Maori for Dummies
Nir Horowitz 9R
From their exciting culture to their exquisite food, the Maori culture is a mystery to us all. Following the exceptional author Witi Ihimarea, Nir Horowitz takes us through this fascinating culture. The story of a young girl and her special connection to the whales can be traced back to New Zealand, how the Maori’s built it and all of its spectacular cultures and its spectacular history.
Maori Tradition and Culture:
The way that Maori people define themselves is by their iwi, hapu, maunga and awa. The Maori people are the native people of Aotearoa and first arrived here in waka hourua from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki over a thousand years ago. Maori culture is very rich and varied and contains very traditional and contemporary art. The have traditional arts such as carving, weaving, kapa haka, whaikorero and moko are performed around the country. Maori people had very strong oratory skills, as there was no written language used. Performers following their tipuna try to replicate their techniques from hundreds of years ago. Maori is also an oral culture wealthy with stories and legends from years ago. The birthplace of the haka is heavily rooted in the mists of time. It is a folklore and legend reflecting on Maori heritage.
It is sometimes presumed that every cut into Maori carving has a meaning behind it, but in truth most of it is most probably decoration. Due to European settlement, most carving had either been greatly exaggerated or most of it had been lost by the time the Europeans went in to New Zealand. Figures in Maori carving, with very rare exception are not based on religion, but secular. Most carvings on meeting houses are based on important ancestors. Just like the large carved meetinghouse was usually named after an important ancestor, and in most parts of the country it was the symbol and the representative of that ancestor. Spirals are an important element in relief carving. The spiral was commonly a noticeable feature in male Maori tattoos. Spirals are placed between human figures or between the heads of human figures.
There were three conflicts between the Maoris and the British in the 19th Century, the first in 1845-47, and the second in 1860-61, and then, finally, in 1863-66. The third included the participation of the 70th regiment. Three years after the 1861 truce, the Maoris felt that they had not been treated fairly and there was some sympathy amongst the settlers. However, the settlers were determined to support the Government and establish their own rights. The War was not a great one for movement or campaigns, as most of the fighting concerned the capture and destruction of Maori barriers. However, these barriers, or Pahs were well defended, as the 70th (Regiment discovered at the fight at the Great Pah in 1864. It took three years and eight British divisions with local volunteer support before the Maoris were defeated. Following the 1866 peace, the Maoris remained loyal to the Crown and continued to build on their reputation for bravery.
The legend of Maui and the magic fish hook:
Maui was a demi-god, who lived in Hawaiiki. He possessed magic powers that not all of his family knew about. One day when he was very young, he hid in the bottom of his brothers' boat to sneakily go out fishing with them. Once out at sea, Maui was discovered by his brothers, but they were not able to take him back to shore as Maui made use of his magic powers, making the shoreline seem much further away than it was in reality. So the brothers continued rowing, and once they were far out into the ocean Maui dropped his magic fishhook over the side of the boat. But it took a lot of pulling and straining to finally lift out what was the Te Ika a Maui, known today as the North Island of New Zealand. Maui told his...
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