Maori Tribe – Sienna
The art is curly like the waves on the ocean.
The thread is spinning in the air like a spider web.
To New Zealand they sailed across the seas.
In so much ease.
Plants growing from the ceiling of the sky.
Thread flying in the air as they make their clothes.
Patterns are like never ending stars.
The tattoos are waves on the ocean.
– Sienna Kent, 2016
“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.” – Kahlil Gibran
Map of Aotearoa (New Zealand)
This quote above expresses that we are all connected and in this essay I’m going to write about the connection between my culture and the Maori tribal culture.
The Maori people are based in Aotearoa, known as New Zealand. Their ancestors migrated from Polynesia in the mid 1200’s. The Maoris have an exceptional culture with their own language, lots of complex myths, characteristic crafts and performing arts. Although, Maori’s are unique, we have lots of similarities as well as differences. In the following paragraphs I will share how we are similar and different with clothing, art and food.
Clothes of the Maori tribe helps us compare Maori life to our life. Maori people’s traditional clothing and jewellery was often made from native plants, birds and animal skins. The more effort they put into the way they dressed and appeared, the more popular and well respected they were. This is very much like our society because people who dress up in popular fashions and make themselves look cool or beautiful get a lot of attention from others. We also wear animal skins, like leather from cows and even wear feathery jewellery.
They made their cloaks by hand and added feathers and adornments while weaving the cloaks. They used things from the Earth like swamp mud and bark to make dyes for their cloaks. The Kahu Kuri was the most special cloak worn by the Maori’s because it included strips of dog skin. We don’t wear dog skin or fur because it’s cruel and we have dogs as pets not material, but we do have decorations on our clothes similar to the Maori people. The clothes of Maori people have shown us the similarities and differences between our lives.
Food helps us compare our society to the Maori people. Traditionally Maori people farmed, hunted and gathered their food. Their ancestors brought edible plants from their homeland and they learned special ways to grow the food in the cold temperature of New Zealand. The difference is that Maori people hunt for themselves and we buy food from shops, however we also bring food from different countries which is another similarity.
The Hangi is an earth oven in the ground where they cook meat and their food. It is a very popular tradition for lots Maori friends and family to come together and have a hangi. The hangi for Maori people is very much like Aussie BBQ’s for us. Therefore, the Maori food shows connection to us.
Maori art helps us realise the similarities and the differences to our cultures. One of the popular art traditions for the Maori people is tattooing, they tattoo traditional designs and patterns onto their bodies and faces which is very similar to our culture, as we also like to tattoo our bodies for art but what is different is that it is not very common to tattoo on the face in our culture. Other traditional arts that are similar to us are carving in wood and stone and also painting, what is different is that we don’t use tribal patterns or colours that have symbolic meanings.
Weaving is another form of Maori art and is traditionally done by woman and skilled weavers are prized within their tribes. A Maori proverb says that you should marry a weaver women. A long time ago we were more similar to the Maori weavers in our society because women were the only ones who would sew but now the tradition has changed and now men and women can do most of the same things as each other like sewing. The difference is sewing is not so important in our society, because it is very common for us. Another difference is that we use machines and the Maori women use their hands to weave with special materials.
In conclusion, I’ve compared the similarities and differences between my Australian culture and the Maori tribal culture by sharing information about clothing, food and art and what is similar and different between us in these topics. The Maori tribes have traditions with lots of meaning when it comes to their culture. I’ve learned that we have many things in common and many things that are different between us, they have taught me a lot about having strong traditions and connection with their families and friends and I would love to connect with these things like they do.