Maori People

By : Kiley Clay

Maori Art

Traditional art

Traditional arts of the Maori people varied, They started carving wood, stones or even bone. They carved geometrical designs in plaiting and weaving, painted designs on wood and on walls of rock shelters. Lastly they also did a lot of tattooing.

Maori Carving

In modern days everything but tattooing is still in full effect and has never died out.

According to some tribes carving was first invented by "Rauru", the son of an ancient ancestor named "Toi".

Legend says he brought back carved slabs after defeating the Ponaturi ( People who lived under the sea). With these slabs he used them for the first carved Maori building.

Recent theories state that the slabs came from Polynesia with the Maori people themselves.

Different types of art

Painted designs- Many Maori people used paint to design patterns on many different things. The designs on buildings, canoes, and cenotaphs are called "Kowhaiwhai".

They also use to draw designs on rocks.

Paint was originally made from soot, the red from red ochre mixed with shark oil!


Maori tattoo was called "Moko". It was different from Polynesian tattoo because the designs were actually cut into the flesh instead of being pricked in.

Some women with tattooed chins may still be seen in many cities or districts.

There were many types of designs the Maori people used. They usually used many lines to portray different things, such as spirals on the chin which was called "pu-kauwae".

pigment used to do to the tattoos was made from soot(obtained from burning kahikatea sometimes mixed with kauri gum.

The tattooing chisel was made from the wing bone of the albatross or from the human bone!.

Maori religion and Gods

Traditional : Maori religion was mainly based on the idea that " All things were thought of as possessing a life force or mauri. For example "Tangaroa" was an ancient fish God who was thought of to be the orgin or ancestor of all the fish.


Tapu- It is a sacred practice. It also involves rules and prohibitions. There are two kinds of Tabu.


Public(communities) * a person, object or place that is Tabu is not not allowed to be touched by humans or sometimes they may not even be approached


In the early 19th century, Many Maori people started to accept and embrace christianity. Very large numbers of people started joining churches. The Church of England and the Roman Catholic. Both of these still highly influence the maori people. In todays world Karakia also known as christian prayer is expected to begin and end maori public gatherings.

Maori Language


-Maori is a Polynesian language

-Since 1987 it has been one of New Zealands official languages.

-In 2001 only about 9 percent of adults could fluently speak the Maori language. Which is about 29,000 adults.

-In 2006 That number has decreased to only about 4 percent.

History of the language

-In the 1800's the Maori language started off as a predominant language of New Zealand. In the later 1860's it became a minority language.

-In the 1800's New Zealand government forbade the teaching of the Maori language in schools and leaned towards more Maoris to learn English.

Problems with the language

-In the 1980's Maori leaders started to notice the loss of their language which led to the Kohanga Reo movement. Which enrolled infants in Maori from infancy to school age.

There was many problems with this movement such as

-loss of older native speakers who knew the language

-lack of educational resources needed to teach

- Supply of good teachers that could teach well