maori

 

new zeland
26.05.18
maori

Originally, the Maoris arrived in New Zealand from Polynesia between the 9th and the 14th centuries. They were decimated by the white invaders in the 19th century. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand on their canoes, simple scooped out tree trunks with an external stabilizer (a second parallel hull that acts as balancer). These canoes allowed them to navigate day after day even in stormy oceans. The Maoris knew how to recognize stars and constellations and how to understand the ocean currents, their direction and to understand where the winds would change. This is why they could navigate through the Pacific Ocean. The Maoris mainly survived thanks to agriculture but they were also anglers, sailors and boat builders. They often lived in fortified villages. The Maoris are fierce and tried with all their might to contrast the English invaders. The first stage of their opposition was in 1840, when they were forced to retire and to remain in the Northern Island, and thereafter in 1860 when they definitely lost their fight and subdued to the invaders. After the colonization they depleted by diseases and alcoholism, until the middle of the 20th century. During the last decades, the Maori were able to rediscover their identity as people, they have started to increase demographically, also thanks to the acknowledgement by the government and a compensation obtained in 1997 to the Maori community for the infringement of the Waitangi Treat of 1840 by the colonizers against the indigenous people. The Maoris believe in their God Tane, who gave the humans three baskets of wisdom, in which the history of creation and many other useful teachings are contained for the humans. The Maoris believe that all living things originate from the Gods and that God is in the rivers, lakes, mountains and trees: everything has a soul (wairua). Some geographical elements in the Northern Island are fundamental reference points and they are sacred for the Maori, such as the river Wanganui and the mountains Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu. These beliefs strengthen their ties to the earth. Funerals are very important moments in the religious life. After death, the body of the dead person is watched over until the burial. Then, the spirit of the dead flies up to the sacred mountain tops and thereafter down into the sea, to emerge again in the Three Kings Islands (small group of islands near the northern tip of the Northern Island) for a final farewell, before reaching the ancestors.

 

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