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Tourism and Single Stories in the Maori Culture

Before we started doing our blogs, I had my mind set on having Samoa being my cultural group since I knew more about the culture and stereotypes. But if I did, I wouldn’t have learned anything new from this research. That’s when I decided to do another indigenous group in the South Pacific and chose to focus my research on the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori. With the Maori culture, I have  a basic knowledge of their ways compared to the other cultures in Polynesia. I know about some of their traditional dances such as the Poi dance, the Haka and their stick game. I also know about the, “hongi,” which is a form of greeting that they do and that their Runanga, or meeting houses are covered with carvings of their ancestors that protect their land. Even though I knew all of these things I wanted to learn more and better understand the warriors of New Zealand.

When people think of Maori, some of the things that come to mind are tattoos, rugby, and the Haka. Most people often assume that all Maori men have tattoos on their face, but some of the Maori men that I know do not have any tattoos on their body. Another assumption is that all Maori like rugby and play rugby… I don’t know any Maori that don’t like rugby, but I know that there are people that like other things than rugby. These are some of the single stories that I have found about the Maori people. But one of the stereotypes that I found interesting about the Maori people is that there are people that think that they are dumb and are only good at drinking and smoking. In my search for stereotypes online, this was on most of the websites that I looked at. The reason why people think this way about them is because of the media. There are a lot of films that depict the Maori culture and lifestyle, but there are times where some of those films main purpose is to entertain rather than educate such as, Once Were Warriors. By doing this blog, I was able to see that the Maori culture is more than what is portrayed in the media. Being able to read the newsletters about the people and looking at tourist’s videos of their experiences in the Maori community, it’s not hard t0 see that the Maori people are trying to make an effort of ending these single stories by showing what they know about the world. Their culture is rich and authentic, that they still practice some of the things that they did back in the day. Even though they do it for tourists, it’s still a way for them to connect with their roots and have others step into their shoes and learn why they love their culture.

With tourism spreading across most of the Polynesian Islands, it can have a great impact on the culture and the people. Some cultural groups are not fond about the idea of tourism, luckily, the Maori people are not one of them. The Maori people look at the idea of tourism as a way to connect with their culture and be able to share it with others. This is how the Maori people show critical cultural relativism. They want the tourist to walk through their villages, learn about their way of life  and their traditions so that they will be able to understand the culture. Most of the Maori villages are well-known tourist sites that allow people to experience the Maori culture first hand. None of the tourist activities that I know of promote any single stories, except maybe the Haka since it can be intimidating. Maybe an ethnocentric example that the tourists could think of about the Maori is that they are barbaric? There is not a specific example that I could think of and there are not a lot of examples online. But if we base it on how the Maori people were ruthless warriors back in the day  and how the haka is performed by bulging their eyes, scratching/hitting  their chests as an intimidation, it could be a possible thought.

By conducting this research, I was able to have a small insight of the Maori people and their culture. I went into this research trying to answer the question of how has tourism impacted the Maori people and their culture. I was able to look at newsletters that provided interviews with some of the members in the community and their thoughts. I also was able to look at videos of tourist activities in some of the villages that participate with tourism. I came into this research having some background knowledge, but I pretended as though I knew nothing to have a better understanding of the culture and try to see things the way that the Maori do. I was not able to physically go to New Zealand and observe the Maori people, but by having videos, articles and photos of the impacts of tourism in the Maori community I was able to perform a small ethnographic blog post.

Some of the digital techniques that I learned that helped me with my blog was the hyperlinks. I found it difficult trying to put one video for my blog, but having to do two was insane. I found the solution to my problem by using hyperlinks of the website of my videos and there was no limit to how many hyperlinks I can put in my blog post. I also found search.creativecommons.org/ a great tool to find creative common photos and videos to post online without having to deal with any copyrighted issues. For the newsletters I used Ebsco Host, to find my articles for my blogs, which made it easier to find. I wasn’t able to explore the website as much. but I found these strategies very useful in making my blogs since they made it much easier.

After doing this blog, I have a better understanding of the Maori culture than I did before. I’m glad that I was able to conduct a mini-research and hopefully with this experience I can do more blog posts in the near future about other groups.

 

 

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Comparison of the Maori Culture Through the Years in Images

 

maori_poi_demonstration
The Maori women from the Tamaki village performing the “Poi Dance,” a traditional ball dance that the women perform for the tourist in 2011.

Citation:

R. (2011, August 9). Maori poi demonstration [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Maori_poi_demonstration.jpg

 

 

picturesque_new_zealand_-_poi_dance
The “Poi Dance,” a traditional ball dance that is being performed by a group of Maori women during the 1913.

Citation:

N. (2010, September 3). Picturesque New Zealand – Poi Dance [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Picturesque_New_Zealand_-_Poi_Dance.jpg

 

all_blacks_haka
The “Haka,” a traditional war danced is being performed by the New Zealand national rugby team to intimidate the other team.

Citation:

Haka [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haka

Videos of Cultural Tourism in the Maori Community

Ki Ora! or Hello! The first video that I chose is the Northern Alliance NZ.  This video shows a Maori village performing the Pōwhiri, or the welcoming ceremony for the tourists. The Pōwhiri happens outside on the open ground called, marae, it’s a way for the host village to welcome their guests. In the video, the person that uploaded the video adds in some captions of the stages of the ceremony. First is the Pōwhiri, which is the welcome, then it’s the Wero, which is the challenge that the host village proposes to the guests to see if they are friend or foe. The host will then offer a challenge token, or Taki, which is usually a tree branch, to the guest. If the guest accepts the Taki, it “shows that they come in peace”, and then leads to the Karanga, which is the welcome call from the host village to the guests to come forward onto their marae (Pōwhiri information from: Pōwhiri-Maori Welcome).

Northern Alliance NZ (Nov. 5, 2012)   

The person that uploaded the video is called Northern Alliance NZ  which is the same name as the title of the video. I tried clicking on their page, but there was no description of the person and there was no other video than the one that I have. I tried googling the name, but there was still no hit. All I got was Northern Regional Alliance, which is a medical group. I can make the assumption that the guests in the video are the medical group, but there isn’t enough information to support this assumption. Since the name has NZ, most people would think that it’s biased, but with the lack of information we will never know.  The video was for entertainment and educational purposes because the group of people were tourists and they were learning about Pōwhiri. Also there were captions that explained the stages of the ceremony. The video is licensed as a Creative Commons with reuse allowed.                                                                                                       

Citation:

N. (2012, November 05). Northern Alliance NZ. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLe-ftO3jKQ

The second video that I chose is the Tamaki Tours Rotorua Cultural Show Performance 1. This video it shows the people of Tamaki  (a Maori village in Rotorua, NZ) doing the Haka, a war dance, for the tourist that came to their cultural show. Rotorua is a big tourist attraction since they have the Tamaki people to hold cultural shows, displaying their dances, songs and ceremonies. In the video the men and women both perform the Haka, which is a dance that is used in many occasions and has different meanings depending on the occasion. Originally, the Haka was used before war to intimidate the opponent (If you watch rugby, the All Blacks perform the Haka before a match). The Maori would bulge their eyes, stick out their tongues and scratch/hit their chests to show that they fear nothing.

Tamaki Tours Rotorua Cultural Show Performance (Dec. 31, 2009)

The person that uploaded the video is called Wolf1437, I clicked on his channel and found that he was just a tourist in New Zealand. There’s no information about what he does, but based on his videos he was just a tourist that shows no bias. The purpose of the video was for entertainment, to show his experience with the Maori culture during his visit. The video was licensed as a Creative Commons with reuse allowed.

Citation:

W. (2009, December 31). Tamaki Tours Rotorua Cultural Show Performances 1. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U13CW47MWOU

Other Resources Citation:

Pōwhiri – Māori welcome. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/powhiri-maori-welcome/

 

Preserving Heritage Rights vs. Economic Gain

The first article that I have chosen is from the Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine called,  “The Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori Claim to their Cultural and Intellectual Heritage Rights Property” by Watson. In this news story Watson talks about the Treaty of Waitangi and the Waitangi Tribunal, which gives and recommends the Maori people the right to protect their cultural heritage and their land. Watson’s new story talks about the differences between the Maori people’s rights and the Intellectual Property Rights when it comes to tourism. The Maori people want to preserve their culture and lands with the Tribunal, but with tourism, it can be seen as an Intellectual Property Right since there is an economic gain. The overall article talks about how to the Maori people are trying to find a mechanism that can  protect their heritage rights.

Finding the credentials for this article was very difficult since Watson was the only thing written under the author section. Looking over the Cultural Survival Magazine website, it’s an organization that empowers indigenous communities and advocates for them. The website is used for people to share their experiences or information about issues involving indigenous groups. Watson has one more article that is attached to his/her  name called, “From Hall of Worship to Tourist Center: An Ancestral Hall in Hong Kong’s New Territories.” It’s hard to tell whether or not they are experienced with the subject with only two articles, and only having Watson as their identity. Since the article was published in 2000, it’s obviously out-of-date of 17 years, but not much has changed in the Maori tourism. The audience for this article could be for students, like myself, wanting to learn about the Maori culture or an anthropologist.

The majority of the article is factual and valid since Watson listed some references and refers to them in the article. But I’m a little doubtful since Watson misspelled Maori many times throughout the article. The ideas/ arguments presented in this article are  in the middle between more and less advanced. The reason being is because some of the articles that I’ve read talk about how some of the Maori people are open to tourism. The author shows no bias and the article is presented as informative.

The second article that I have chosen is from Asia Pacific called “A Kiwi Plan: Tourism in New Zealand” by Krister Anderson.  In this news story Anderson talks about how New Zealand and the Maori culture are working together to do tourisms that will have a balance of an economic gain and  protect the rights of the Maori people. Tourism has helped with giving people jobs through the different programs and has sent an example for other countries with indigenous groups. Anderson continues on by saying how New Zealand is greatly known for have that balance and how they try to avoid any negative outcomes from tourism.

Krister Anderson is an author and associate editor for the Harvard International Review, and has attended Harvard University. He has 10 years of experience of working with different cultures overseas. Harvard International Review, is a blog that talks about issues and news from all over the world. Since the article was published in the summer of 2004, it is out-of-date by 13 years but not much has changed in the Maori tourism. The audience that the author could be addressing could be students, especially those that are attending Harvard University. Also, anthropologists that are interested in the Maori culture.

The information provided in this article are factual and valid. He has statistics and references that he refers to throughout his article to support the information he’s providing. Anderson’s ideas/ arguments are more on the line with other works that I’ve read since they all talk about how tourism is open in the Maori culture. The author shows no bias and the article is presented as informative.

Citations:

  1. Condevaux, A. (2009, July 1). Maori Culture on Stage: Authenticity and Identity in Tourist Interactions. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.pierce.ctc.edu:2099/ContentServer.asp?T=P&P=AN&K=40830558&S=R&D=a9h&EbscoContent=dGJyMNLr40Sep7I4xNvgOLCmr0%2Bep7RSsqm4TbWWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMO7f44rh5epT69fnhrnb5ofx6gAA
  2. W. (2009, December). The Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori Claim to their Cultural  and Intellectual Heritage Rights Property. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/waitangi-tribunal-and-maori-claim-their-cultural-and

 

Cultural Tourism with the Maori People from Aotearoa

Back in the days, in order for someone to learn about the culture of a group of people, they would have to physically go and visit the country that they live in. Today, we can easily go on our phones or laptops and get information about the culture without having to leave the room. But what if being able to go to another country and actually experience the way that they live then people would have a better understanding. I think that’s why tourism plays a major part in cultures. They give people that want visit for a week or so the opportunity to have an insight into their cultures. One of the groups that I have always wanted to visit for quite some time are the Maori people from New Zealand .

New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa, is located in the South Pacific. It is the country that is on the bottom right side of Australia when looking at a map. It is also below the Polynesian Islands of Fiji and Tonga. New Zealand has somewhat of an elongated shape, hence the name Aotearoa that the Maoris gave their country. Aotearoa is translated to, land of the long white cloud. It has two islands the North Island and the South Island that makes up its elongated shape.

The reason why I chose to look at the Maori people is because with every  research project that I have done, I’ve always looked at the Polynesian Islands to do research. My reasons for my focus on the Polynesian Islands are obvious, but the Maori people is the only group that I haven’t fully explored. With all of the neighboring islands in Polynesia, the cultures are very similar. But what makes the Maori culture stand out to me is are their legends. With the Samoan culture, we have our own legends but we adapted to the Christian belief on how things were created and forgotten some of our legends. Their stories of their great warriors were the reasons why I was so intrigued by the culture. Now I have the opportunity to learn more about their culture and the great stories of their legends.

Some of the tourist activities that are associated with the Maori people are:

  • A tour of significant places from the history of the Maori people.
  • Being able to learn the ways of the Maori culture (learning the greetings and how to weave a basket).
  • Also being able to ask questions and comments with the local Maori people.

Cultural tourism is a great way for people from all over the world to be able to get a glimpse into the Maori culture. It’s a way for the tourists to actually be involved and learn about the culture, instead of just reading about it online. Hopefully one day I will be able to visit the Maori people and get the chance to learn their culture.

Living the Indigenous Life

If you were given the opportunity to go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Most people would say Tokyo or Paris, but no one would list the places that I would like to visit. Which is understandable since they are either in the coldest regions, the hottest regions, or a place that is almost always forgotten about. But despite it all, I still want to visit because of the cuisine, the historical sights, the ceremonies, the adventure, but most importantly the people. Even though their environments are not what I am accustomed to, their culture makes up for it.

The first group of indigenous people that I would like to visit are the Yupik people that live in Alaska. I first heard about the Yupik people when I was in the fifth grade. My teacher was able to teacher their kids in one of the local schools. Everyday he would spend an hour a day to talk about his experience and how he had a special bond with the people. He told us that a lot of people that were not familiar with the Yupik people thought that they lived in igloos since they were considered to be eskimos. Another thing that people said about the Yupik people was that they just sit and fish out of a hole all day. But that is not the case. These are examples of, “single stories,” that many indigenous groups face today. My teacher told us that the Yupik people were not eskimos that lived in igloos and did nothing but fish. They were a great group of people that had a rich culture.

The second group of indigenous people are the Papuans from Papua New Guinea. I’ve first found interest in this group when I was doing a research project about the different forms of tattoos in Oceania. I was surprised when I learned that the Papuan women in the rural villages tattooed their faces as a sign of coming of age. I found this interesting and wanted to learn more about the people from that day on. But just like the Yupik, the Papuans had their share of single stories from people overseas. One of the stereotypes was that the Papuans were cannibals because of the ceremonies that they performed. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I want to learn more about this because cannibalism in Oceania is common. Samoa’s king was once a cannibal, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were, but I want to learn more about it and not make assumptions. Also, people believed that the Papuans were head hunters. I don’t know much about these stereotypes, but I would like to learn more about the Papuans and show that their culture is more interesting than just cannibalism and head hunting.

The last group of indigenous people that I would like to visit are the Samoan people that live in Samoa. I have a lot of background knowledge about these people because I am a Samoan. I was not born in Samoa, but I was raised in the Samoan way which is called, “Fa’asamoa,” in Samoan. I have always wanted to go to Samoa growing up. My parents made a deal with me that if I do well in school and graduate then I would be able to go to Samoa as a graduation gift. Personally, I have dealt with the stereotypes and single stories first hand. Some of those examples are, all Samoans are related, all Samoans are fobs (fresh off the boat), Samoans are only good at sports and Samoans are big. Hearing these things is frustrating, but just like all the different groups that face the same issue, we want to prove them wrong or have them understand.

All three groups are very different in comparison, but that is what makes them so exciting. Learn about a group of people, whether you’re familiar or not, is what makes going to a new place exciting. Hopefully down the road I will be able to visit all three groups and learn more and understand to prove the single stories and stereotypes wrong.