The Māori

Their Language, Warfare, and Religion

by Tim DeMoss and Josh Petrenko

Te Reo Māori: The Tongue of the Maori

* According to a 2001 survey, about 29,000 adults are very fluent in Te Reo Māori

* The language is native to New Zealand

* Often shortened to "Te Reo" or, "The Language"

* The modern Māori alphabet has a total of twenty characters

Traditional Māori Warfare

* Deception was common during wars. One tribe made a whale out of dogskin filled with warriors, a kind of Māori Trojan Horse

* Traditional Māori weapons (below and left) were designed for hand-to-hand combat

* Arranged marriages were sometimes used to secure peace after a war

* Oftentimes the the women and children of the losing tribe were taken as captives, but sometimes they would intermarry with the conquering tribe

Maori Religion and Gods

* traditionally, the supernatural world and natural world were one; there was no word for "religion"

* originally, Papatūānuku (earth mother) and Ranginui (sky father) were locked in an embrace with no space in between. One of their children, Tāne, kicked them apart, making the earth livable (below)

* after the separation of earth and sky, Tāwhirimātea became god of the wind, Tāne became the god of the forest, and Tangaroa became the god of the sea. Rongo became the god of cultivated foods and Haumia became the god of uncultivated foods

* tohunga (right) were the spiritual experts in Māori society