Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Opening the door to a hidden community

The Maori people are, traditionally, a hidden and secretive tribe that still spread their living style across New Zealand. The Maori people of New Zealand arrived in New Zealand in waves from Eastern Polynesia and they are only one branch of the Polynesian tribal family that spreads across New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and The Cook Islands. The Polynesian's are an incredibly proud group of people and they will never let their traditions die out, there will always be families that have descended from tribal people and they will be proud to keep that tradition alive.

Over several centuries in isolation, the Maori people developed their own unique culture, language, a rich mythology, distinctive crafts and performing arts. The most well known of these performing arts would be the Haka, performed by the New Zealand National rugby team before each game. The Haka was performed by the Maori before battle as a challenge to their opponents. It can also be used as welcome into the Maori community. At the recent Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the teams were all welcomed by the Maori people with their own unique Haka performance.

With the arrival of Europeans to New Zealand in the 17th century, came enormous change to the Maori people and their culture. They gradually adopted some of the aspects of Western living. In 2010, there was an estimated 660,000 Maori people in New Zealand, making up about 15% of the total population of New Zealand.

With hope, I expect that the tribal traditions will live on as it will be a sad day when the fade.