Who were the Maoris of New Zealand?
The Maori people were the original inhabitants of the islands of New Zealand, dating back to the 12th century, many still live there today. There are many tales telling how they arrived there from Polynesia, but most say the first settlers landed on the east coast of North Island, making their homes on the shores by the mouths of rivers. Many legends have been passed down through the generations about the land being created by the gods they believed in.
Originally, the Maoris used stones and bones (such as whale bones) for building and also used stones for making tools. For cooking, they made a circular hole in the ground and filled it with very hot stones (hangi) to make an underground oven, They wrapped food in leaves and steamed them over the hot stones, eating fish (eels, crayfish) and a vegetable called kumara. They used to store the kumara in deep, cool pits dug into the sloping hillsides.
The Maori people were very skilled in art, making beautiful carvings out of wood and bone; their homes were decorated with them. Most of the carvings told a tale about their ancestors and tribal traditions.
a modern day Maori carving
In each village was a traditional meeting house, the Marae, where visitors were welcomed and ceremonies took place; these places were decorated to pay respect to ancestors and gods.
A traditional dance called the Haka was performed by Maori people. There were many types of haka for different occasions - celebrating, as a welcome or as a war dance.
Who were the Aborigines of Australia?
The Aborigine Flag
It is thought that Aborigines first went to Australia about 40,000 years ago when an ice age was just ending. When they first arrived from the Indonesian islands, they moved round the coast to southern Australia, and eventually over every part of Australia and Tasmania. Different groups developed in different ways until there were hundreds of languages and cultures, long before white men arrived. Aborigines still live in Australia today. The word "aboriginal" means "earliest known".
Each group had an area of land, which they believed had been given to them in the Dreamtime, and it provided food, animals and fresh water. They knew where the water holes were and survived in the very hot climate. In the desert regions they had to travel many miles for food. The men were hunters and hunted with spears while the women carried everything (including their babies) so that the men could hunt.
Dreamtime:- Aborigines believed in the Dreamtime - the past when spirit ancestors journeyed through the land and setting rules. Many stories, ceremonies and traditions were passed down the generations.
Thae Aborigine people used very decorative art. They painted rocks and rock shelters. They were also famous for their bark paintings.Paints were made from rock, clay and charcoal giving them not many colours:- red, brown, black and white. Often the paintings told stories.