Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Haka and The Maori People of New Zealand

 Dear Readers,
I'm back at my desk but am still jet lagged. I'm running this earlier blog entry about a trip to New Zealand. I hope you enjoy it, Cecilia


Our cruise ship (Sapphire Princess) visited Tauranga on Feb. 12, but when we disembarked, we proceeded to Rotorua to a Maori Village which included geysers, and hot springs. We saw Maori traditional homes, food storage houses, meeting house, etc. This was very interesting to me. I had such limited knowledge of the Maori people; the little I knew I picked up from movies like The Whalerider (great movie, by the way). In my ignorance, I even mixed them up with the Aborigines of Australia - since in my ignorance, I couldn't keep Australia and New Zealand apart - they were these English-speaking countries somewhere down South. So there I was, not knowing what to expect.

Well, finally I got it straight in my head that the Maori are of Polynesian stock, that they had 7 ancestors who came by long boat from Hawiiki, a place in Polynesia that no longer exists. (In my ignorance, I thought the Maori ancestors had come from Hawaii - no, Hawiiki is another place, although the Hawaiians and Maori are related.).

The Maori settled in what is now New Zealand, and apparently they were warlike people who built fortresses and war canoes/boats (85 feet long). Their traditional war dance and chant, the Haka, is a rousing dance that involves making the eyes big and thrusting the tongue out. New Zealand's rugby team, the All Blacks, perform the Haka before their games. The Haka is fascinating and you can view various versions in You Tube. Here's one done by the All Blacks.

Here's the Maori with English translation of the Haka chant:

Ka mate Ka mate
It is death It is death
Ka ora Ka ora
It is life It is life
Ka mate Ka mate
It is death It is death
Ka ora Ka ora
It is life It is life
Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru
This is the hairy man
Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra
Who caused the sun to shine again for me
Upane Upane
Up the ladder Up the ladder
Upane Kaupane
Up to the top
Whiti te ra
The sun shines!

We saw more Maori artifacts at the Auckland War Memorial Musuem. There is a fantastic 85 feet war boat (for 100 warriors) in there - original, from the 1800s. The musuem has an authentic meeting house, totems, and many other artifacts.

We saw a couple of Maori dance and chant performances. They are generally hefty as a people - not necessarily fat, but big-boned. Some of them are quite beautiful, men included. Their persona is that of fierce people, unlike the softer Hawaiian people.

But they have been subjugated by the English people of New Zealand. The Treaty of Waitangi was legalized theft of their land by the English. This was what happened. The English who brokered the treaty prepared two versions of the Treaty - one in English, and one in Maori. And ... you guessed it: The two versions were different! Here's a record of Maori-onwed land in New Zealand, from the site Network Waitangi Otautahi (http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Port/2470/maori/treaty_violations.html):

- 1840, the Maori owned 66,400,000 acres of land;
- 1852, the Maori owned 34,000,000 acres;
- 1860, they owned 21,400,000 acres;
- 1891, they owned 11,079,486 acres;
- 1911, they owned 7,136,205;
- 1920, 4,787,686 acres;
- 1939, 4,028,903 acres;
- 1975, Maori owned land is 3,000,000 acres.

tags: travel, tourism, New Zealand, Maori, Haka

All for now,

No comments: