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(1740-1765)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 466-467
Reed & Calman (2008), pp. 18, 259-260
Irwin (1984), pp. 40, 41
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Reed & Calman (2008), pp. 9, 10, 13, 55, 62, 63, 65-66
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Orbell (1998), pp. 9-10
Buck (1952), pp. 431-535, 462-464, 517
Best (1924), pp. 232-336, 299-303
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 460-461, 464-465, 512
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Reed & Calman (2008), pp. 10
Best (1924), pp. 236-237

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Best (1924), pp. 251-252, 257

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living are one factor in determining the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 516
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died do not affect nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 516-519
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Reed & Calman (2008), pp. 32-41
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Marck (1996B), pp. 8
Orbell (1996), pp. 9
Culture hero(es) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 431-535, 465
Best (1924), pp. 232-336

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Irwin (1984), pp. 35-37
Best (1924), pp. 306

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 370
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 16
Best (1924), pp. 390-391
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 345-347

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Keesing (1984), pp. 147, 152
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Orbell (1998), pp. 71
Buck (1952), pp. 343-344
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana and social status Mana is closely linked to social status – only people with high social status can be mana or have mana. (Source)
Orbell (1998), pp. 71
Keesing (1984), pp. 152
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Keesing (1984), pp. 152
Orbell (1998), pp. 72
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 299-301, 387-403, 431-535
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 484-486
Irwin (1984), pp. 68-69
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 346-347, 475-476

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 285, 350-373, 404-430
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 283-301, 353-354
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 283-301
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 296-299, 350-373, 404-430
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Buck (1952), pp. 283-301
Social Environment +
Population 100000 (Source)
King (2003), pp. 90-91
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Sahlins (1958), pp. 155
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)
Latham (1991), pp. 177
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 177

Conflict

Conflict within communities Moderate (Source)
King (2003), pp. 81
Best (1924), pp. 356, 399
Conflict between communities of the culture Common, at least every five years (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 178
Buck (1952), pp. 388
King (2003), pp. 81-84, 90
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
King (2003), pp. 91
Cultural 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)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Moriori) (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 8135.8 (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 and not in region of known contact (Source)
King (2003), pp. 91, 92-101, 102
Reed & Calman (2008), pp. 44
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 16
Best (1924), pp. 425
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 24-27
Best (1924), pp. 425
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 15-16
Best (1924), pp. 425
Land-based gathering Principal (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 177
Orbell (1996), pp. 24-30
Best (1924), pp. 425
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 16

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 16-20
Best (1924), pp. 397
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 16, 20
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 16-20
Best (1924), pp. 397

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Orbell (1996), pp. 20
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

Latitude -39.0 (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 176
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 175.8 (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 176
Google Maps (2014)
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)
Latham (1991), pp. 176
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand North Island) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 2797.0 (Source)
Latham (1991), pp. 176
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand North Island) (2014)
Post Contact History(1765-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
King (2003), pp. 140-149
Orange (1990), pp. 29-35
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
King (2003), pp. 140-149
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
King (2003), pp. 140-149
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
New Zealand Government (1961), pp. 5
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)

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. 156-157, 191, 256-257
Immigration High (Source)
King (2003), pp. 169, 257
Sorrenson (1956), pp. 183
Statistics New Zealand (2013b)
Language shift High (Source)
Statistics New Zealand (2013b)
King (2003), pp. 359-360, 470, 474
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand) (2014)
Central Intelligence Agency (New Zealand) (2014)
Statistics New Zealand (2013b), pp. 6

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence High (Source)
King (2003), pp. 244, 248, 470-474
Statistics New Zealand (2013b), pp. 15-17
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
King (2003), pp. 121-123, 125, 135-136, 187, 336, 471

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand) (2014)
Air travel Present and long-distance (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand) (2014)
Sea port Present (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand) (2014)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
King (2003), pp. 156-167
Binney (2009), pp. 46, 68-213, 328-395, 572-595
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
King (2003), pp. 156-157, 191-223, 256-257
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Institutional religious syncretism High (Source)
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)
King (2003), pp. 218
Binney (1990)
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Statistics New Zealand (2013a)
External Links
References
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.

Binney, J. (2009). Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921. Wellington, NZ: Bridget Williams Books.

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

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. 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

Central Intelligence Agency (New Zealand). (2014). The World Factbook: New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/nz.html

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.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Moriori). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/392394/Moriori.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand North Island) (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/419270/North-Island

Encyclopaedia Britannica (New Zealand). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/412636/New-Zealand

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

Irwin, J. (1984). An Introduction to Maori Religion. Bedford Park, South Australia: Australian Association for the Study of Religions at the Australian College of Advanced Education.

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.

Lewthwaite, G. (1950). The population of Aotearoa: its number and distribution. New Zealand Geographer, 6(1), 35-52.

Marck, J. (1996B). Was there an Early Polynesian 'Sky Father'? The Journal of Pacific History, 31 (1), 8-26. DOI: 10.1080/00223349608572803.

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

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.

Orbell, M. (1998). A Concise Encyclopaedia of Maori Myth and Legend. Christchurch, NZ: University Press.

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

Reed, A.W. (2008). Raupo Book of Maori Mythology. Auckland, NZ: Penguin Group.

Sahlins, M. D. (1958). Social stratification in Polynesia. Seattle, WA: University of Washington 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.

Simpson, J. (1997). "Io as Supreme Being: Intellectual Colonisation of the Maori?" History of Religions, 37 (1), 50-85. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3176563

Sorrenson, M.P.K. (1956). Land Purchase Methods and their Effect on the Maori Population 1865-1901. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 65 (3), 183-199. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20703557

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