Moriori are the indigenous people of the
Chatham Islands("Rekohu" in the Moriori language, "Wharekauri" in the Māori language), east of the New Zealand archipelagoin the Pacific Ocean. The term has also been used for the hypothesised original settlers of New Zealand, linguistically and genetically different from the Māori. This story spread in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but was conclusively disproven from the 1960s. [As Kerry Howe puts it, 'Scholarship over the past 40 years has radically revised the model offered a century earlier by Smith: the Moriori as a pre-Polynesian people have gone (the term Moriori is now a technical term referring to those ancestral Maori who settled the Chatham Islands)' (Howe 2003:182).]
The Moriori are culturally Polynesian. They developed a distinct Moriori culture in the Chatham Islands as they adapted to local conditions. Although speculation once suggested that they settled the Chatham Islands directly from the tropical Polynesian islands, or even that they were Melanesian in origin, current research indicates that ancestral Moriori were
MāoriPolynesians who came to the Chatham Islands from New Zealand before 1500.cite book
last = Clark
first = Ross
title = Moriori and Maori: The Linguistic Evidence. In Sutton, Douglas G. (Ed.) (1994), "The Origins of the First New Zealanders"
publisher = Auckland University Press
date = 1994
location = Auckland
pages = pp123-135
isbn = ] [cite book
last = Solomon
first = Māui
coauthors = Denise Davis
title = Moriori
publisher = Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
date = updated 2006-06-09
url = http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/Moriori/en
isbn = ] cite web
last = Howe
first = Kerry
title = Ideas of Māori origins
publisher = Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
date = updated 9-Jun-2006
url = http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/IdeasOfMaoriOrigins/en
accessdate = ] cite book
last = King
first = Michael
title = Moriori: A People Rediscovered
publisher = Viking
date = 2000 (Original edition 1989)
isbn = ISBN 0-14-010391-0]
Evidence supporting this theory comes from the characteristics that the Moriori language has in common with the Māori dialect spoken by the
Ngāi Tahutribe of the South Island, and comparisons of the genealogies of Moriori ("hokopapa") and Māori (" whakapapa"). Prevailing wind patterns in the southern Pacific add to the speculation that the Chatham Islands are the last outpost in the Pacific to be settled during the period of Polynesian discovery and colonization [Clark 1994, King 2000] . The origin of the name "Moriori" is uncertain; it may have developed as a linguistic reduplicationof the old Polynesian word "Māori"; if so, it would have the meaning "(ordinary) people".
The earliest indication of human occupation of the Chathams inferred from
middens exposed due to erosion of sand dunes has been established as 450 years BP. [cite journal|last=McFadgen|first=B.G.|date=March 1994|title=Archaeology and holocene sand dune stratigraphy on Chatham Island|publisher=Royal Society of New Zealand|volume=24|issue=1|url=http://www.rsnz.org/publish/jrsnz/1994/2.php|accessdate=2008-08-25]
Adapting to local conditions
The Chatham Islands are colder and less hospitable than the land the original settlers had left behind, and although abundant in resources, these were different from those available where they had come from. The Chathams proved unsuitable for the cultivation of most crops known to Polynesians, and the Moriori adopted a
hunter-gathererlifestyle. Food was almost entirely marine-sourced - protein and fat from fish, fur seals and the fatty young of sea birds. The islands supported about 2000 people.
Lacking resources of cultural significance such as
greenstoneand plentiful timber, they found outlets for their ritual needs in the carving of dendroglyphs (incisions into tree trunks, called "rakau momori"). Some of these carvings are protected by the JM Barker (Hapupu) National Historic Reserve.
As a small and precarious population, Moriori embraced a pacifist
culturewhich rigidly avoided warfare, substituting it with dispute resolution in the form of ritualfighting and conciliation. The ban on warfare and cannibalism is attributed to their ancestor Nunuku-whenua.
:"...because men get angry and during such anger feel the will to strike, that so they may, but only with a rod the thickness of a thumb, and one stretch of the arms length, and thrash away, but that on an abrasion of the hide, or first sign of blood, all should consider honour satisfied" [Oral tradition. From King 2000]
This enabled the Moriori to preserve what limited resources they had in their harsh climate, avoiding waste through warfare, such as may have led to catastrophic habitat destruction and population decline on
Easter Island. However, when considered as a moral imperative rather than a pragmatic response to circumstances, it also led to their later near-destruction at the hands of invading North Island Māori.
European contact and invasion by Taranaki Māori
William R. Broughtonlanded on November 29, 1791, and claimed possession of the islands for Great Britain, naming them after his ship, HMS "Chatham". Sealers and whalers soon made the islands a centre of their activities, competing for resources with the native population. 10 to 20 percent of the Moriori soon died from imported diseases.
In 1835 some
Ngāti Mutungaand Ngāti Tamapeople, Māori from the Taranakiregion of the North Islandof New Zealand settled in the Chathams. On November 19, 1835, a chartered European ship, the "Rodney", carrying 500 Maori armed with guns, clubs and axes arrived, followed by another ship with 400 more Maori arriving on December 5, 1835. They proceeded to enslave some Moriori and kill and cannibalise others. "Parties of warriors armed with muskets, clubs and tomahawks, led by their chiefs, walked through Moriori tribal territories and settlements without warning, permission or greeting. If the districts were wanted by the invaders, they curtly informed the inhabitants that their land had been taken and the Moriori living there were now vassals."
A council of Moriori elders was convened at the settlement called Te Awapatiki. Despite knowing of the Maori's predilection for killing and eating the conquered, and despite the admonition by some of the elder chiefs that the principle of Nunuku was not appropriate now, two chiefs — Tapata and Torea — declared that "the law of Nunuku was not a strategy for survival, to be varied as conditions changed; it was a moral imperative." [Michael King (2000). "Moriori: A People Rediscovered" (Revised Edition). Published by Viking. ISBN 0-14-010391-0. Original edition 1989.] A Moriori survivor recalled : " [The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep.... [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed - men, women and children indiscriminately." A Maori conqueror explained, "We took possession... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped....." [cite book
last = Diamond
first = Jared
authorlink = Jared Diamond
publisher = W.W. Norton
date = 1997
location = New York
pages = p53
isbn = ]
After the invasion, Moriori were forbidden to marry Moriori, or to have children with each other. All became slaves of the Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga invaders. Many died from despair. Many Moriori women had children by their Maori masters. A small number of Moriori women eventually married either Maori or European men. Some were taken from the Chathams and never returned. Only 101 Morioris out of a population of about 2,000 were left alive by 1862 (Kopel et al., 2003). Although it is commonly believed that the Māori invaders completely wiped out the Moriori, several thousand mixed ancestry Moriori descendants remain alive today. [http://www.education-resources.co.nz/tommy.htm]
Tommy Solomon, the last Moriori of unmixed ancestry, died in 1933.
An all-male group of German Lutheran missionaries arrived in 1843. When a group of women were sent out to join them three years later, several marriages ensued; a few members of the present-day population can still trace their ancestry back to those missionary families.
Revival of culture
Today, in spite of the difficulties and genocide that Moriori faced, with unrelenting stoicism and peaceful resignation, Moriori are enjoying a renaissance, both on Rekohu and in the mainland of New Zealand. Moriori culture and identity is being revived, symbolised in January 2005 with the renewal of the
Covenant of Peaceat the new Kopinga maraeon the Chatham Islands.
Some Moriori descendants have made claims against the New Zealand government through the
Waitangi Tribunal, a permanent commission of inquiry charged with making recommendations on claims brought by Maori relating to actions or omissions of the Crownin the period since 1840 that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.
The debunked myth of Moriori in New Zealand
The genocide of the Moriori, and the loss of their voice as a people, led to an unsubstantiated myth in New Zealand popular culture of the early twentieth century that the 'Moriori', a small-statured dark-skinned race of possible
Melanesian origin, originally inhabited New Zealand before the lighter-skinned Māori arrived and drove the Moriori out to the Chathams. This story conveniently promoted racist stereotyping and justified the idea of colonisation by cultural 'superiors' [See [http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/IdeasOfMaoriOrigins/4/en Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand: Ideas of Māori origins] ] . It still appears sometimes in overseas publications, such as recent editions of Encarta.fact|date=August 2008 Michael King's "Moriori: A People Rediscovered" (2000) provides the only comprehensive and systematic account of the Moriori. Its publication helped finally dispel longstanding historical and archaeological myths about Moriori.
Waitaha—A Māori iwiwho settled early in the South Island, and were subsequently taken over by Kāti Mamoeand Ngāi Tahu. In recent years a myth concerning Waitaha, with some parallels to that once held about the Moriori, has become popular in some quarters.
* [http://www.hokotehi.co.nz/ The Official Hokotehi Moriori Trust website]
* [http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/reports/sichat/wai064/toc.asp Rekohu: Report on Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga Claims in the Chatham Islands]
* [http://www.education-resources.co.nz/ Official Moriori Education Resources Website]
*Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen (2003). 'A Moriori Lesson: A brief history of pacifism.' "National Review Online", April 11, 2003. (URL [https://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel041103.asp] )
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Look at other dictionaries:
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moriori — |mōrē|ōrē, |mȯrē|ȯrē noun (plural moriori or morioris) Usage: usually capitalized 1. a. : an extinct people surviving until very recent times in the Chatham islands, east of New Zealand b. : a member of such people 2 … Useful english dictionary
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