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Maori People

  • Date Submitted: 12/25/2013 07:00 AM
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The Maori People

The Maori people are the natives of New Zealand, or Aotearoa as they call the country. The word Aotearoa means ”long white cloud” in Maori language. Originally the Maoris are Polynesians who arrived to New Zealand in two waves of immigration. The first group came by canoes approximately 800 AD and the other arrived in 1300 AD. They have a rich culture and are well known for their art and tattoos. In 1769 the British explorer James Cook sat his foot on New Zealand and clamed it for Great Britain. A few years later, Europeans began to settle in the new British colony. Today the Maoris represent 14.6% of the total population of 4.3 million inhabitants. The purpose of this essay is to learn more about the New Zealand natives and how the colonization of their country has affected them.  

The early Maori culture was characterized by warfare between tribes and probable cannibalism. They lived in villages and subsisted on hunting, fishing and cultivation of sweet potatoes and taro, which is a root and leaf vegetable. As mentioned earlier, afore mentioned the Maoris are today known for amongst others their tattoos. This art form has been a part of their culture for over a thousand years. They also decorated their houses and canoes by carving patterns into the wood.  
The Maori society was divided into tribes, hapu, which was lead by a chief, rangatia. The chief represented his tribe and its ownership of the land it inhabited. The Maori culture remained uninfluenced by the Western culture for a long time, which has allowed it to grow and develop independently until the beginning of the 1800’s.
Before the white man, pakhea, arrived they did not have a written language. The Maori people orally passed on their legends and history from generation to generation. One of their legends conveys the story of their arrival to Aorearoa. It tells that they originated in a mysterious country by the name Hawaiki, not to be mistaken for Hawaii. Today scientists...


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