ENGLISH WORDS TO EXPLAIN MAORI CONCEPTS
One of the most difficult aspects for people who were raised outside of Maori Culture is the understanding the Complex Maori Society. Until you can understand the Maori thought process, it is impossible to understand the societal, political and cultural aspirations.
We intend these videos to provide some insight of
the Maori Version and the True meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi
Understanding Tikanga - a good Tauiwi explanation
When a Maori child was born, the tohunga cut the pito (umbilical cord) which, along with the whenua (afterbirth), was laid at a chosen site, either buried in the land or placed under trees or in caves. This fixed the newborn to that place. The land provided a tūrangawaewae (a place to stand, live and be buried) part of tribal identity.
The Understanding of Land
When one says "this is My Land" it is not just a piece of a quarter acre section that comes to mind to the European or American. With land comes so many things. If a Chief gave you and your family "land" that did not mean the land was yours to parcel off and sell like so many Europeans gravely misunderstood. Giving you land albeit in exchange for money, axes, blankets, guns etc. meant that you were now part of the Tribe and had responsibilities as a caretaker to the land and all its gifts (resources). If you were given land you were automatically adopted into the hapu (tribe) no matter what exchange took place.
Europeans thought they "bought" land but in reality the case was the settlor just gave themselves to the tribe. With the gift of land, you had all the obligations as a member of the tribe. Perhaps if the Europeans had understood that, many would not have "bought" or "accepted" the land. Maori had no concept of "selling" land as it would be the equivalent of selling their mother. The land is known as Papatūānuku. She is Maori's Mother Earth figure who gives birth to all things, including people. Trees, birds and animals are born from the land, which then nourishes the people. Imagine the thought of selling your mother; to Maori that was so barbaric a concept they could not understand.