A North Island Fairy Tale 

(Respectfully inspired by, but not based on, Māori folklore of Aotearoa and by Te Reo Māori, with select words in Te Reo)

Rā, the beaming sun, had a lover

Queen of the clouds and of Ua, the rain

Precious Wai that was needed to water the crops 

And when they were together, 

she would happily let fall her drops 

So the village had plenty of Kai to eat

And the rain was warm, and the rainbow sweet

But one hot summer day,

A petulant sea fairy fell in love with the sun, 

And she said to the sea god, Tangaroa, 

Father, I am your favorite daughter 

And my will, will be done!

Reluctantly the doting father put a spell upon the rain queen,

And the rain it did not come.

The coastal breeze got hot and the Onē got dry,

And the people all looked up and they asked each other,

“Why is our Rain Queen impassive and dazed 

Charmed and drifting out to sea, aloft in a haze?”

Then the village united in front of the sacred Marae

And under the light of a full white moon

The Amorangi exclaimed, “we must act, and act soon!” 

Then a holy elder man came forward bearing an Adze

Its blade was made of limestone and its balance was true

And he proceeded to pronounce, what they already knew

“With this tool we cut free our first Waka canoe,

On the day we set sail from Hawaiki, the land of old, 

Now it summons from among us a warrior,

Young, strong, and bold!”

The warriors pushed forward and were rearing to fight,

When the elder set the Adze down and held up his torch light

Over the Rākau Whakapapa, a red pole in the ground 

That was carefully carved into a genealogical tree 

And he traced his ancient finger and over a small Tiki, 

He made his final decree; 

“Kapua the fisherman, our warrior must be.”

Now some called quiet Kapua “the lightening flash,”

Others, “the calm before the storm,”

Because there was torrential rain

On the night that he was born.

But Kapua was shy, and small, and even cute,

And next to him any warrior looked a perfect brute, 

When the men practiced with the Taiaha

He preferred to play his nguru flute.

As a matter of course, 

The warriors all beligerantly protested

And Kapua, who they had liked, 

They all suddenly detested,

The largest warrior, named Mumu,

Balked and cried “is this is a joke?!”

As the elders gave Kapua Pohoi earings

And placed over his skinny shoulders

A Kiwi feather cloak.

Then they painted all his body

With patterns like a fern’s funiculus,

Arana, Kapua’s lover, giggled and said,

“My friend, you look simply ridiculous!”

Kapua tried to talk sense into the elders

But they would have their way

They just said, “it is you my son that has been chosen 

As the man to save the day.”

And with the pressure of the heavens

Resting hard upon his head

The poor and humble fisherman

Wished that he were dead.

Kapua walked down the beach

To hide a single salty tear

And he sang a Waiata as he grabbed his favorite spear,

He waded in the shallows for an unsuspecting grouper

But his gaze was pierced instead, and he fell into a stupor,

As helpless as a child sequestered by surprise

For a Ponaturi had caught him, staring straight into his eyes! 

She meant to sacrifice him to her Taniwha, 

With a less than gentle shove,

But when she looked upon him, she instead fell deep in love!

So she closed upon his mouth, tightly with her lips

And dragged him out into the surf clutching to his hips.

The sea fairy dragged Kapua for miles underwater 

All the way to Tangaroa’s cave,

Where she said to the somber God,

“My father, I have found for you a slave!”

Tangaroa was made happy

By this daughter so astute

Who brought him a decorated warrior,

Who could also play the flute!

And he said, “thank you my child

How might I repay your gift?”

She said, “please let me marry him,

And well, could you also lift

That spell from off the rain queen

For she can have the boisterous Sun

I now love only Kapua, and he is the only one.”

Back on the beach Arana cried

And on her hands and knees 

She wept and wept upon the sand

While all the people of the village 

Rushed to pack their things and move inland,

For dressed in full purple regalia

They could see the rain queen coming,

She was furious and thunderous, 

And now those who remained 

Had dropped their goods and started running

For with her long black hair

And golden crown 

She looked frighteningly stunning!

In a jealous rage she scattered the people’s fires

Casting embers far into the sea

Screaming, “have you all forgotten,

forgotten about ME?!”

In moments all sunlight was blocked,

By her all-commanding presence,

And ever since that night

In the coastal waters

We see bioluminescence.

Arana only stayed there upon that dangerous shore

For she did not want to live, not without Kapua anymore

And if you visit that Tātahi you will see her kneeling there, alone,

Crying when the waves break over her body made of stone.