Hāhara was always a bustling village. It’s valley had always been one of the more populous and it’s chiefdom one of the most prominent political heavyweights in the affairs of the Central Islands.
Today it finds itself an even more bustling than usual, with all able bodied men, women, and children, at work. Small armies work the taro and kumara fields, climbing coconut and breadfruit trees, diving along the coast, hunting marine life sheltering in the reef, out at sea netting tuna and mackerel. The valley hummed with energetic anticipation, and the most energetic place in the valley was the chief’s yard where the most vital work was taking place.
“All this preparation for what?” exclaimed Roimata, storming through rows of earth ovens and pits, “The wild ambitions of a man who’s eyes are larger than his capability!”
Roimata, the chief’s wife, was surrounded by villagers trying to avoid her ire, busying themselves with cooking duties, digging earth ovens, smoking fish and eel, husking coconuts, peeling taro and kūmara. Normal kitchen duties perhaps, but on a scale never before seen anywhere in the archipelago.
She continued shouting, “All this work and what good will it do but anger our enemies and isolate our allies?”
Her husband, Te Paea, rushed in to embrace her assuringly, “My love, we have the honor of setting in motion what our ancestors have prepared for. The chiefly families from all over are already on the way here to witness our moment!” He directed her attention to the bustling valley around them, “When we declare our marae, the seat of communion with our ancestors and the Gods, the supreme marae over all the others and the center of the spiritual world, our descendants will sing us praise for eternity, and we shall have honored our ancestors on a level never before achieved and will not be achieved again for decades, maybe centuries.
“You had better be prepared for what’s coming,” Temper soothed… mostly, Roimata returns to keeping the kitchen help on their heels.
Over the valley, the faint drumming of approaching chiefs could be heard.