Maori and Sustainability


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A brief look at some of the sustainability aspects of the Maori culture and practice.

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Maori and Sustainability

  1. 1. Maori View of the natural world King, Michael. (2004) Te Ao Hurihuri. Aspects of Maoritanga. Anna Hughes, Otago Polytechnic 2009
  2. 2. 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, Rangi-nui-tu-nei. • 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.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. • In special cases areas may become wahi tapu (permanent restricted place). In order to protect people, resources or taoka (treasures). • Mauri – life principle, life force, special character. • Mahika Kai – Places where traditional food is produced or procured.
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. Maku + Marhoranui-atea Rakinui Papa-tua-nuku Takaroa Tumataueka Haumaie-tike-tike Tane-mahuta Rokomatane Tawhiri-ma-tea Hine-ahu-one Hine-titama Hine-nui-te-po The rest of humanity
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. Working together on sustainability issues in NZ • Te Tiri o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi is a model for collaborative sustainability in New Zealand. • 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 of Fisheries).
  9. 9. 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 more research. • Please feel free to contact me with any relevant information or sources of information you have on Maori and sustainability. Thanks 