Also known as: Tangata Whenua

Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. New Zealand was settled from Eastern Polynesia, probably in the thirteenth century. Maori religion involved a pantheon of beings, ranging from powerful departmental gods to local spirits such as taniwha.

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Traditional Culture(1768)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 431-435
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 454-472
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 514, 517
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 460-465
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 454-472

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 434, 455

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 516
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 516-519
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and creationist (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 449-453
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 433-453
Culture hero(es) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 465

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 466

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 345-346
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1959B), pp. 258-262
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 370

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 345-346
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 345-346
Mana and social status Tightly coupled (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 345-346, 350
Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 345-346
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 299-300, 387-403, 431-535
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 484-489
Largest religious community Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 333-334, 475-476
Ballara (1998)
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 473-477

Rites

Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 283-301
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 283-301
Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 285, 350-373, 404-430
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 296-299, 350-373, 404-430
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 283-301, 353-354
Social Environment +
Population 100000 (Source)
Pool (1991), pp. 57
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Ballara (1998), pp. 62
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 177
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 177
Kinship system Hawaiian (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 177
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 369
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 177

Conflict

(No) external warfare Rare or never (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 387-402
King (2003), pp. 91
Conflict within community Moderate (Source)
King (2003), pp. 81
Best (1924), pp. 356, 399
(No) internal warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 388
King (2003), pp. 83-84
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
King (2003), pp. 91
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 650.6 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to nearest continent 1646.0 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
King (2003), pp. 91, 102
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 85-112
Best (1924), pp. 425
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 85-112
Best (1924), pp. 425
Land-based gathering Principal (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 85-86, 92-93
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 85-112
Best (1924), pp. 425
Agriculture / Horticulture Medium (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 89-93
Best (1924), pp. 425

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 106, 211-237
Best (1924), pp. 397
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 106, 211-237
Best (1924), pp. 397
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 106
Best (1924), pp. 425-426

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 20
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 196
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Jones (2007), pp. 76, 78, 101, 200

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Kirch (1984), pp. 21
Island Size (km²) 116219.0 (Source)
'North Island' (2013)
Maximum elevation (meters) 2797.0 (Source)
'North Island' (2013)

Location

Latitude -39.0 (Source)
Pool (1991), pp. 38
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 175.8 (Source)
Pool (1991), pp. 38
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1768-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
King (2003), pp. 140-149
Orange (1990), pp. 33-34
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
King (2003), pp. 131-150
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
New Zealand Government (1961), pp. 5
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
King (2003), pp. 131-150

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Present, and survived to the present day (Source)
Binney (1990)
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
King (2003), pp. 191, 256-257
Immigration High (Source)
King (2003), pp. 169
Language shift High (Source)
King (2003), pp. 477
Statistics New Zealand (2013b)
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Moran et al (2021)

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence High (Source)
King (2003)
Statistics New Zealand (2013b), pp. 15-17
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
King (2003)

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Moran et al (2021)
Air travel Present and long-distance (Source)
Moran et al (2021)
Sea port Present (Source)
Moran et al (2021)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
King (2003), pp. 151-167, 211-224
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
King (2003), pp. 151-167, 211-224, 240-258
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Institutional religious syncretism High (Source)
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)
Binney (1990)
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)
External Links
References
Ballara, A. (1998). Iwi: the dynamics of Māori tribal organisation from c.1769 to c.1945. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press.

Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Best, E. (1924). The Maori (Volume I). Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OZ04%27%29&docId=oz04-001&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

Binney, J. (1988). Ringatu Traditions of Predictive History. The Journal of Pacific History, 23 (2), 169-174. DOI: 10.1080/00223348808572587

Binney, J. (1990). Ancestral Voices: Maori Prophet Leaders. In K. Sinclair (Ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand. Auckland, NZ: Oxford University Press.

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Buck, P. (1952). The Coming of the Maori. Wellington, N.Z.: Maori Purposes Fund Board. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OZ04%27%29&docId=oz04-003&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

Burrows, E. G. (1952). From Value to Ethos on Ifaluk Atoll. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 8 (1), 13-35. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3628551

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Firth, R. (1959B). Economics of the New Zealand Maori. Wellington, N.Z.: R. E. Owen, Govt. Printer.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Jones, K.L. (2007). The Penguin Field Guide to New Zealand Archaeology. London, UK: Penguin Books.

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

King, M. (2003). The Penguin History of New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Penguin.

Kirch, P.V. (1984). The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Latham, C. (1991). Maori. In T. Hays, (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume II: Oceania) (pp 176-179). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Moran, W., Oliver, W. H., Blyth, C. A., Sinclair, K., Dalziel, R., & Vowles, J. (2021). New Zealand. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/New-Zealand.

New Zealand Government (1961). New Zealand Population Census 1961 (Volume 3: Religious Professions). Wellington, NZ: Department of Statistics

North Island (2013). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/North-Island.

Orange, C. (1990). "The Maori and the Crown. In Sinclair, K. (Ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Orbell, M. (1996). The Natural World of the Maori. Auckland, NZ: David Bateman Ltd.

Pool, I. (1991). Te Iwi Maori: A New Zealand Population Past, Present and Future. Auckland: Auckland University Press.

Shawcross, K. (1967). Fern-root, and the total scheme of 18th century Maori food production in agricultural areas. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 330-352.

Statistics New Zealand (2013). "Religious Affiliation by Ethnic Group, 2006 Census." Retrieved from http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE287#

Statistics New Zealand. (2013). "2013 QuickStats about Maori". Retrieved from http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-about-maori-english.aspx