I chose Te Ao Māori in the first place because I was generally interested in the indigenous culture of New Zealand. I wanted to find out more about their history, myths and beliefs. About how they view themselves as part of the world they were living in, about their arts and crafts and about their society.
But only after a short time in the class I realized that there is so much more to find out and learn not only about this country, but about my own country, ancestors, culture and of course about myself.
So my personal goals for this class, besides still wanting to find out more about the Māori culture in general, is to get an idea about the spiritual and philosophical concepts of the Māori world, further my understanding of the idea of their holistic worldview, and of the myths and stories and compare them to my own background. I think that by learning about another culture you can gain so much more knowledge about yourself and your own people and even eventually overcome problems that are caused by the way your own society views the world. For example I have always felt that there is a nuisance in the way European society behaves in terms of treating each other. Most of the time everyone is so immersed in the idea of being as individual as possible, they completly cut them themselves out of the general relationship that connects everyone. I never had a word for what I felt was a big problem, but learning now about the principles of knowledge in Māori culture such as whanaugatanga, kotahitanga are especially interesting for me, manaakitanga I find myself in a place where I can actually try to change something in my closer relationships and in this way hopefully contribute my part to make this world a better place for everyone.
Closely connected to this general relationship between human beings is, at least for me, the concept about the balance between male and female. Figuring out how I want to live my life as a woman and what that means to me is a constant part of my life. In my opionion most of the „civilized“ cultures are not the best role models for handling and acknowledging the differences between men and women, so I always loved to have a view on other cultures and especially older ones and what their principles in treating men and women were. This is why I chose to investigate about the female role in Māori society before and after colonialisation in my essay.
My interest in older cultures also included their stories and myths. Learning about the tuheru, I was surprised to see how similar, at least on the surface, their ideas of „fairies“ are to the ones of people that developed half a world apart like for example the Celts. So I chose to find out more about the pou that depicts the ruarangi or the tuheru and eventually learn if there are even more similarities under the surface.