The following summer, when Kahu was 3, was dry and dusty on the coast. Koro Apirana was concerned about our drinking water and was considering at one point bringing it in by road tanker. One of the boys suggested that the sweetest water was DB light brown and that the hotel up at Tatapouri would be happy to deliver it for free. Another of the boys added that we have to escort it to Whangara because, for sure, someone would want to do a Burt Reynolds and hijack it.
Into all this rough-and-tumble of our lives, Kahu brought a special radiance. Koro Apirana was as grumpy with her as ever but now that Porourangi was home, and now that wanganga sessions were attracting young boys for him to teach, he seemed to bear less of a grudge against her for being a girl and the eldest grandchild.
“Don’t blame Kahu,” Nanny Flowers used to growl. “If your blood can’t beat my Muriwai blood that’s your lookout.”
“Te mea te mea,” Koro Apirana wuld reply. “Te mea te mea.”
In particular, Koro Apirana had discovered three sons from mana bloodlines to whom he hoped to pass the mantle of knowledge. And from the corner of his eye, he could see that Porourangi and his new whaiaipo, Ana, were growing very fond of each other. Now she didn’t have any Muriwai blood so, you never knew, Porourangi might even come up with a son yet.
Under these conditions, the love which Kahu received from Koro Apirana was the sort that dropped off the edge of the table, like breadcrumbs after everybody else had a big feed. But Kahu didn’t seem to mind. She ran into Koro Apirana’s arms whenever he had time for her and took whatever he was able to give. If he had told her he loved dogs I’m sure she would have barked, “Woof woof”. That’s how much she loved him.