The Whale Rider

By Austin Gill and Victor Pedraza

Maori Art

Maori Paintings:

  • "Māori visual art consists primarily of four forms: carving, tattooing (ta moko), weaving and painting. It was rare for any of these to be purely decorative; traditional Māori art was highly spiritual and in a pre-literate society conveyed information about spiritual matters, ancestry, and other culturally important topics."

Maori Tattoos-

  • Ancient Maori artists have always been interested in the natural world. Through the understanding of symbolism and abstract form they depicted nature as movements of measured and cyclic patterns.
  • Maori tattoos are a popular tattoo choice for many men. Although Maori tattoos are mainly worn by men, women do get such tattoos. Maori tattoos can be designed in a variety of different ways. Maori tattoo designs are traditionally done in black ink and vary in size. However, some tattoo artist put their own twist on this type of tattoo so you may see different designs, symbols, and colors.

Maori Architecture

  • In Waikanae, the Whakarongotai meeting house blends colonial architecture and traditional Māori design. Nearby at St Luke’s Church, a stained-glass triptych shows St Luke flanked by Waikanae’s 19th-century chief, Wī Parata, and the missionary Octavius Hadfield.

Maori Wars

  • The cause of all conflict between whites and the Maori people was land. The first conflict occurred in 1845 when Maori Chief Hone Heke attacked the settlement of Russell in the Bay of Islands on the North Island. British forces where sent from Auckland to defeat and capture Heke but the Maori chief and his warriors where skilled in the art of war and it took a local militia, troops rushed in from Australia and the diplomacy of the South Australian governor George Grey to force Hone Heke to sue for peace. This was considered the first Maori War.
  • By 1860 the grab for land again sparked conflict between whites and the Maoris, this time in the Waitara River area. The British with their 1000 troops soon found themselves facing some 20,000 skilled Maori warriers. Again the Australian colonies was asked for urgent assistance. The colonies rallied and sent troops. The colony of Victoria even sent it's entire navy, which comprised the steam corvette HMVS Victoria. New South Wales also sent gun ships to support the troops. At the end of 1862 Governor George Grey again used his diplomatic skills to bring an end to the conflict.
  • Only a year later war broke out again, this time in the Waikato area. And again Australian troops came to the aid of local British forces.
  • Soon after the Waikato war the New Zealand Government decided to form a more permanent force and actively recruited troops from among the Australian colonies. They were offered land in exchange for service in the armed forces. Some 3600 Australians took up the offer. They were formed into the Waikota regiments.

Maori Legends

  • In the early years of European contact little was learned of the extensive body of Maori mythology and tradition. The missionaries, who were in the best position to get information, failed to do so at first, partly because their knowledge of the language was imperfect. Even when they had mastered Maori only a few of them acquired any great knowledge of legendary material, for most missionaries were known to be unsympathetic to Maori beliefs and to have little interest in what were to them at best “puerile beliefs”, and at worst “works of the devil”. Notable exceptions to the general rule were Richard Taylor, who worked in the Taranaki and Wanganui River areas, J. F. Wohlers of the South Island, and William Colenso who had lived both at the Bay of Islands and in Hawke's Bay. The writings of these men are among our best sources for the legends of the areas in which they worked.

Why is it important to study other cultures?

  • It is important to study other cultures because it helps to understand where someone is coming from and what their point of view is. For example, if someone believes in Buddha or Hinduism, it would help to know why they believe in what they believe. As Christians, we must understand people and why they are the way they are so that we can interact with them and win them over to Christianity.
  • Another reason why it is important to study other cultures is because we do not want to offend someone. Offending someone can result in a tremendous conflict on many levels. Everyone was brought up a different way. They were either taught differently or raised differently. It would help to comfort someone and make them feel like their apart of something, rather than make them feel like their excluded.