Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Maori Flag

Maori Carving

The Maori also known in their own language as Tangata whenua (People of the land) first came to New Zealand in the middle of the 10th century from somewhere in the Pacific islands, but the main migration occured in the 14th century with a great fleet of canoes from what is generally believed to be Hawaiiki. Due to social problems probably caused by overpopulation and shortages of food etc."Kupe" a skilled Polynesian navigator sailed from his homeland to find another country in which to settle. When he first sighted this country it appeared on the horizon as a long white cloud and so was named "Aotearoa" "Land of the Long White Cloud" which is the Maori name for New Zealand to this day. Following Kupe there came a number of canoes. These new inhabitants soon established themselves and mixed with people who it is believed were already here. From this point Maori culture has developed.

Maori Canoe

The maori was a warrior race and spent much of their time at war with other tribes The losers being enslaved or cannibalized.

The Maori had a social structure of tribes and sub-tribes made up of nobility, priests and slaves. Land belonged to the tribe that was often enclosed in a pa or fortified village. A treaty known as the "Treaty of Waitangi" was signed in 1840 between the crown and a number of Maori chiefs, making them British subjects and giving them protection over their lands, forests fisheries and possessions.The demand for land however by European immigrants caused a lot of trouble which caused a few minor battles ending in the Maori wars in (1860-1865) Today the Maori population is increasing and Maori culture is experiencing a flourishing renaissance

Maori carvings

One of the traditional talents of the Maori race is their ability to carve. Carving is done with wood, bone and nephrite which is known locally as green stone a type of jade

Maori Tattoos

When the first European visitors came to New Zealand they were struck by the custom of the then inhabitants (the Maori) of tattooing specially the faces of the men.This was a practice carried out to denote rank and tribal affiliations. It. was carried out by first drawing the intricate patterns on the skin and then carving out grooves with a chisel and mallet into which was inserted the pigment, although the face was the most likely place to be tattooed sometimes other parts of the body were also tattooed. Tattoos were considered to be an attraction to women and to make a warrior look fierce in battle. Women were also often tattooed but to a lesser extent than the men usually on the chin but they may also be tattooed on other parts of the body. The practice started to die out for awhile but seems to be making something of a comeback in modern times.

More carvings

Maori meeting house

Home Back