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Traditions of New Zealand
Friday, December 10, 2010 5:41 AM
Over the years, the Maori and Pakeha have actually influenced each other greatly in terms of culture and traditions. Therefore, since the Pakeha does not have a distinct culture on their own, the traditions of New Zealand are largely Maori influenced. The Maori traditions are exceptionally distinct, they are also widely known around the world. If you think of New Zealand, most people would probably mention the Haka dance; it is frequently performed by athletes in major sports games like the Youth Olympics. Besides the Haka, there are also other traditions existing in New Zealand.
The Powhiri is a traditional formal welcome into the marae (meeting place of the local Maori people). It is used to identify whether the visitor is a friend or foe. It begins with a challenge from a warrior of tangata whenua (people of the land; host) to the guests, the warrior may carry a spear and he would lay a token for the guest to receive. In order to show that the guest comes in peace, the guest has to pick it up. There would also be callings made by women of tangata whenua to establish the relationship between guests and tangata whenua. After which, greetings would be exchanged and a Hongi- traditional greeting that involves touching the nose- would be performed, signifies the mingling together and both parties becoming one. The guest would usually have to present a Koha (gift) to the tangata whenua as a form of respect.
It is basically a traditional form of cooking in the earth by the Maori people. The Maori people believed that the earth was the giver of all life and that the soil gave food. Therefore, they believed that the same food should be cooked in the earth.
Stones are heated in the pit dug out from earth, leaves or watercress are use to prevent the actual food from getting burnt. The actual food like mutton, chicken, fish, and potatoes would be lowered into the pit using a basket. The food is then covered with a wet cloth and a layer of earth above to trap heat in. It usually takes about 3 hours to cook the food. The food produced would have a unique and distinct earthy taste and fragrance to it. Although the Hangi is traditional and takes long hours to cook, but the Hangi is still popular often use as a alternative to barbeques, the Hangi has also been commercialize as places with natural thermal steam and water in New Zealand offers the Hangi ‘experience’ to visitors.