Hina-Akapirau: Hina the Pus

Once upon a time there was a woman on Magareva named Hina-Akapirau which means, Hina the Pus. She was named this because she had disease and she was covered with sores and pus. However, at night she was beautiful because of magic.

One evening a young chief saw her by the side of road and because she was beautiful then he asked her to marry him. She agreed to this as long as he promised to only visit her at night and to leave her during the day. Although her request was strange he agreed to this and they married.

After the people in this chief’s village found out who he had married they were very surprised and they asked him to know why he possibly married such an ugly, diseased woman. Since he only saw her at night when she was beautiful he did not believe that she was ever ugly. The people told him that what he had to do was go and visit her during the day to see for himself.

He went to her during the day to see what she looked like during the day. But each time that he came to her he could not find her. The reason is that there were three paths that led to the house of Hina-Akapirau. Each path was guarded by a bird and when the bird saw someone approaching the bird would fly and warn Hina-Akapirau that someone was coming so she could go and hide. So each time that this young chief came, Hina-Akapirau was hiding.

Another chief went and set up a snare to catch one of the birds. When the bird was caught this other chief went and told this young chief, the husband of Hina-Akapirau, to approach the house of Hina- Akapirau along the path that is named Manu-Kahu. Then he would find Hina-Akapirau. So this young chief went by the path that’s named Manu-Kahu and he came to the house of Hina-Akapirau and saw her asleep, covered with sores and flies. He was so horrified at her appearance that he never went to see her again.

Ethnology of Mangareva: Te Rangi Hiroa [Peter H. Buck]

Revised: March 26, 1997

Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff