Lea's hair flows behind her as she glides through the clear water above her community. She looks through the deep waters of the South Pacific. Some distance from any mainland, a beautiful island surfaces. Along the coast, the small town of Teba lies surrounded by a colorful little reef filled with all sorts of animals and plants growing there.
Amazing schools of fish in all shapes and colors are chased by bigger fish, sharks, and large squids. Sea weeds grow from the bottom of the ocean all the way to the surface of the water and others grow from the from the roofs of the sea caves down to the depths along the bottom. Shell fish and crabs skitter over rocks and through grasses chasing after small fish and tiny microscopic creatures.
The life of this small community revolves around the hours of the tides each day. Fisherman wake up early every morning and leave the warmth of their homes to haul in food to sell at the market. Men and women grow fruits, vegetables, and seeds for the market too. Each morning before work, parents come to browse the food, clothes, or home goods for sale and children come to search for new toys or exciting treats.
Teba is in many ways just like other small towns around the world. Store owners sweep the walkway and prepare to open for the day, folding clothing for display or dusting furniture for sale. Piles of juicy fruits and colorful vegetables fill tables and woven hanging baskets in the grocery store. The mouth watering flavor of fresh baked breads and biscuits are arranged in the shop window to attract more customers. Artisans of all kinds work hard to prepare their products to sell.
Children play with small toys made from shells and sea glass that surround the community or pieces of drift wood brought in by the tides. Today, one small boy bounces a pooro ball along the dark stone walkway passing the front of his mother's health care office. Old men sit in the dining room of a restaurant and play table games. They debate world problems and gossip. Old ladies sit and sew or weave and debate the towns problems and gossip about the old men. Older children attend school and complain about their home work. Moms and dads take care of their families, cook dinner, wash laundry, and make the kids clean their rooms.
In a quiet corner of Teba lives the small family Ariki. They are very much like many other families in many other communities. They live in a medium size home in a moderate part of the town. From the outside, their house looks just like all their neighbors houses lined up in a row. Sea grasses cut short lead up to the front entrance and a colorful vegetable patch grows in a circle outside the kitchen window. Flowered curtains can be seen from outside the window and the pathway leading to their home lined with stones is well cared for and neat.
This family eats breakfast together most mornings and takes turns fixing dinner in the evenings. Surrounding their table every night they tell stories of the exciting parts of their day and any news from their neighbors and friends.
Every morning the father goes to his workshop and furniture store. He builds tables and chairs, wardrobes and cupboards in any style or fashion a person can think of. He loves to paint them in bright colors and add decorations of shells or stones he collects around the community. Because most of the houses look the same from the outside, Tebans love to show off their personalities on the inside and Romo happily creates anything a person could want.
The younger two Ariki children, Saun and his little sister Tianna, stay at home with a neighbor while their mom spends the morning at her office. Children in Teba do not attend school until the year they will turn 12. Their parents and family teach them to read and write and basic math. Every child can study whatever parts of science they think are interesting. Because they are home or shopping, they get to know to all different types of people. They can watch a baker making cookies or a builder carving out a new home. They learn from everyone in the community and can choose what they want to be when they grow up. When they start school they will study the skills for their chosen apprenticeship.
The oldest Ariki daughter, Lealeiani, studies about all sorts of places around the world. She learns all about the people who live there, what food they eat, clothes they wear, and what type of King or President they have. She learns about mountains and oceans, engineering and economics. She is most interested in plants and animals and has learned to sing a little of the language of the whales and dolphins that live around Teba.
But most important to Lea's parents is that she study history. In the Ariki family, history is not just stories of too long ago and people nobody remembers. The history of their community is also the history of their family because Moana Ariki, Lea's mom, is the Queen of Teba.
In Teba there are no grand palaces filled with jewels and servants. There are not kilometers of land or knights and armies to support. The Queen of Teba lives just like the other families she serves. She meets dignitaries in her sitting room. She invites Kings and Queens of other communities to eat at home with her family. Just last night she even allowed the president of a neighboring foreign community to help her cook in her kitchen.
President Giomo Manu spent the evening sharing recipes and hilarious stories about his nephew who he hopes will one day be President too. Moana could have the type of life Kings and Queens usually have but like her father before her, she chose to live simply and serve her people.
One day Lealiki will be Queen. The oldest royal child grows up knowing that on their 34th birthday they will take over the job managing the city. It is a great responsibility to be in charge of a community. She will handle the day in and day out running of the city and the one great secret of Teba. It is something that all the Kings and Queens have known since the creation of Teba but few other people have discovered. It is a secret often disastrous to those who learn it because it is so incredible.