puddle outside. His visitor scoffs at this and invites the country mouse back to the city to see how well he lives. Sure enough when in the town mouse's home the two eat like chiefs with bits of cheese, milk to drink and even pieces of fruit and they even nibbled on some cake. However their feast is interrupted by some snuffling and barking at the door and suddenly a dog (kuri) bursts into the room, sees them and chases after them so they have to hide in a hole in the wall. When the dog finally gives up and a goes away the country mouse decides to go home to the country saying "I am sorry cousin, I prefer to eat the fallen seeds and drink rainwater rather to have my head bitten off."

As Tiemi finished Houhia clapped her hands and said, "See, I didn't have to translate a word! And look my town mouse Tiemi, has come to live in the country."

Monday, 17 March 2014

Dum and Grunt's encounter in the forest (Dum tales 14)

It had been a long winter but with the families in the cave huddled together and Dum and Grunt’s hunting animals and the women gathering fish and shellfish they survived.

Grunt did not like Dum’s axe, he preferred his spear the end of which was a sharpened to a point. It had to be sharpened almost every day as even missed throws dulled its point. They both knew the spear was very effective but the axe was more useful for other jobs.

In the end Grunt asked Dum for some flint chips that might be fixed to the end of his spear so that it would not have to be resharpened. Dum looked through his collection but none seemed suitable so once again they returned to the forest to search for the hard flint to work on.

In winter the forest without leaves was less dark and the stream ran fuller and the sound of their movements echoed louder than in the balmy days of summer when even the insects seem to shout out at them muffling their passing.

They were still some way from where the flint was when all of a sudden there was a rustle and a snort of heavy breathing in the bushes and a wild pig all dark and bristly emerged from the bushes and rushed at them. Grunt threw his spear which just deflected from its back but Dum just stood his ground as the animal advanced intent on goring him. When it looked too late to escape Dum raised his axe and brought it down on the pig’s head and fell sideways to avoid the animal crashing into him.

Grunt watched in amazement as the pig continued on and then collapsed a little distant further away. Grunt then retrieved his spear and rushed after the pig and finished it off as it threshed its limbs about trying to get to its feet.

It was a boar and although not fat would feed the cave people for a few days. As they examined it Dum pointed to the tusks and indicated they could make good points to their spears as two were straighter than normal but the others were curved. He then pointed to one straight one for Grunt and one for himself then one curved one to give to Yum and one for Dong. 

Grunt hadn’t seen that far ahead but Dum knew that by taking something back for the women to use or wear would make life very good for the men. Grunt still thought that he should have two tusks and if the Dong wanted the other teeth she could have them. Dum merely indicated they would share everything and looked to the side so his missing eye faced Grunt while he worked out how to take the animal home. This was his way of saying he was disappointed Grunt didn’t want to please his woman. 

Dum knew how much better life was then especially with Spring coming when women’s moods seem to change after the privations of winter and Yum would wash herself again and he might too.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The apple of my eye


I’ll leave the city

Green freedom is what I seek

No cars, ships and planes


I feel so small there

I've been bottled up too much

Squeezed in by dust and noise


Where’s my wicker chair

The plop of fish in the stream?

Fuss I do not need


Goodbye towers grey

There’s a better place to be

To slacken my mind


I'm returning to

The apple of my eye and

In your bosom lay

Saturday, 15 March 2014

As tides ebb away


I see you no more

But I still feel your warm skin

And hear your sweet voice


Just who will respond

To my unanswered prayers

My heart’s still broken


Do you think of me

Or are my tears all unseen

As tides ebb away


My memory fades

I walk with a failing step

But still stumble on


I breathe in your scent

As I lay close by your side

And dream of joys past

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Marriage à-la-mode


She looked in his eyes

Her devotion was so clear

Rings on their fingers


Oh yes, he had faults

At first she was indulgent

But not any more


Smug look on her face

The divorce came through at last

He drowned his sorrows

Mahuika’s Tales No 28 Hekeheke tells how Maui tried to conquer death


Houhia’s time for her baby to be born was very near. However she still told the children stories when she could. One day a little boy asked “Whatever happened to Maui, Hekeheke?”

She put her finger to her lips to stop all the children chattering and then said “I will tell you but it is a sad story”. She then beckoned one of the smaller children from the back to come forward and let her sit down by her and put her left arm round her.

Maui's final task was to try to win immortality for mankind. Hadn’t he managed to tamed the sun by catching in a net to slow it down so man would have more time to work during the day? Surely he could also tame mankind’s permanent night of death?
So he planned an expedition to set off far to the west where there was permanent darkness. He would go to where Hinenui-te-Po, the goddess of death, lay asleep. Somehow he reasoned that he had to enter into her and make her sick and upset her so much that by the time he emerged again from her mouth the goddess would never again have the power to take life away from mankind.
To fulfill this feat Maui was going to enter her womb disguised as a caterpillar crawl up through her body and emerge from her mouth. If he could do this death would never have dominion over humans. As usual on his travels a little bird accompanied him and this time it was a little tiwakawaka or fantail. The bird was there just in case Hineniui-te.Po woke up and saw the bird with a caterpillar close by she would think nothing of it.
Maui discussed the plans for this most daring feat with the bird and when the birds nodded as they do Maui took the magic Jawbone that gave him power to change himself and turned himself into the caterpillar. However the sight of Maui as a caterpillar inching his way over Hine's thigh as she lay sleeping was altogether too much for the little fantail who could not restrain a chirrup of delight and started chasing after him. With a start Hine awoke, realised the plan and crushed the helpless Maui between her thighs.

So Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga died and so death is with us even today. Children, you must live your lives in such a way that when the people of the village say your name, they and your children and your grandchildren remember you with honour.”

The children had not heard the story before. Some were very upset.
“You are leaving us, aren’t you Hekeheke”, said one older girl.
The little girl she was holding turned around to her and hugged her tight.
Hekeheke then said “You all know I am going to have a baby. I am sure that when Mahuika comes to see Ahuahu and his family she will tell you a story when she is here. Then when I have had the baby and feel am ready to tell you more stories again I will let you all know.”

That night as she was cooking a meal for Maui her husband and herself she started to sing a Maori love song:

Maori                                                              English
Ki a koe te tau                                         To you my darling
āku mihi e.                                               my greetings
Ahakoa haere koe ki hea                        No matter where you go
maku rā koe e whai atu e.                        I will follow close behind                      
Ko taku aroha                                          My love
ka ū tonu                                                  Will remain firm

As she was singing Maui came home and hearing her, joined in:

Tēna ra e hine                                         Come my beloved
huri mai rā ki ahau e tau nei                    Turn to me your spouse here
hei, utanga atu,                                        I will support you  
E, I po.                                                     O, at night!

Laughing Hekeheke put aside the cooking and came out to greet him, rubbed noses and said, “You are bad; you know those last words were wrong. You should sing E Ipo’ (meaning My darling).” 

Maui merely went with her inside and then held her, patted her bottom and breathed in the scent of her hair.

The next day Hekeheke went into labor and delivered a baby boy down at the traditional women’s birthing place in the woods. Less and less women were doing that now. Even Houhia had delivered her baby at home with Ahu and Hatiti to help her. However Hekeheke wanted to cling on to the past as long as possible. How could she be a real storyteller unless she had experienced the traditional ways of her people?

To you my Darling” is a modern Maori love song written by Prince Tui Teka (assisted by Ngoi Pewhairangi), who wrote the song about his wife Missy. You can find the song on

Monday, 10 March 2014

Yum's necklet (Dum tales 13)


Everything quietened down in the cave after Yum’s fight with the woman in the fish trap. The woman’s husband would have been cross with Dum had it not been the fact that Grunt and Dum did everything together and he was no match for them. He also knew that his woman was greedy. When he learned that Yum had given her the fish she had taken and merely told her she couldn’t go there anymore he didn’t see a problem. They would manage by themselves somehow.

Yum and Dong continued to go to the beach each day and collected shellfish when there were few fish in the pond. The fish tasted good when put on the fire but the shell fish were better eaten raw. Soon there was a pile of shells outside the cave and Yum had an idea of what to do with them. The ones with the best colours and similar size she collected from the pile and found that if she was careful she could make a hole in the thick part to thread some twine through them and fasten them all together. When she had a number on the string she held them up and looked at the pretty shapes. She then fastened it around her neck and leaned over a rock pool to see what it looked like. She loved it so she made another one and when Dong wandered back up the beach to join her she gave it to her.

Dong wasn’t sure. “Doesn’t Dum like how you look now?” she asked.

Yum laughed “Dum would like me even if I had a smelly fish hanging round my neck. No, this is to please me. Now let me put yours on you too Dong.”

Dong tried unsuccessfully to look at it on herself so Yum pointed to the pool and showed her how to see herself in the water.

Dong looked at herself and saw the necklet and how it emphasized her face and even made her tangled hair look good.

“It is good Yum. It will show that we are friends. You teach me different ways of doing things and now I am even beautiful like you. I like it.”

Image by

Sunday, 9 March 2014

A miss not to miss

She is Paradise

My legs have turned to jelly

How can I catch her?


A miss not to miss

What half baked idea do I have

That she will be mine?


But gifts such as she

Don’t come, not on a platter

That that leaves no option


So I smile at her

Then she raises her eyebrows

I suggest a trip


We celebrate

She wears a cute cotton dress

I wear a big grin

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A kite for his birthday

Home was in Brighton

We lived close to the racecourse

Son had his birthday


It was a fine day

Back in March of ‘sixtyfive

Boy proud of his gift


Family of four

Rugged up against the east wind

Set off to fly kite


Sea billowed southward

Tip to the north attracted gulls

The piers were westward


Kite was soon soaring

And son now had the controls

Kite called out “free me”


Son did as was asked

Kite laughed, set off waving tail

On an adventure


I ran with son in pursuit

Mother wrapped her scarf round neck

Baby closed her eyes


The wind dropped sadly

Kite fell and snagged on a fence

But baby slept on

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Yum is cross (Dum tales 12)

                               The fish that caused the trouble

Yum and Dong went down to the beach soon after the tide started going out to check the fish trap. There were one or two women waiting to look for fish after Yum and Dong had taken theirs. Already in the pool was a woman looking to for fish and tossing them out on the sand nearby. Yum handed Wah-Wah to Dong strode up to the woman and hit and scratched her face. She told the woman to take the fish she had stolen and go and tell her husband to build his own fish trap as she was not allowed in this one anymore. The other women were scared and started to walk away but Yum called them back to look for fish for their families with Dong and herself.

Mahuika's Tales No. 27. Ahuahu tells of Ati and Momoke


Everyone was eager for Ahuahu's next story after his short story about the Rat and the Octopus.
So they all settled down again and waited for him to begin. Houhia's little toddler had tottered over to Ahuahu and had settled in his lap as he started tell the story. 

"Ati was a humble planter who lived a long time ago in the village of Arorangi on Rarotonga. One day when he went to his garden plot he discovered some of his crops were missing. So he visited his neighbors and asked if they had taken anything hoping they would say they had but forget to tell him, but they said no. He even suggested that it was their children or their animals they kept but nobody would admit to it."
"So he went away determined to catch the thieves should they return. So he hid in the bushes nearby and waited for the thief to come back. But despite waiting and trying to keep awake for several nights the thief did not return. Then one night, when there was a full moon, Ati was almost ready to doze off as he was so tired and becoming more convinced that by telling his neighbours the whole village had been warned off scaring the thief, when he heard the sound of splashing and dripping water. He glanced over to the pond that was close to his garden area and saw that it had a mysterious glow about it that was not from the moon. Then suddenly human figures began to emerge from the pool. They were almost like him except that they were white-skinned with white hair and eyelashes. He watched more in amazement than fury as they entered his garden area and uprooted and helped themselves to his kumara and other vegetables. When they had gathered enough they re-entered the pool and disappeared under its water.Ati tried to follow them but could not hold his breath long enough to stay under the water. He didn’t realize the pool was so deep and he had to give up. He then planned how he would capture these white-skins (momoke) the next time there was a full moon."

"Another twentyeight days passed and  Ati lay in the bushes again, but this time he hid near the pool and watched the momoke steal his vegetables. While they were busy he threw a net that he had woven like a big fishing net over the pool to capture the momoke.  When they saw him they rushed back to the pool and jumped in but as there were so many they broke the twine netting and all but one was able to escape. Ati, however was pleased he had caught this one and bundled up his captive still struggling in the net back to his home and made sure it didn’t escape."

"When morning came he took a good look at his captive and realised it was a woman. Not only did she have very fair skin and blonde long hair but even her eyes were pale. However as she was so beautiful he decided to make her his wife. At first she was unhappy about this especially as she could not go outside in the daytime because the sun was so bright that it hurt her eyes and burned her skin. However gradually she became accustomed to living in Ati's world keeping in the shadows and slept with him and eventually she bore him a son."

"Ati thought that they were very happy together. However, one day when Ati came home, he found her crying. She asked him if they could go and visit her parents as she wanted to show them their child. So that night the three of them went down to the pool. Ati held their son and they all took deep breaths before they dived in. Down, down they went but Ati could not hold his breath any longer and had to come again for more air with the baby. He tried again and again but still couldn’t make it. His wife however did not come back again to help them. Eventually, he gave up, and sat by the pool with their son crying and mourning for her knowing she would probably never return to the surface again. He named his son Ati've (which means separation) and sealed off the pool for ever."

Ahuahu had finished his story but went on to say “I expect if you ever go to Rarotonga you will still find a few people that are descended from Ati’ve. However it is so long ago since I was there I do not remember ever seeing anyone so fair. I do remember that the word for their descendants was momoko which meant white person.”   

Here Ahuahu laughed and corrected himself, “No I do not mean white man like Tiemi here, because as you can see that by working outside in the sun it has made him brown almost like one of us.”

Everyone laughed and Houhia bent over Tiemi the former botanist now a farmer and rubbed noses with him. Houhia then came over and talked to Hekeheke.  
"As you can see, Hekeheke I too will soon have my second baby. When is yours due?"

"Very soon Houhia, he is already telling me it won't be long", Hekeheke smiled smiled patting her tummy.

"My first one quietened down before he came, I expect yours will do the same. I do hope I have a girl this time.  My father Ahuahu said that all the women in his life have made his life beautiful so I want that for Tiemi too. But look at Ahuahu now and see how baby Tiemi has fallen asleep on his lap."

 "You don't know how lucky you are, Houhia," Hekeheke replied. 

Houhia then put her arm around Hekeheke in a pakeha gesture, "I am so sorry, I forgot that you lost your father. But you are one of our family now."

It is incredible

It’s incredible

That humans were edible

So many years ago

She was so pensive

Admiring the expensive

Rings in the window

Do not wait to live

Life rushes on, soon you’ll be

Decrepit like me

Monday, 3 March 2014

Dum's stone axe (Dum tales 11)


Dum and Grunt told their wives about the fish trap and said as they had made it they should collect the fish when the tide went out and to tell the other women they could take some too. It took some time for the other women to understand as they would go there when the tide was out and it would be empty. When they saw Yum and Dong carrying back fish each day they got in the habit of following them down to the beach for their share.

Meanwhile Dum and Grunt knowing that the women could find fish on the beach most days would wander off together to explore much further inland where the forest was and the mountains were covered with clouds. Yum was glad he did this as she liked to have some time just with Dong to exchange complaints about their men and have a good laugh.

One day the men had followed the river upstream to see what they could find and it wasn’t long before they came to a forest of trees where it was cool and dark inside. Grunt carried only his wooden spear. Dum had one too but also had one of his bags on his back to put any finds in. They hoped they could find some small animals in the forest.

The terrain got very rugged and apart from the sound of rushing water all birdsong and animal cries had ceased. They cautiously pushed their way through the trees and bushes following the stream where they could. Although his sight was impaired, Dum’s hearing was acute and every now and then he would stop and cover his mouth to indicate to Grunt to keep quiet. Grunt was a bit too noisy for Dum and he felt like hitting him but thought better of that idea.

Suddenly he heard a strange noise. It was the sound of stone hitting stone. Once again he hushed Grunt and indicated that there may be another person in the forest. Grunt strained his ears but shook his head. Dum listened again then pointed to where he thought the sound came from.

Once again indicating they should be quiet he led the way carefully towards the sound. As it got stronger he walked slower and more carefully. Until he turned to Grunt and pointed to himself then in front of him to say there was another person in the forest.

Then they saw him. The man was crouched in a clearing by the stream chipping at stones he had pulled out from the water. Dum and Grunt stared in amazement as the stones he was shaping were laid out on the ground and by their side were some stout sticks that he was trying fix them to with vine stripping. He tried to wedge the stone onto the stick and tie it on with some stripped vine. Eventually he made one hold fast and tried it out by lifting it up and striking against a fallen branch. Where he had chipped the stone sharp on the edge it cut into the wood splitting it. But this did not satisfy him as the cutting stone was now clearly loose on the handle. He threw it down with frustration and gave up, taking a few of the stones he had shaped with him and walking away.

They waited a few minutes then went to see what he had been doing. Dum collected up some of the half made stones and gathered a few more of the hard pebbles from the stream and put them in the bag on his back. He nodded to Grunt as if to say they could go on now. So they continued to look for animals to catch. Further on they sat by the stream again and by the footprints, animals drank there but none came while they watched.

Dum meanwhile wanted to get back home again as he knew where the man had gone wrong. The sharp edged stone should be inserted into the piece of wood after it had been softened by some water. Then it could be tied in with vine strands. He knew he could make a tool and a weapon.