New Zealand is an archipelago country located southeast of Australia. New Zealand has two large islands, the North Island and South Island. Because of its remoteness, New Zealand was the last island to be inhabited by humans. The Maori tribe were the first people to settle in New Zealand. They are thought to have come from Hawaiki over 1,000 years ago. Maori means “a normal human being.” The Maori tribe speaks Māori. The Māori language is categorized as an Eastern Polynesian language. Maori people have a wide range of expertise; one of them is make a carved wooden boat (canoe).
The Maori tribe has a very diverse culture which is important in New Zealand. This is seen in the New Zealand flag, which has a Maori illustration on it. In addition, a traditional Maori dance, called the Haka dance, was used as the opening dance at an international sports event. In addition to the Haka dance, Maori tribe also has a very well-known culture, including:
- Art Tattoos
For the Maori people, the art of tattooing has a special meaning. Men usually have tattoos on their face, legs, or behind, while women have tattoos on their lips, chin or back of the neck. The tattooing tool is made from sea shells and shaped like a knife or a chisel, and the ink comes from plants and wood charcoal.
- Weaving Arts
The weaving tradition originated about 2,000 years ago. Maori use their weaving skills to make korowai (coats), kete (baskets) and whariki (mats). The weaving materials are from New Zealand flax (Harakeke)
The Maori are well known for their carving, called whakairo. Whakairo is an art form that conveys special meaning. They make many different kinds of carving, including jewelry, weapons, and musical instruments, as well as decorative panels for the buildings in the village.
The Maori used to be cannibals. However, due to modern civilization, cannibalism is no longer practiced. They have several myths and legends. One of the most famous legends is Paikea. It is the origin of the Maori tribe, which tells how the Maori ancestors traveled to New Zealand on a shark. This legend has been turned into a film and has won awards.
Maori people have have several gods, including Tanemahuta (god of the forest), Tangaroa (god of the sea) and Lo, who are the most exalted gods in Maori society. If someone breaks the rules, Maori believe that Atua (evil spirits) will punish him or her.
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