Effect of Colonisation

Topics: New Zealand, Health care, Health Pages: 5 (1693 words) Published: March 15, 2010
Maori world views were encapsulated in Whakapapa, which provided them with their identity, in Whanau, Hapu, Iwi and Whenua, the land. Their world views also included believing in wairuatanga (spiritual connection to the natural environment), kaitiakitanga, which is that people are linked to all living and non – living things and it is the responsibility of the mankind to safeguard the ecosystem. In addition, they believed in oneness (kotahitanga) and manaakitanga - the ability to care for others (Hikuroa, 2010). According to Durie (as cited in Dew & Davis, 2006) Maori people were able to manage health by sound public health principles. They were able to preserve and store food, maintain clean water supply, have proper sanitation and waste disposal as well as isolating sick from the rest. They also had vast knowledge on medicines and remedies available locally. With these systems in place the Maori population was thriving and supporting population growth. To understand the health disparity and the lower socioeconomic status of the Maori people, the understanding of the process of colonisation becomes necessary. The effect of past trauma to its present effect than becomes quite evident. Colonisation refers to loss of sovereignty from the indigenous people to colonisers. They dominate the indigenous in economic, social, spiritual, political, and psychological ways. The succession of processes involved with colonisation which is universal to all colonised people is, violence, depopulation,dislocation, poverty and cultural repression (Durie, 2001). In other words more succinctly voiced by Churchill (as cited in Reid & Robson, 2007), a process based on dehumanising indigenous people. An erroneous belief of the colonisers that they are superior to the indigenous therefore has superior rights to their territory and resources. This results in loss of land, loss of power, loss of status, loss of language, and loss of culture. A similar pattern of colonisation was evident when British colonised Australia. The aboriginal culture and society was largely destroyed by European settlement. The ethnocentric world view of Europeans that white race, western civilisation and Christianity sat on the top most ladder of mankind made them consider they were superior to others. As a result the first step to civilisation was to establish Christianity amongst the indigenous people. The European missionaries were able to convert both, Maori as well as Aborigines to Christianity (Howe, 1977). *Colonisation and its past and present effect *in New Zealand Colonisation in NZ brought new challenges to Maori, as well as new technology and knowledge. In early days Maori learned how to read and write, traded resources with settlers and also acquired new religion, Christianity. There were initially some gains through contact with the Europeans; however the impact on their traditional lifestyle was such that Maori never recovered their original state of cultural and physical wellbeing (King, 1997). The most unjust of all was the land confiscation which was made legal through two Acts, the New Zealand Settlement Act and the Suppression of Rebellion Act. As a result the Government confiscated three million acres of land. By 1896, only 11,000 acres remained in Maori ownership (Graham, 1997). The Crown had yet again failed to protect the interests of the Maori people and had failed to ensure that they were left with sufficient land for their own sustenance. Loss of land led to altered living environment for Maori. There was decline in housing conditions as they migrated to swampy ground leading to more diseases and deaths. Also reliance on readily available European staples like flour and sugar added to the health woes of the Maori people. Gone were their traditional diets of kūmara, fern root, fish, seals and birds (King, 2000). Unfortunately, the unhealthy eating pattern continues to this century whereby it has contributed to several health...
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