Maori culture is an integral component of New Zealand heritage and encompasses carving, weaving, kapa haka (group performance), whaikorero (oratory), and moko.
Maori peoples share an ancient spiritual relationship with their rivers (aka ‘awa), often symbolised by water monsters known as taniwha. For Maori people living along the Waikato River it serves as both source of life and nourishment and therefore is considered their “tupuna” or ancestor.
What is Maori?
Maori refers to the Polynesian people living throughout New Zealand, who possess a unique culture and language which are still widely spoken today.
Maori people define themselves primarily through iwi (tribe), hapu (sub-tribe), maunga (mountain), and awa (river). Maori also place great importance on family; this includes immediate members as well as all those connected by blood ties.
Maori culture holds another important term known as mana (meaning power or prestige), which can either be amplified or diminished depending on who holds power in society. Mana can either be strengthened or diminished depending on who holds authority.
Maori people also practice an ancient greeting known as hongi that involves pressing foreheads together while closing eyes and inhaling deeply – an expression of their shared spiritual bonds between each person present. This gesture allows Maori people to exchange soulful connection while uniting spirit souls together.
Maori settlements were generally comprised of small temporary camps of one to several people, as well as larger villages or forts along or near Template:Convert of the coast.
Port Levy or Koukourarata was an area south of Port Cooper that served as a centre of Maori culture, used frequently by Moki for detaining prisoners during his conquest of Banks Peninsula for Ngai Tahu Tribe.
Maori began building community houses known as wharepuni around 1500, equipped with storehouses and large kitchens called kautas. Furthermore, large meeting houses called whare whakairo were constructed.
Maori people viewed the land as an invaluable source of health and wellbeing, viewing it as an agent in spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. Caring for it involved longstanding responsibilities including guardianship of resources as well as considering its role as an arena to foster spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing.
Maori warfare was an integral component of Maori culture and they engaged in battle regularly against each other and other tribes to defend their villages from any potential danger.
Maori warriors were trained in hand-to-hand combat using taiaha and patu weapons, as well as wearing protective helmets (sahu).
Warfare between different Maori tribes and subtribes was common; Maori used it as an effective strategy to gain more land, food, and mana for themselves.
Some iwi, however, battled one another using long-range weapons such as Muskets, Flintlock Rifles, and Double Barreled Guns introduced into Maori society during the nineteenth century.
While many iwi were willing to engage in short battles against other groups, many were less keen on engaging in prolonged conflicts. Because of this, Maori defences, or pas, were developed in order to stop enemy attacks – including shelter dug-outs and entrenchments designed to resist any attempt by them at attack from outside groups. They even developed their own form of war dance called haka which they performed before battles to show pride, unity and strength.
As Maori settled into the Blind River region, they established new traditions rooted in their ancestral beliefs about nature and its inhabitants.
These beliefs were an integral component of Maori culture and spirituality, and still play an integral part. Their significance can be found throughout Maori traditions through stories and myths that depict Maori life.
Artistic expression has also emerged through carving and tattooing as Maori lifestyle has evolved; one popular form is Ta Moko body art.
Maori villages traditionally were located on high spots such as ridges or spurs for optimal defense purposes. Their surroundings typically sloped downward on all sides from their defensive positions to ensure a secure position against attack.