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Culture Paper - The Māoris of New Zealand

            I come from the land of the long white cloud and I am proud to be Māori, the natives of New Zealand. Facial expressions are a big part of my culture. We use the 'pukana' a fierce look staring wildly with dilated eyes as an expression to show your inner spirit being released. It can be frightening and both female and males use these facial expressions while we do our performing arts (Kapa Haka). Males are allowed to stick their tongue out while the woman is not. Because of customs within our culture, women are sacred and are limited to doing things that men aren't depending on which tribe you come from. I grew up performing my culture through Kapa Haka as a little girl and doing the pukana was a norm. It impacts my life in a way that defines me. As a culture, we believe that there is one main God, but then there are sub-gods if thats how you would describe it in English. We are very spiritual people who are rich in song, dance, carving, and weaving. One belief I'm going to share is when we go out diving for seafood like, fish, oysters, crayfish, mussels, and cockles, you have to give your first catch back to the sea (Tangoaroa, God of the Sea). We pay our respects to our Gods in ways like this because it shows that we acknowledge him and are thankful as he sacrifices his 'children' (seafood) for us to live. We have people who respect this belief, but then there are poachers who abuse their authority and take more than what they need. If we want our kaimoana (seafood) to be plentiful in years to come, we have to pay our respects to Tangaroa and give your first catch of the day back and only take what you need. .
             Māori people believe in sacred (tapu) things, object, and spirits. Once someone dies, their body becomes tapu (sacred) and we then take them back to the Marae (sacred meeting house). The purpose of this is so that we can remember and celebrate the life the deceased once lived.

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