It has been a wonderful opportunity for Trish and myself to house and pet sit in New Zealand. We have done this for three years on separate occasions. There is so much I need to learn about the Maori culture and in writing this blog, I hope I have some things right. My heart is very close to this culture – perhaps, I’ve been a Maori in past lives. Everyone looks at different cultures and sees beauty, but when I see a Maori person – man or woman, I feel something akin to bonding.
Māori Women Recognized on this Post.
New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote. I have personally found that unless a person reads a published book on Maori women, there is very little on the internet. (Perhaps, I am looking at the wrong sites). What I have found, and remember that it is limited research, is a very strong history of powerful Maori women. They have ruled as queens and warriors and are held in high regard by males. (That has been the past history and I have no reason to doubt that this is still part of their cultural inheritance).
Behind Every Maori Male…..
Even heroes, such as the male Māui had a grandmother (Murirangawhenua), who provided him with her jaw bone to fish and slow down the sun.
The goddess of death crushes Māui to death between her legs. This emphasises the power of a woman’s genitilia is not lost on males!
The Power of Childbirth
As in many cultures, males are in awe of the gift of childbirth. The awe can be downright fear! There are, of course, many Maori stories of creation, etc., but I am dealing with the one that I found in my limited research. Māori women are called te whare tangata (the house/cradle of humanity). They are protected by
and creator of all living things. The Māori word for placenta is “whenua” which is the same word for earth.
Māoris bury the afterbirth signifying that women’s power is tied to the land that supports all life. We all come from the earth and return to it. This, of course, is a universal thought pattern.
Women in Earth’s Elements
Again, depending on Maori myths, female deities are seen in thunder (Whaitiri) and in fire (Mahuika). The fire goddess is portrayed as having fire come out of her fingers.