What is a haka and why was it done?
A haka is ceremonial war dance/cry Maori did to intimidate their opponents and recently is performed by New Zealand rugby teams before a game. The first haka were created and done by different Maori tribes as an ancestral war cry. It was done for two reasons.
First of all, it was used to scare opponents. The warriors would use aggressive facial expressions such as bulging eyes and poking their tongues out.
The second reason why they did this was for their own self-esteem. They believe that they were calling upon the god of war to help win the battle.
What traditions do the Maori follow?
There are many Maori traditions. Some Maori traditions involve some traditional arts like carving, weaving, kapa haka (group performance), whaikorero (speech), and moko (tatoo), which are practiced through the country.
There are other Maori traditions which usually take place on a marae (a communal 'plaza' area). A marae has a wharenui (meeting place) and a wharekai (dinning room). Traditions on a marae are powhiris (formal welcoming), whaikoreros, mihimihi (greetings), karakia (prayers) and waiatas (songs)
What is a powhiri and why is it done?
The powhiri is the ritual ceremony of encounter.
Traditionally the process served to discover whether the visiting party were friend or foe, and so its origins lay partly in military necessity. As the ceremony progressed, and after friendly intent was established, it became a formal welcoming of manuhiri (guests) by the tangata whenua (hosts). As the ceremony progresses also, the tapu (saceredness) surrounding manuhiri is removed, and they become one with the tangata whenua.
What gods did the Maori believe in?
The Atua or Gods were at the center of the Maori religion. Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earth mother) were trapped in an eternal embrace. Their children (the departmental gods), Tawhirimatea, Tane, Tangaroa, Rongo, Haumia, were trapped between their parents in eternal darkness, so they decided that they would separate there parents. the children (except Tawhirimatea) tried and failed to separate their parents. Finally Tane decided to use his legs to push the sky apart from the earth.
Tawhirimatea became the god of the wind, Tane god of the forest, Tangaroa god of the sea, Rongo god of cultivated foods and Haumia god of uncultivated foods. Other significant gods were the war gods, Maru, Uenuku and Kahukura.
In Maori tradition on living things were connected through whakapapa. Tane ,the god of the forest, shaped the first woman, Hineahuone, from soil and took her as his wife. They became ancestors of human beings.
There is also another tradition where it is a different god, Tiki, from whom humans descend. There are whakapapa that show how people, birds, fish, trees and natural phenomena are all related.
What is the significance of a ta moko?
A Ta moko is a traditional Maori tattoo, often on the face and is taonga (treasure) to Maori for which the purpose and applications is sacred.
People wear it because each moko contains ancestral tribal messages specific to the wearer. These messages tell the story of the wearer's family and tribal affiliations, and their place in these social structures. A moko’s message also portrays the wearer’s genealogy, knowledge and social standing.
Ta moko declined as an art form during the 20th century, however in recent decades there has been a revival and many Māori now wear ta moko as an expression of cultural pride and integrity.
What is the significance of Waitangi day and why is celebrated?
Every year on the 6th of February, New Zealand marks the day the treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs signed what is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974. It has been so popular it is a public holiday in other countries too.
For some people, Waitangi Day is a holiday. But for many people, especially for Māori, it is the occasion for reflecting on the Treaty. Since the 1970s the style and mood of the commemorations on Waitangi Day have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the place of the Treaty in modern New Zealand.