Empowerment of people can bring about various outcomes mainly with those in the same community. There exists within this complex world of social interaction, social structures, and immense ethnocentrism a geographic phenomenon that molds people into infinite variations of humans. Anthropology creates a platform for mankind to look beneath the surface of communities daily lives and ask many forms of the question ‘why’ when contemplating the agency that brings people to where they are today. In the south pacific located on the island of New Zealand lies a fascinating community of natives called the Maori who are known to be the first inhabitants of this vast island. Through much in-depth research this community allows for a great specimen of highly sacred and traditional symbols, language, and structures that have preserved this way of living through test of time. The Maori who are known for brutal intertribal warfare, allowed for swift adaptation into the 21st century solely because of the power behind ethnocentrism and the dynamic minds of their people and culture that, as a result, defeated what is known as the ideological apparatus.
Throughout the history of mankind, curiosity plays a prevalent role in the exploration of the planet especially by the Maori. Having only canoes, this section of the Polynesian race took to the seas in order to find their own sacred land in the pacific (Bledisloe). Archaeological specimens that date back to 1130 CE are the first signs of Maori arrival on the south island of New Zealand (Britannica). As are most natives who arrived first on their land, the inevitable clash of the explorers of Britain, including Captain James Cook, mark as the first culture shock of the Maori (Britannica). Using an anthropological prospective, the people on this island prove to have major conflict with each other, yet welcomed the newcomers with open arms . Journalist Viscount Bledisloe notes in his journal The Maori people, “As a race, they are cheerful and have a keen sense of humor” which presents a plethora of questions regarding their physical interaction toward one another.
One can note that the oppression of the Maori upon the arrival of the British imposed serious trauma to their initial way of living. They were met with the oncoming threat of losing their land and could even extinguish their culture. It is largely a result of the British oncoming that infamously ignited the inflow of profit seeking settlers throughout New Zealand in the late seventeen hundreds (Britannica). Strength to keep touch with sacred Maori ways of living became nearly impossible with the oncoming flood of globalization. Most notable, the Maori struggled at first to amend their ancient ways, yet, with the power of Agency, they were able to re position themselves out of oppression. The argument that such anthropological ideas like Louis Althusser’s Ideological Apparatus could be used to pinpoint just where the Maori allowed for a segway into the western world of urban living.
British colonialism that lasted up until the end of World War II halted the development of such global ideals within the structure of traditional Maori living. The loss of their land rights through contracts presented by the British took a toll on the native population and nearly disintegrated the cherished Maori community that had called this massive pacific island home for centuries. Anthropology, which taps into the development of societies and their diverse cultures, allows for a better understanding of where the Maori turned the tables on the British and restored their Position in society.
The Maori “Renaissance”
In conclusions, the Maori as a culture possesses many sacred histories that are present in their society that still exists in the 21st century. The strength of this culture can be broken down into their Agency as a community that mimicked the British during colonization. With the implementations of structure and widespread hysteria, they were able to enculture the lives of the natives that fell under the ideological apparatus of the British culture. In following such traditions as the Maori, such cultural strength as a community can be centered on the survival of such fascinating natives.
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