Friday, January 1, 2010

Rob Gardiner

After reading the chapter of Captain Cook's discovery of New Zealand, I was surprised to learn about the hard feelings still present between Maori and Pakeha. The Maori feel that the Pakeha do not have the right to be creating legislature regarding the Maori and they feel like their traditions and culture are slowly vanishing. Because the Maori are such an emotional people with traditions going back for generations, many Maori feel like Captain Cook did more harm to their island than good. For example, Cook's arrival led to the presence of the Pakeha who the Maori have been butting heads with for years over multiple topics.
I was also surprised to learn that much like American children are taught a history of the first Thanksgiving far from the actual truth, New Zealand children (both Maori and Pakeha) are told a much more pleasant story regarding the arrival of Captain Cook. Children in New Zealand are taught that, " Cook ended cannibalism and everything else bad…Cook was our savior. He gave us clothing and medicine." When Maori children grow up and learn a more mature account of Cook's arrival and stay at New Zealand, they become agitated that his legacy is taking priority over Maori tradition and ritual.
I very much look forward to actually meeting the Maori people and observing their rituals and traditions that have gone unchanged for hundreds of years. It is one things to read about and try to imagine the passion these people have about their heritage but I'm sure it will be much more powerful to actually witness it first hand. Although they may not agree with the Pakeha on many issues, I have heard that they are still a very warm and welcoming group. I am eager to see how they welcome us when we visit.
Following my visit to the Maori, I hope to discover a greater understanding as to how they have kept their reverence to the Earth for so many years. The Maori seem to have had this unparalleled connection with Mother Nature for centuries and I hope to take a little of that with me when I leave New Zealand.

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