Wairua Maori rua mano = Maori spirituality 2000 : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy at Massey University

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This thesis examines Maori Spirituality as it was in its early form of primal religion and some aspects of what it is today in the new millennium. The paper argues that while Christianity has made a strong hold on Maori Spirituality, never the less, primal belief is very much alive in the midst of the ordinary life of the Maori, especially in the precinct of the Marae. The paper begins by looking at pre-European Maori beliefs and their genesis story which laid down the charter for the dynamic relationships between Maori and their environment as it unfolds in the dramatic myth stories, handed down orally from generation to generation. These stories guide the Maori to an understanding of where they come from, who they are and where they are going. The impact of the arrival of another culture along with Christianity brought about dramatic changes for Maori in their relationship with their ecology, their gods and with one another. Conversion to Christianity was slow and ponderous. The Gospel, introduced by the missionaries, contributed to Maori becoming British subjects but the results were disastrous for Maori. The Treaty, in its Maori text, was signed by most chiefs ceding governance to the British Crown while guaranteeing the chiefs' supremacy over their land and property, their 'tino rangatiratanga. It was the beginning of the end for Maori. By the turn of twentieth century, colonisation, through greed and broken promises, had stripped Maori of their land and their 'tino rangatiratanga'. The Maori population was in a perilous situation and many predicted Maori would soon to be extinct. With the help of modern technology, a new dawn of consciousness became evident as contemporary arts of carving, tukutuku weaving, and painting took shape within the precincts of the Marae. Performing arts also came into their own as formal speeches, waiata, poetry, action songs, poi, and haka served to inspire and encourage the younger generations within the bounds of the Marae, the last bastion of the Maori. The Marae became a pivotal point for Maori survival and spirituality. For over a century the indigenous people of Aotearoa were subjugated and served as a second class citizen within their own country under the rule of the State and Church. However the Anglican Church in New Zealand, in 1990, changed its constitution of 1875 to embrace the Treaty of Waitangi. It meant, for its Maori members that through self-determination, self-propagation and self-supporting activities, their 'tino rangatiratanga', their 'wairua'(spirituality) had finally been achieved, but this is only one section of the community in Aotearoa. The challenge and the hope is that the wider community, especially the governing body, may yet accept 'tino rangatiratanga' for what it is, an expression of Wairua Maori, Maori Spirituality.
Maori spirituality, Maori religion, Maori beliefs, Māori Master's Thesis