Maori Mana Essay

Topics: Māori, New Zealand, Dunedin Pages: 3 (992 words) Published: April 28, 2011
Question: Analyse the concept of mana and provide an example of its application. Tikanga Māori (Māori cultural practices) guides Māori in social relationships and helps them to understand the world. Mana, the “authority, power, control, influence and prestige” (Ka’ai & Higgins 2004: 17) a person has, is one of these concepts. Every aspect of Māori culture is interwoven and their deeply holistic world view (Boyes, 2010a) keeps Māori connected to not only te tana kikokiko, physical aspects of the world, but te taha Wairua, spiritual aspects of the world (Ka’ai & Higgins 2004: 13). Mana whenua (gained from being responsible for a piece of land), mana atua, power extended from the gods, mana tūpuna power passed on from ancestors and mana tāngata, power gained by your achievements, reflects the rich connection Māori have with each other and their environment (Boyes, 2010a). Whakapapa (genealogy) is an intrinsic part of Māori society and the belief that their “people descended from the atua (gods)” (Ka’ai & Higgins 2004: 14) gives great mana to their whakapapa. This rich connection with the physical and spiritual produces a close relationship with the atua and the mana extended from them. The belief that all aspects of the physical world came from the atua, such as Tānemahuta’s forests, means that a person has much mana whenua when they have kaitiakitanga (stewardship) over land (Williams, 2010).

Mana tūpuna and mana tāngata are important in Māori leadership and create a stable relationship between leaders and their people. The eldest or tuakana of a whanua (family) is seen to be more directly related to the atua, and therefore inherited the most mana tūpuna out of their siblings. The kaumatua (family elder) would have much mana tūpuna and be well respected in his family as the most senior descendent (Boyes, 2010d). Usually the kaumatua, Rangatira (clan or hapū leader) or Ariki (iwi or tribe leader) would be tuakana of their whanau (Boyes, 2010b). However mana...
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