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No. 32 (September 1960)
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No. 32 Vol. 8 (No. 4)

The Future of Maori Culture

In this issue, there appears an important article by Dr James Ritchie, Lecturer in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, “The Future Place of Maori Culture in New Zealand Society.” Dr Ritchie carefully distinguishes four main types of culture: first, as a way of life, totally enclosing, limiting, nourishing and sufficient, for those persons involved in it.

In this sense, he points out, Maori culture no longer exists, irreparably severed from its roots by pakeha conquest and occupation. Second, culture as a set of traditions and customs, cherished and practised by a group. In this sense, Maori culture continues, as we all can see. Third, culture as a creative process, the absorption of certain values, the expression of discontents, tensions and more rarely, fulfillments, in the various art forms available. The spirit of this country, the development of a soul as it were, particular to it, is now slowly expanding, mostly on pakeha promptings, to involve some consciousness of New Zealand as a bi-racial community. Fourth, culture as a sence of uniqueness, of personal identity, of apartness, in the strict sense of the word, of being ‘this’ and not ‘that’. From this fourth category, Dr Ritchie draws his major conclusion, that culture in the sense he defines it is “not an amalgam, but an integrated whole”; “not bits of this and bits of that, but the basis of a person's self-esteem and confidence.” One does not, in other words, acquire culture that can be nourishing and meaningful simply by performing action songs and hakas, not merely by exploring the classic repositories of Maori poetry and lore, but by acquiring something for oneself, by living these activities in a manner which sheds light on your whole life, which keeps them living for you. This proceeds, it seems to us, from a determination to recognise who one is; to ask the question: since I am a Maori, what part do I want it to play in my life? If I am involved in Maori group activities then I must ask: does this help me to proclaim, to realise, my identity, or am I just losing it in the crowd? Only from such sober but spontaneous appraisals can we be sure that our cultural activities will have meaning for us. And if this honesty of approach is sufficiently intense and sustained, it can transform and nourish the whole community, in time solve all the questions of what sort and kind of education is necessary for us, and show us the shape of our society in the years ahead.

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Kei tenei putanga o Te Ao Hou etahi tino korero na Dr James Ritchie, he kaiwhakaako mo te Psychology kei Te Whare Wananga o Poneke. Ko ana korero i huaina “Ko Te Maoritanga Mo Apopo.” E wha nga wawahanga o Te Maoritanga ki te korero a Takatu Ritchie. Tuatahi ko te noho Maori nui tonu kaore he hao a te ngakau Maori kia pera ke atu tana noho engari me waiho ia kia noho Maori noa ana. Ko te korero a te kaituhi kua ngaro tenei tu Maoritanga kua mate i te whakaekenga o te Pakeha me ana tikanga. Ko te wahanga tuarua ko te Maoritanga e kite nei tatou e mau ana te ngakau Maori ki etahi o nga tikanga a ona tupuna. Ko te wahanga tuatoru o te Maoritanga nei ko ta te hinengaro i waihanga ai. Ka rapaina ko nga taonga Maori e tika ana, ko nga korero mo nehe ra ko nga whawhai ko nga tukinotanga hei kaupapa korero hei kaupapa mo te whakaaro hei whakaata ki te ao hou. Kei te tipu tenei ahuatanga a ko te hinengaro Pakeha kei te whakakaha kia eke ai te korero e rua iwi kotahi te whenua. Ko te wahanga tuawha o te Maoritanga nei ko te mohio iho o te Maori he Maori ia. Ko ianei te tino mea e ki ana ko Takuta Ritchie ko te mohio iho o te tangata Maori he Maori ia. Ka penei nga whakaaro ka tuturu Maori te Maori ka ora ana waiata ana haka ara te katoa o nga taonga Maori. Ko te tino taonga tenei o roto i enei ra ko te kore o te tangata e whakama ki te ki he Maori ia. Ko nga taonga o te ao hou o te ao Pakeha he taongahei wanihi i te kaupapa o te Maoritanga, engari ko te mea nui ko te u o te ngakau me te wairua ki tenei ki “He Maori au”.