Sunday, October 29, 2006

Part III: Signing the Treaty of Waitangi

This is Part III of what I learned at a two day Maori training at a real marae from a real Maori...see previous posts for background.

The British Empire sent a man by the name of Hobson to wheel and deal with the Maori. In six days he had the treaty signed. Hobson relied on two missionaries to translate the treaty. Obviously, the Maori who weren't getting any obvious benefit declined to sign the first draft presented.

"The meeting ended indecisively and the Maori withdrew to the other side fo the Waitangi River to debate throught the night. They sought the advice of the missionary who told them that it would be in their best interests to sign the Treaty. The missionaries had some influence because Christianity had given the Maori a choice of religion. At the time the Maori world was exclusively dominated by tapu (a state of sanction/sacredness) and noa (common state of being).Some say it was because of the wicked cool robes the priest got to wear.

Anyway, the Treaty had a very important clause that the missionary had inserted after these discussions guaranteeing Maori possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other prized possessions. The missionary believed that without this promise, the chiefs would not support the Treaty.

40 Chiefs signed the english version and more than 500 chiefs signed the Maori language version. The Treaty differs betweeen the Maori and the Enlish version, which will be the subject of the next post. I'm really not sure how many more posts there will be. My Maori training differs somewhat from what is on Wikipedia so I'll just keep posting what I learned.

Part IV: Content of the Treaty of Waitangi

Friday, October 20, 2006

Auckland Pictures

I'll get to the Treaty of Waitangi after this three day weekend. But, here's some pictures I took of Auckland.

There are some more pictures located here. Please excuse the rants I have about Auckland city urban design and this city that favors drivers and cars over pedestrians and cyclists. They have a long way to go before becoming a truly livable city. I got honked at twice today for crossing a street, legally. WTF? I miss Portland.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Part II: Te Ao Maori, New Zealand Declaration of Independence

Since I work for a crown entity (the government) everybody is sent to a Maori Bi-Culture training. I was really looking forward to it. The training was at a local Marae (Maori lodge). Very Cool! The workshop focused on the Treaty of Waitangi, the Resource Management Act 1991, consultation (or participation) and Teo Ao Maori (A Maori Worldview). The Marae (lodge) where we were staying had a good relationship with Transit, via a freeway in their backyard, though not quite clear how that worked out, but is a good indication of the importance of the relationship with the Maori.

Let's start from the beginning in 1935 Aotearoa (New Zealand) had 120,000 residents living in tribal areas (rohe). Each rohe consisted of a number of iwi (tribes), hapu (villages) and whanau (families). Each iwi had their own systems and processes of belief, religion deities, government, justice, co-operation and sharing. There were some 500 iwi (tribes) at this time.

At this time Aotearoa was frequented by a number of European colonies settling on the coasts whaling and sealing. This is when the British and French rat race started. Similiar to the US, the Brits won by having 34 tribal leaders sign a Declaration of Independence. Who knew, the US isn't the only colony with a Declaration of Independence, they read very similiarly. At this time the declaration also unified the tribes, established a flag, and thus ships could trade with Australia.

After the declaration came the Treaty of Waitangi, which trumps the declaration and is the subject of the next post. Woohoo! Can't wait!

Part III: Treaty of Waitangi

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Part I: Entry onto the Marae

I'm putting together a few posts to describe the two day Maori training I went to and some of the things I learned.

There was a special ceremony that the Maori performed before they could let us on the marae. We had to be asked via a song to enter the Marae, we (one Maori lady in our group) had to sing back to request entry and then we walked in a group towards the lodge.

We stopped halfway to the door to remember the dead. Then we were let in the lodge after taking off our shoes. The women were in the front when we walked in but then the men took the front seats when we entered the lodge. They put the women up front going towards the lodge (just in case fighting breaks out), but then inside the lodge the men were suppose to protect and sit in the front.

Then there were a lot of songs and prayers in Maori that I couldn't understand, but it sounded sacred. Then the training became more informal. We were laying on mats inside the lodge during the training, between eating the five meals that we were served each day. It was really a great venue for learning about Maori culture, way better than sitting in a hotel conference room! The trainer said we could sleep if we wanted but it was entertaining enough to keep us occupied throughout the training. It also helped to have a roomful of people who were very interested in learning about Maori history. It was an international group (UK, Croatia, Russia, India, Ireland, US and Kiwi) of students all of whom worked in my office.

I learned during the course of the training that gaining entrance into the Marae is one of the most difficult things to do. Though, I don't really understand why. Just hire a consultant who knows the songs and customs. This is what eventually came out of the entire training, plus an extra 4 kilos because of all the food. No really, I'll be posting more on the New Zealand Declaration of Indepence, Treaty of Waitangi and a brief review of current status of Maori/gringo relations. I think the gringo term holds relevance in NZ as well as Costa Rica.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Imagine there's no Heaven: an Atheist's manifesto

I am beginning to realize that religions are dangerous. Check out this video interview of Richard Dawkins author of The God Delusion:

In the An Atheist Manifesto, Sam Harris argues persuasively why religions are dangerous and thus religious tolerance is dangerous.

Adam and I had a very interesting conversation. Adam is initially opposed to organized religions, the ones that are organized enough to impose their morals on election results. I've had this link on this blog before but I've continued to go back and reread this article and realize new ideas and concepts.

Another interesting phenomenon is the documentary film Jesus Camp.

I was reading the lyrics of Imagine by John Lennon. I was reminded of my general opposition to nation-states or the idea of a nation. I would be interested in reading a comparison of religious beliefs and patriotism. My lack of a belief in a nation-state is even more apparent after living in two other countries besides the United States. It doesn't matter where you live as long as you treat people with respect and dignity. I believe that nation-state boundaries prevents us from treating people with respect and dignity at a macro level by imposing trade barriers, employment barriers, etc...

Well, I have a few more thoughts floating around in my head about this subject, but just have a look at some of these links. It would be interesting to hear about somebody else's reaction.