The Maori of New Zealand
The Maori people, the natives of New Zealand, have played a strong
part in the development and success of the small island nation. Their ferocity
and determination won the respect of the colonizing English, and to this day
they are esteemed members of the society. They hold positions in their
government and are in control of their own destinies. Their greetings and
posture when having their picture taken for the outside world is a part of
culture that I would like to discuss.
Years ago, back in the days of rampant imperialism, the English navy
found the part of the world that today is referred to as "down under". They
originally came first to Australia, but it was only a matter of time before New
Zealand, Australia's tiny neighbor, was discovered also. The mighty English,
who at the time was one of the world powers, subjugated the natives of
Australia, the Aborigine people. The Aborigine, having very little technology,
were easily subdued and the land became an English colony, used at first for
its natural resources but also as a exile or prison colony. The lack of
resistance from the natives made it relatively easy for the English to
accomplish their task. This gave the Aborigine absolutely no respect from the
English, and almost to this day are they treated as inferiors, by the English.
This was not the case with the neighboring Maori's.
As stated before, the English eventually found their way to the south,
where the beautiful island lay untouched by foreign hands. They also found
that the island had a native populace just as Australia had had. But one thing
was very different from these natives. The English, thinking that this island
was also theirs for the taking, met heavy resistance from the Maori. Many an
English life was lost at the hands of these fiercesome warriors, and even
though they were outclassed technologically, still did the Maori fight on.
Their persistance and desire to defend their land from the invading outsiders
won them the respect and admiration of the English. Presently, they hold
positions of power in the New Zealand parliament and are regarded as equals
When a Maori takes a picture for the outside world, e.g. for a post card
or tourist, their ferocity and determination are shown in their stance and
posture. They strike a fighting pose, with one arm raised above their heads in
an attack position and the other in front of them, ready to defend their
midsection. The best aspect is their facial expressions. Their tongues are out
and dipped down, while their eyes are open fully, as you might see a crazed
or intense individual do. The stance is tell outsiders that yes, we are mean and
we'll kick your --- if you come and try to take what's ours.
Because the Maori chose to fight the English, it earned them respect
and admiration. They are now in control of their own destiny and have been
since the English came. They send a message out with each and every
postcard, and although the stance has now become more of a show than
reality. its message can still remind us of determination of one tribe of people.