There are actually two characters with this name in my historical adventure novel, Chains of Freedom, so we’ll talk about both of them.
They both belong to the same tribe in New Zealand which is where they get their surname. Huatare is the name of the tribe and would have been the second name of every tribe member, although to them it was less like a surname and more like a tribal identifier.
Wahanui Huatare Sr. Is Kaihaitu’s father and the father of Wahanui Huatare Jr. Sr is already dead before the beginning of the book and forms the backstory but that doesn’t make him less important. The consequences of this man’s actions, teachings and death are felt throughout this story.
He’s a patient man with a thirst for knowledge that he tries to pass onto both his children. He spends a lot of time with Kaihaitu when she’s younger trying to teach her the many responsibilities of his role as tribal leader. He also hopes that by teaching her to learn and think that she’ll carry the tribe through to success in the future. On top of this he spends time teaching his son as well, although this isn’t really mentioned in the book.
There’s plenty of love between Wahanui and his partner in life so his kids grow up in a loving atmosphere and this gives both children a confidence as adults. He obviously dotes on his children, acquiring the two capuchin monkeys for Kai as her coming of age present and making an effort to spend time with them despite how busy he’d have been.
And this brings me to Wahanui Jr. He’s much more like his father than Kai is but with her being the eldest and the only one fully trained when her father dies Kai is allowed to take over the leadership if the tribe. Through her mistakes and the things she learns her younger brother goes on to be a great leader. With her as an advocate of the peace that can exist between the English and Maori cultures.
This is one of those moments where I get to point out some of the research I did. Wahanui Jr is based upon a real person of the same name (pictured to the left), who led a great tribe of Maori and helped bring peace between the natives and the Red coat soldiers that flooded the land. He even sailed to England and spoke to Queen Victoria about the matter.
We don’t really see much of this character in the book as it’s his younger years but it does make it easier to get an idea of what happens next. It melds nicely into the history of the time, where more and more English settlers came and the Maori culture had to suddenly share their land.