Maori View of the
King, Michael. (2004) Te Ao Hurihuri.
Aspects of Maoritanga.
Anna Hughes, Otago Polytechnic 2009
Maori View of the natural world
King, Michael. (2004) Te Ao Hurihuri. Aspects of Maoritanga.
• Maori close, spiritual relationship with the land stemmed from the
traditional concept of the basic origin of mankind deriving from the
loving union of the earthmother, Papa-tu-a-nuku and skyfather,
• The Maori of old accepted the responsibilities of their supernatural
ancestry that made them guardians of the deities that controlled the
relationships among the human, animal, vegetable, insect, reptile,
fish, bird, mineral and spirit worlds.
• Maori fished, hunted and cultivated only to the degree necessary to
secure their well-being, often taking these cues from nature, e.g no
collecting cockles when the moon is just a crest.
The land was regarded as the special
trust and asset of people as a whole.
• Laws of tapu were invoked only to protect well-
defined areas of land, lakes, rivers, waterways or
stretches of seaside from human exploitation.
• TAPU – hard to translate – special, forbidden,
confidential, taboo, restricted.
• Rahui – was a temporary ban on a harvest area or
species when it was discovered that it needed time
to replenish. Could be temporary or permanent.
• In special cases areas may become wahi
tapu (permanent restricted place). In order
to protect people, resources or taoka
• Mauri – life principle, life force, special
• Mahika Kai – Places where traditional food
is produced or procured.
Maori place names
Often commemorate a mass of long-remembered
history, mythology and imagery that illustrates the
close relationship maintained with the land.
The never-ending list of names remains a record of
the passage of generations of men and women,
identifying and preserving scenes of wars, strategems,
turmoil, peace, achievement, failure. They begin with
birth itself and end in death, but always demonstrate
the renewing cycle of life.
Maku + Marhoranui-atea
Takaroa Tumataueka Haumaie-tike-tike
Tane-mahuta Rokomatane Tawhiri-ma-tea
The rest of humanity
Sustainability and Kaitiakitaka
• Kaitiakitanga (Kaitiakitaka – Kai Tahu dialect)
Simplistically translated as Guardianship.
Relates to the relationship manawhenua (people of the land)
have with the natural environment based on whakapapa and
the inter-connectedness of all things.
The development of tikaka (philosophy/practices) based on
sustainable use of resources so that mokopuna (successive
generations) forever would enjoy them came from adjustment
to a new environment on arrival in NZ and readjustment as
new people arrived.
Working together on
sustainability issues in NZ
• Te Tiri o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi is a
model for collaborative sustainability in New
• The principles of the Treaty are a model for
working together to sustain our environment,
people, culture and livelihood in NZ
• KTKO – Kai Tahu ki Otago is a runaka owned
company who consult on conversation issues
• Maori have a relationship with DOC and work
together on conversation issues
• Maori also have a relationship with MoF (Ministry
This is a work in progress…
• A number of people are looking at the Maori
culture and sustainability in NZ.
• This is as far as I have got with it as it really needs
• Please feel free to contact me with any relevant
information or sources of information you have on
Maori and sustainability. Thanks