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The Maori: A Rich and Cherished Culture at the World’s Edge

The Maori: A Rich and Cherished Culture at the World’s Edge

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New Zealand was one of the last landmasses to be colonized by humans. When Pleistocene megafauna had gone extinct elsewhere in the world, New Zealand was still inhabited by the moas, giant flightless birds that were hunted by early Maori settlers. The ancestors of the Maori settled one of the last truly pristine wildernesses without human activity and they continue to adapt to new environments as the world changes.

Origins of the Maori Culture

The Maori likely originate from East Polynesia near the Society Islands and the southern Cook Islands. In Maori legends, the Maori homeland is a place called Hawaiki which appears to be at least semi-mythical. In Maori mythology, it is also the home of the gods as well as the place where people go after death.

The Maori first arrived in New Zealand around 1300 AD or a little earlier. Since New Zealand, or as the Maori call it, Aotearoa, represented the southwestern edge of the known world to the Polynesians of the 13th and 14th centuries, the Maori could be considered a people living at the world’s edge.

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Model of a typical Pā (hillfort) built by Māori on headlands (for defense). ( Public Domain )

Early Maori History

At the time of the Maori arrival, New Zealand was covered in forests inhabited by primordial beasts. It was cooler than the Polynesian homeland of the Maori, which meant that some staple Polynesian crops were more difficult to grow there or simply could not be grown, such as breadfruit, coconut, and banana. This made it more difficult for the original Polynesian settlers, who were used to the tropics, to adapt to the temperate climate that characterizes the New Zealand archipelago. The first settlers lived along the coast hunting moas and seals, later moving into the deep forests. Humans impacted the New Zealand environment, driving animals such as moas and Haast’s eagle into extinction.

Haast’s eagle attacking New Zealand moa. (John Megahan/ CC BY 2.5 )

By the 18th century, the Maori had established stable farming communities across New Zealand and were divided up into tribes, called “iwi.” The most high-status individuals in ancient Maori society were the chiefs, followed by commoners and slaves. Tohunga, priests or experts, are also sometimes considered to have been a class of their own. During that time, many important concepts were created which still define Maori society and religion to some extent today.

Maori History After the Arrival of Europeans

The Maori began to trade with Europeans in earnest in the 19th century. Some of the most important European trade goods among the Maori were pigs and potatoes. These were quickly added alongside traditional Maori foods such as kumara, pikopiko, and karengo. In 1840, New Zealand became a British colony after the treaty of Waitangi. The Maori resisted at first, but were gradually subdued and lost much of their land to European settlers.

Beginning in the 20th century, the Maori began to revive their culture and integrate into Pakeha (White European) society without losing their heritage. There are over 500,000 Maori people living today. Most of them live in urban areas. The earlier 20th century movements to reinvigorate and preserve Maori culture have largely been successful. Maori art, language, and oral tradition all thrive today alongside Pakeha lifeways.

“A view of the Murderers' Bay, as you are at anchor here in 15 fathom", a drawing made by Abel Tasman's artist on the occasion of a skirmish between the Dutch explorers and Māori people at what is now called Golden Bay, New Zealand. This is the first European impression of Māori people. ( Public Domain )

Core Concepts in Maori Society

Since the Maori are descended from Polynesian voyagers who settled the islands in the 13th or 14th century, the Maori have many social, metaphysical, and religious concepts in common with other Polynesian groups. These concepts include mana and tapu.

Mana is not identical from culture to culture, but it is a concept that is ubiquitous across Oceania. New Zealand is no exception. In Maori tradition, mana is related to prestige and authority. In ancient times, the greatest amount of mana was held by those who were of high status such as the Maori chiefs and tohunga.

Tapu is a word that essentially means “sacred.” Objects or people that are tapu are considered set aside for the gods and off limits to all but certain individuals such as tohunga. Objects or people that were tapu in ancient New Zealand included tohunga who specialized in making tattoos and sacred religious sites.

Tohunga under tapu. ( Public Domain )

Maori Religion

The traditional Maori religion was essentially polytheistic. The Maori believed that the world was created by the gods , atua. Their pantheon included, among other deities, a sky father, an earth mother, a god of forests, and a god of warfare. Tane, the god of forests, played an important role in the creation of humans by making the first woman. Tohunga were responsible for being the intermediaries through which the atua and spirits communicated with the human world. The Tohunga were also responsible for ensuring rituals were carried out properly in warfare and food production.

A carving of Tāne nui a Rangi, a Māori god, sited at the entrance to the forest aviary at Auckland Zoo. ( CC0)

During the colonial period, many Maori adopted Christianity. In the mid-19th century, numerous Maori Christians used their faith as a justification for resisting the British government, as the British encroached on their ancestral lands. Most Maori Christians are part of the Anglican tradition today. There are also many Maori Methodists and Catholics.

Maori Art and Tattoo Culture

The traditional artforms in ancient Maori society were weaving, sculpting, tattoos, dance, and singing.

A particularly important Maori artform is ta moko - tattoo art. Maori tattoos consist of spiral designs made from grooves or scars cut into the skin. Ta moko has its origins in mourning rituals. Over time, it became an indicator of status. Men received tattoos across their entire faces while women received them on the chins. Originally, chisels made from bird bones were used to make the tattoos. These chisels were replaced by metal chisels after European arrival, which in turn were replaced by needles by World War I. Today, ta moko artists use many of the same tools as non-Maori tattoo artists.

A portrait of Tukukino’ (1878) by Gottfried Lindauer. ( Public Domain )

Maori Cultural Dances

Two other important and closely related artforms in Maori society are song and dance. A common example is haka. Haka is a class of dances involving lively movements with the body accompanied by chanting and energetic vocalizations. There are several different types which vary in style and form depending on their purpose. Haka can be performed without weapons for ceremonial purposes or to motivate a group to accomplish a task. It can also be used as a war dance, in which case it is often done with weapons. The Maori war dance traditionally consisted of the warriors intentionally making ugly faces and sounds while dancing to frighten and demoralize the enemy.

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A Maori haka. (Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/ CC BY 2.0 )

The Future of Maori Culture

The Maori are one of the many indigenous cultures that have been able to thrive, relatively, in the aftermath of European colonization. Even two centuries after the arrival of the Pakeha, the Maori have retained many aspects of their culture and are continuing to grow in number and influence in New Zealand society. The people at the world’s edge continue to move closer to what has become the world’s center.

Māori music

Traditional Māori music, or pūoro Māori, is composed or performed by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and includes a wide variety of folk music styles, often integrated with poetry and dance.

In addition to these traditions and musical heritage, since the 19th-century European colonisation of New Zealand Māori musicians and performers have adopted and interpreted many of the imported Western musical styles. Contemporary rock and roll, soul, reggae and hip hop all feature a variety of notable Māori performers.

Tāwhirimātea was another son of Ranginui and Papatūānuku – and the only one against separating his parents. In his anger he sent his children – the four winds and clouds – to wreak havoc on Earth with bouts of rain and thunderstorms. Tāne’s forests were destroyed in the process, but in the end Tūmatauenga (the ‘god of the people’) was able to defeat his spiteful sibling.


For most of their recorded history, Taiwanese aborigines have been defined by the agents of different Confucian, Christian and Nationalist "civilizing" projects, with a variety of aims. Each "civilizing" project defined the aborigines based on the "civilizer's" cultural understandings of difference and similarity, behavior, location, appearance and prior contact with other groups of people. [10] Taxonomies imposed by colonizing forces divided the aborigines into named subgroups, referred to as "tribes". These divisions did not always correspond to distinctions drawn by the aborigines themselves. However, the categories have become so firmly established in government and popular discourse over time that they have become de facto distinctions, serving to shape in part today's political discourse within the Republic of China (ROC), and affecting Taiwan's policies regarding indigenous peoples.

The Han sailor, Chen Di, in his Record of the Eastern Seas (1603), identifies the indigenous people of Taiwan as simply "Eastern Savages" ( 東番 Dongfan ), while the Dutch referred to Taiwan's original inhabitants as "Indians" or "blacks", based on their prior colonial experience in what is currently Indonesia. [11]

Beginning nearly a century later, as the rule of the Qing Empire expanded over wider groups of people, writers and gazetteers recast their descriptions away from reflecting degree of acculturation, and toward a system that defined the aborigines relative to their submission or hostility to Qing rule. Qing used the term "raw/wild/uncivilized" ( 生番 ) to define those people who had not submitted to Qing rule, and "cooked/tamed/civilized" ( 熟番 ) for those who had pledged their allegiance through their payment of a head tax. [note 1] According to the standards of the Qianlong Emperor and successive regimes, the epithet "cooked" was synonymous with having assimilated to Han cultural norms, and living as a subject of the Empire, but it retained a pejorative designation to signify the perceived cultural lacking of the non-Han people. [13] [14] This designation reflected the prevailing idea that anyone could be civilized/tamed by adopting Confucian social norms. [15] [16]

As the Qing consolidated their power over the plains and struggled to enter the mountains in the late 19th century, the terms Pingpu ( 平埔族 Píngpǔzú 'Plains peoples') and Gaoshan ( 高山族 Gāoshānzú 'High Mountain peoples') were used interchangeably with the epithets "civilized" and "uncivilized". [17] During Japanese rule (1895–1945), anthropologists from Japan maintained the binary classification. In 1900 they incorporated it into their own colonial project by employing the term Peipo ( 平埔 ) for the "civilized tribes", and creating a category of "recognized tribes" for the aborigines who had formerly been called "uncivilized". The Musha Incident of 1930 led to many changes in aboriginal policy, and the Japanese government began referring to them as Takasago-zoku ( 高砂族 ) . [18] The latter group included the Atayal, Bunun, Tsou, Saisiat, Paiwan, Puyuma, and Amis peoples. The Tao (Yami) and Rukai were added later, for a total of nine recognized peoples. [19] During the early period of Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) rule the terms Shandi Tongbao ( 山地同胞 ) "mountain compatriots" and Pingdi Tongbao ( 平地同胞 ) "plains compatriots" were invented, to remove the presumed taint of Japanese influence and reflect the place of Taiwan's indigenous people in the Chinese Nationalist state. [20] The KMT later adopted the use of all the earlier Japanese groupings except Peipo.

Despite recent changes in the field of anthropology and a shift in government objectives, the Pingpu and Gaoshan labels in use today maintain the form given by the Qing to reflect aborigines' acculturation to Han culture. The current recognized aborigines are all regarded as Gaoshan, though the divisions are not and have never been based strictly on geographical location. The Amis, Saisiat, Tao and Kavalan are all traditionally Eastern Plains cultures. [21] The distinction between Pingpu and Gaoshan people continues to affect Taiwan's policies regarding indigenous peoples, and their ability to participate effectively in government. [22]

Although the ROC's Government Information Office officially lists 16 major groupings as "tribes," the consensus among scholars maintains that these 16 groupings do not reflect any social entities, political collectives, or self-identified alliances dating from pre-modern Taiwan. [23] The earliest detailed records, dating from the Dutch arrival in 1624, describe the aborigines as living in independent villages of varying size. Between these villages there was frequent trade, intermarriage, warfare and alliances against common enemies. Using contemporary ethnographic and linguistic criteria, these villages have been classed by anthropologists into more than 20 broad (and widely debated) ethnic groupings, [24] [25] which were never united under a common polity, kingdom or "tribe". [26]

Population of officially recognized Taiwanese indigenous peoples in 1911 [27]
Atayal Saisiyat Bunun Tsou Rukai Paiwan Puyuma Amis Yami Total
27,871 770 16,007 2,325 13,242 21,067 6,407 32,783 1,487 121,950

Since 2005, some local governments, including Tainan City in 2005, Fuli, Hualien in 2013, and Pingtung County in 2016, have begun to recognize Taiwanese Plain Indigenous peoples. The numbers of people who have successfully registered, including Kaohsiung City Government that has opened to register but not yet recognized, as of 2017 are: [28] [29] [30] [31]

Siraya Taivoan Makatao Not Specific Total
Tainan 11,830 - - 11,830
Kaohsiung 107 129 237 473
Pingtung 1,803 205 2,008
Fuli, Hualien 100 100
Total 11,937 129 1,803 542 14,411

Indigenous ethnic groups recognized by Taiwan Edit

The Government of the Republic of China officially recognizes distinct people groups among the indigenous community based upon the qualifications drawn up by the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP). [32] To gain this recognition, communities must gather a number of signatures and a body of supporting evidence with which to successfully petition the CIP. Formal recognition confers certain legal benefits and rights upon a group, as well as providing them with the satisfaction of recovering their separate identity as an ethnic group. As of June 2014, 16 people groups have been recognized. [33]

The Council of Indigenous Peoples consider several limited factors in a successful formal petition. The determining factors include collecting member genealogies, group histories and evidence of a continued linguistic and cultural identity. [34] [35] The lack of documentation and the extinction of many indigenous languages as the result of colonial cultural and language policies have made the prospect of official recognition of many ethnicities a remote possibility. Current trends in ethno-tourism have led many former Plains Aborigines to continue to seek cultural revival. [36]

Among the Plains groups that have petitioned for official status, only the Kavalan and Sakizaya have been officially recognized. The remaining twelve recognized groups are traditionally regarded as mountain aboriginals.

Other indigenous groups or subgroups that have pressed for recovery of legal aboriginal status include Chimo (who have not formally petitioned the government, see Lee 2003), Kakabu, Makatao, Pazeh, Siraya, [37] and Taivoan. The act of petitioning for recognized status, however, does not always reflect any consensus view among scholars that the relevant group should in fact be categorized as a separate ethnic group. The Siraya will become the 17th ethnic group to be recognized once their status, already recognized by the courts in May 2018, is officially announced by the central government. [38]

There is discussion among both scholars and political groups regarding the best or most appropriate name to use for many of the people groups and their languages, as well as the proper romanization of that name. Commonly cited examples of this ambiguity include (Seediq/Sediq/Truku/Taroko) and (Tao/Yami).

Nine people groups were originally recognized before 1945 by the Japanese government. [32] The Thao, Kavalan and Truku were recognized by Taiwan's government in 2001, 2002 and 2004 respectively. The Sakizaya were recognized as a 13th on 17 January 2007, [39] and on 23 April 2008 the Sediq were recognized as Taiwan's 14th official ethnic group. [40] Previously the Sakizaya had been listed as Amis and the Sediq as Atayal. Hla'alua and Kanakanavu were recognized as the 15th and 16th ethnic group on 26 June 2014. [33] A full list of the recognized ethnic groups of Taiwan, as well as some of the more commonly cited unrecognized peoples, is as follows:

Taiwanese aborigines in mainland China Edit

The People's Republic of China (PRC) government claims Taiwan as part of its territory and officially refers to all Taiwanese aborigines as Gāoshān (lit. "high mountain") and recognize them as one of the 56 ethnicities officially. According to the 2000 Census, 4,461 people were identified as Gāoshān living in mainland China. Some surveys indicate that of the 4,461 Gāoshān recorded in the 2000 PRC Census, it is estimated that there are 1,500 Amis, 1,300 Bunun, 510 Paiwan, and the remainder belonging to other peoples. [4] They are descendants of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan who migrated to mainland China before the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. [4] In Zhengzhou, Henan exists a "Taiwan Village" (台湾村) whose inhabitants' ancestors migrated from Taiwan during Kangxi era of Qing dynasty. In 2005, 2,674 people of the village identified themselves to be Gaoshan. [41] [42]

Archeological, linguistic and anecdotal evidence suggests that Taiwan's indigenous peoples have undergone a series of cultural shifts to meet the pressures of contact with other societies and new technologies. [43] Beginning in the early 17th century, Taiwanese aborigines faced broad cultural change as the island became incorporated into the wider global economy by a succession of competing colonial regimes from Europe and Asia. [44] [45] In some cases groups of aborigines resisted colonial influence, but other groups and individuals readily aligned with the colonial powers. This alignment could be leveraged to achieve personal or collective economic gain, collective power over neighboring villages or freedom from unfavorable societal customs and taboos involving marriage, age-grade and child birth. [46] [47]

Particularly among the Plains Aborigines, as the degree of the "civilizing projects" increased during each successive regime, the aborigines found themselves in greater contact with outside cultures. The process of acculturation and assimilation sometimes followed gradually in the wake of broad social currents, particularly the removal of ethnic markers (such as bound feet, dietary customs and clothing), which had formerly distinguished ethnic groups on Taiwan. [48] The removal or replacement of these brought about an incremental transformation from "Fan" (barbarian) to the dominant Confucian "Han" culture. [49] During the Japanese and KMT periods centralized modernist government policies, rooted in ideas of Social Darwinism and culturalism, directed education, genealogical customs and other traditions toward ethnic assimilation. [50] [51]

Within the Taiwanese Han Hoklo community itself, differences in culture indicate the degree to which mixture with aboriginals took place, with most pure Hoklo Han in Northern Taiwan having almost no Aboriginal admixture, which is limited to Hoklo Han in Southern Taiwan. [52] Plains aboriginals who were mixed and assimilated into the Hoklo Han population at different stages were differentiated by the historian Melissa J. Brown between "short-route" and "long-route". [53] The ethnic identity of assimilated Plains Aboriginals in the immediate vicinity of Tainan was still known since a pure Hoklo Taiwanese girl was warned by her mother to stay away from them. [54] The insulting name "fan" was used against Plains Aborigines by the Taiwanese, and the Hoklo Taiwanese speech was forced upon Aborigines like the Pazeh. [55] Hoklo Taiwanese has replaced Pazeh and driven it to near extinction. [56] Aboriginal status has been requested by Plains Aboriginals. [57]

Current forms of assimilation Edit

Many of these forms of assimilation are still at work today. For example, when a central authority nationalizes one language, that attaches economic and social advantages to the prestige language. As generations pass, use of the indigenous language often fades or disappears, and linguistic and cultural identity recede as well. However, some groups are seeking to revive their indigenous identities. [58] One important political aspect of this pursuit is petitioning the government for official recognition as a separate and distinct ethnic group.

The complexity and scope of aboriginal assimilation and acculturation on Taiwan has led to three general narratives of Taiwanese ethnic change. The oldest holds that Han migration from Fujian and Guangdong in the 17th century pushed the Plains Aborigines into the mountains, where they became the Highland peoples of today. [59] A more recent view asserts that through widespread intermarriage between Han and aborigines between the 17th and 19th centuries, the aborigines were completely Sinicized. [60] [61] Finally, modern ethnographical and anthropological studies have shown a pattern of cultural shift mutually experienced by both Han and Plains Aborigines, resulting in a hybrid culture. Today people who comprise Taiwan's ethnic Han demonstrate major cultural differences from Han elsewhere. [62] [36]

Within the Taiwanese Han Hoklo community itself, differences in culture indicate the degree to which mixture with aboriginals took place, with most Hoklo Han in Northern Taiwan having almost no Aboriginal admixture, which is limited to Hoklo Han in Southern Taiwan. [63] Plains aboriginals who were mixed and assimilated into the Hoklo Han population at different stages were differentiated by the historian Melissa J. Brown between "short-route" and "long-route". [64]

Surnames and identity Edit

Several factors encouraged the assimilation of the Plains Aborigines. [note 2] Taking a Han name was a necessary step in instilling Confucian values in the aborigines. [66] Confucian values were necessary to be recognized as a full person and to operate within the Confucian Qing state. [67] A surname in Han society was viewed as the most prominent legitimizing marker of a patrilineal ancestral link to the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) and the Five Emperors of Han mythology. [68] Possession of a Han surname, then, could confer a broad range of significant economic and social benefits upon aborigines, despite a prior non-Han identity or mixed parentage. In some cases, members of Plains Aborigines adopted the Han surname Pan (潘) as a modification of their designated status as Fan (番: "barbarian"). [69] One family of Pazeh became members of the local gentry. [70] [71] complete with a lineage to Fujian province. In other cases, families of Plains Aborigines adopted common Han surnames, but traced their earliest ancestor to their locality in Taiwan.

In many cases, large groups of immigrant Han would unite under a common surname to form a brotherhood. Brotherhoods were used as a form of defense, as each sworn brother was bound by an oath of blood to assist a brother in need. The brotherhood groups would link their names to a family tree, in essence manufacturing a genealogy based on names rather than blood, and taking the place of the kinship organizations commonly found in China. The practice was so widespread that today's family books are largely unreliable. [67] [72] Many Plains Aborigines joined the brotherhoods to gain protection of the collective as a type of insurance policy against regional strife, and through these groups they took on a Han identity with a Han lineage.

The degree to which any one of these forces held sway over others is unclear. Preference for one explanation over another is sometimes predicated upon a given political viewpoint. The cumulative effect of these dynamics is that by the beginning of the 20th century the Plains Aborigines were almost completely acculturated into the larger ethnic Han group, and had experienced nearly total language shift from their respective Formosan languages to Chinese. In addition, legal barriers to the use of traditional surnames persisted until the 1990s, and cultural barriers remain. Aborigines were not permitted to use their traditional names on official identification cards until 1995 when a ban on using aboriginal names dating from 1946 was finally lifted. [73] One obstacle is that household registration forms allow a maximum of 15 characters for personal names. However, aboriginal names are still phonetically translated into Chinese characters, and many names require more than the allotted space. [74]

Taiwanese aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar and Oceania. [75] [76] Chipped-pebble tools dating from perhaps as early as 15,000 years ago suggest that the initial human inhabitants of Taiwan were Paleolithic cultures of the Pleistocene era. These people survived by eating marine life. Archeological evidence points to an abrupt change to the Neolithic era around 6,000 years ago, with the advent of agriculture, domestic animals, polished stone adzes and pottery. The stone adzes were mass-produced on Penghu and nearby islands, from the volcanic rock found there. This suggests heavy sea traffic took place between these islands and Taiwan at this time. [77]

From around 5000 to 1500 BC, Taiwanese aborigines started a seaborne migration to the island of Luzon in the Philippines, intermingling with the older Negrito populations of the islands. This was the beginning of the Austronesian expansion. They spread throughout the rest of the Philippines and eventually migrated further to the other islands of Southeast Asia, Micronesia, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar. Taiwan remains the homeland of the Austronesian languages. [5] [78] [79] [80] [81]

There is evidence that Taiwanese aborigines continued trading with the Philippines in the Sa Huynh-Kalanay Interaction Sphere. Eastern Taiwan was the source of jade for the lingling-o jade industry (c. 500 BC - AD 1000) in the Philippines and the Sa Huỳnh culture of Vietnam. [82] [83] [84] [85]

Recorded history of the aborigines in Taiwan began around the 17th century, and has often been dominated by the views and policies of foreign powers and non-aborigines. Beginning with the arrival of Dutch merchants in 1624, the traditional lands of the aborigines have been successively colonized by Dutch, Spanish, Ming, Qing Dynasty, Japanese, and Republic of China rulers. Each of these successive "civilizing" cultural centers participated in violent conflict and peaceful economic interaction with both the Plains and Mountain indigenous groups. To varying degrees, they influenced or transformed the culture and language of the indigenous peoples.

Four centuries of non-indigenous rule can be viewed through several changing periods of governing power and shifting official policy toward aborigines. From the 17th century until the early 20th, the impact of the foreign settlers—the Dutch, Spanish and Han—was more extensive on the Plains peoples. They were far more geographically accessible than the Mountain peoples, and thus had more dealings with the foreign powers. The reactions of indigenous people to imperial power show not only acceptance, but also incorporation or resistance through their cultural practices [86] [87] By the beginning of the 20th century, the Plains peoples had largely been assimilated into contemporary Taiwanese culture as a result of European and Han colonial rule. Until the latter half of the Japanese colonial era the Mountain peoples were not entirely governed by any non-indigenous polity. However, the mid-1930s marked a shift in the intercultural dynamic, as the Japanese began to play a far more dominant role in the culture of the Highland groups. This increased degree of control over the Mountain peoples continued during Kuomintang rule. Within these two broad eras, there were many differences in the individual and regional impact of the colonizers and their "civilizing projects". At times the foreign powers were accepted readily, as some communities adopted foreign clothing styles and cultural practices (Harrison 2003), and engaged in cooperative trade in goods such as camphor, deer hides, sugar, tea and rice. [88] At numerous other times changes from the outside world were forcibly imposed.

Much of the historical information regarding Taiwan's aborigines was collected by these regimes in the form of administrative reports and gazettes as part of greater "civilizing" projects. The collection of information aided in the consolidation of administrative control.

Plains aboriginals Edit

The Plains Aborigines mainly lived in stationary village sites surrounded by defensive walls of bamboo. The village sites in southern Taiwan were more populated than other locations. Some villages supported a population of more than 1,500 people, surrounded by smaller satellite villages. [89] Siraya villages were constructed of dwellings made of thatch and bamboo, raised 2 m (6.6 ft) from the ground on stilts, with each household having a barn for livestock. A watchtower was located in the village to look out for headhunting parties from the Highland peoples. The concept of property was often communal, with a series of conceptualized concentric rings around each village. The innermost ring was used for gardens and orchards that followed a fallowing cycle around the ring. The second ring was used to cultivate plants and natural fibers for the exclusive use of the community. The third ring was for exclusive hunting and deer fields for community use. The Plains Aborigines hunted herds of spotted Formosan sika deer, Formosan sambar deer, and Reeves's muntjac as well as conducting light millet farming. Sugar and rice were grown as well, but mostly for use in preparing wine. [90]

Many of the Plains Aborigines were matrilineal/matrifocal societies. A man married into a woman's family after a courtship period during which the woman was free to reject as many men as she wished. In the age-grade communities, couples entered into marriage in their mid-30s when a man would no longer be required to perform military service or hunt heads on the battle-field. In the matriarchal system of the Siraya, it was also necessary for couples to abstain from marriage until their mid-30s, when the bride's father would be in his declining years and would not pose a challenge to the new male member of the household. It was not until the arrival of the Dutch Reformed Church in the 17th century that the marriage and child-birth taboos were abolished. There is some indication that many of the younger members of Sirayan society embraced the Dutch marriage customs as a means to circumvent the age-grade system in a push for greater village power. [91] Almost all indigenous peoples in Taiwan have traditionally had a custom of sexual division of labor. Women did the sewing, cooking and farming, while the men hunted and prepared for military activity and securing enemy heads in headhunting raids, which was a common practice in early Taiwan. Women were also often found in the office of priestesses or mediums to the gods.

For centuries, Taiwan's aboriginal peoples experienced economic competition and military conflict with a series of colonizing peoples. Centralized government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonizers through trade, intermarriage and other dispassionate intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity. For example, of the approximately 26 known languages of the Taiwanese aborigines (collectively referred to as the Formosan languages), at least ten are extinct, five are moribund [7] and several are to some degree endangered. These languages are of unique historical significance, since most historical linguists consider Taiwan to be the original homeland of the Austronesian language family. [5]

European period (1623–1662) Edit

Under Dutch rule Edit

During the European period (1623–1662) soldiers and traders representing the Dutch East India Company maintained a colony in southwestern Taiwan (1624–1662) near present-day Tainan City. This established an Asian base for triangular trade between the company, the Qing Dynasty and Japan, with the hope of interrupting Portuguese and Spanish trading alliances with China. The Spanish also established a small colony in northern Taiwan (1626–1642) in present-day Keelung. However, Spanish influence wavered almost from the beginning, so that by the late 1630s they had already withdrawn most of their troops. [92] After they were driven out of Taiwan by a combined Dutch and aboriginal force in 1642, the Spanish "had little effect on Taiwan's history". [93] Dutch influence was far more significant: expanding to the southwest and north of the island, they set up a tax system and established schools and churches in many villages.

When the Dutch arrived in 1624 at Tayouan (Anping) Harbor, Siraya-speaking representatives from nearby Saccam village soon appeared at the Dutch stockade to barter and trade an overture which was readily welcomed by the Dutch. The Sirayan villages were, however, divided into warring factions: the village of Sinckan (Sinshih) was at war with Mattau (Madou) and its ally Baccluan, while the village of Soulang maintained uneasy neutrality. In 1629 a Dutch expeditionary force searching for Han pirates was massacred by warriors from Mattau, and the victory inspired other villages to rebel. [94] In 1635, with reinforcements having arrived from Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia), the Dutch subjugated and burned Mattau. Since Mattau was the most powerful village in the area, the victory brought a spate of peace offerings from other nearby villages, many of which were outside the Siraya area. This was the beginning of Dutch consolidation over large parts of Taiwan, which brought an end to centuries of inter-village warfare. [95] The new period of peace allowed the Dutch to construct schools and churches aimed to acculturate and convert the indigenous population. [96] [97] Dutch schools taught a romanized script (Sinckan writing), which transcribed the Siraya language. This script maintained occasional use through the 18th century. [98] Today only fragments survive, in documents and stone stele markers. The schools also served to maintain alliances and open aboriginal areas for Dutch enterprise and commerce.

The Dutch soon found trade in deerskins and venison in the East Asian market to be a lucrative endeavor [99] and recruited Plains Aborigines to procure the hides. The deer trade attracted the first Han traders to aboriginal villages, but as early as 1642 the demand for deer greatly diminished the deer stocks. This drop significantly reduced the prosperity of aboriginal peoples, [100] forcing many aborigines to take up farming to counter the economic impact of losing their most vital food source.

As the Dutch began subjugating aboriginal villages in the south and west of Taiwan, increasing numbers of Han immigrants looked to exploit areas that were fertile and rich in game. The Dutch initially encouraged this, since the Han were skilled in agriculture and large-scale hunting. Several Han took up residence in Siraya villages. The Dutch used Han agents to collect taxes, hunting license fees and other income. This set up a society in which "many of the colonists were Han Chinese but the military and the administrative structures were Dutch". [101] Despite this, local alliances transcended ethnicity during the Dutch period. For example, the Guo Huaiyi Rebellion in 1652, a Han farmers' uprising, was defeated by an alliance of 120 Dutch musketeers with the aid of Han loyalists and 600 aboriginal warriors. [102]

Multiple Aboriginal villages in frontier areas rebelled against the Dutch in the 1650s due to oppression such as when the Dutch ordered aboriginal women for sex, deer pelts, and rice be given to them from aborigines in the Taipei Basin in Wu-lao-wan village which sparked a rebellion in December 1652 at the same time as the Chinese rebellion. Two Dutch translators were beheaded by the Wu-lao-wan aborigines and in a subsequent fight, 30 aboriginals and another two Dutch people died. After an embargo of salt and iron on Wu-lao-wan, the aboriginals were forced to sue for peace in February 1653. [103]

However, the Taiwanese Aboriginal peoples who were previously allied with the Dutch against the Chinese during the Guo Huaiyi Rebellion in 1652 turned against the Dutch during the later Siege of Fort Zeelandia and defected to Koxinga's Chinese forces. [104] The Aboriginals (Formosans) of Sincan defected to Koxinga after he offered them amnesty the Sincan Aboriginals then proceeded to work for the Chinese and behead Dutch people in executions while the frontier aboriginals in the mountains and plains also surrendered and defected to the Chinese on 17 May 1661, celebrating their freedom from compulsory education under the Dutch rule by hunting down Dutch people and beheading them and trashing their Christian school textbooks. [105] Koxinga formulated a plan to give oxen and farming tools and teach farming techniques to the Taiwan Aboriginals, giving them Ming gowns and caps, eating with their chiefs and gifting tobacco to Aboriginals who were gathered in crowds to meet and welcome him as he visited their villages after he defeated the Dutch. [106]

The Dutch period ended in 1662 when Ming loyalist forces of Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) drove out the Dutch and established the short-lived Zheng family kingdom on Taiwan. The Zhengs brought 70,000 soldiers to Taiwan and immediately began clearing large tracts of land to support its forces. Despite the preoccupation with fighting the Qing, the Zheng family was concerned with aboriginal welfare on Taiwan. The Zhengs built alliances, collected taxes and erected aboriginal schools, where Taiwan's aborigines were first introduced to the Confucian Classics and Chinese writing. [107] However, the impact of the Dutch was deeply ingrained in aboriginal society. In the 19th and 20th centuries, European explorers wrote of being welcomed as kin by the aborigines who thought they were the Dutch, who had promised to return. [108]

Qing Dynasty rule (1683–1895) Edit

After the Qing Dynasty government defeated the Ming loyalist forces maintained by the Zheng family in 1683, Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing Dynasty. [109] Qing forces ruled areas of Taiwan's highly populated western plain for over two centuries, until 1895. This era was characterized by a marked increase in the number of Han Chinese on Taiwan, continued social unrest, the piecemeal transfer (by various means) of large amounts of land from the aborigines to the Han, and the nearly complete acculturation of the Western Plains Aborigines to Chinese Han customs.

During the Qing Dynasty's two-century rule over Taiwan, the population of Han on the island increased dramatically. However, it is not clear to what extent this was due to an influx of Han settlers, who were predominantly displaced young men from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian province, [110] or from a variety of other factors, including: frequent intermarriage between Han and aborigines, the replacement of aboriginal marriage and abortion taboos, and the widespread adoption of the Han agricultural lifestyle due to the depletion of traditional game stocks, which may have led to increased birth rates and population growth. Moreover, the acculturation of aborigines in increased numbers may have intensified the perception of a swell in the number of Han.

The Qing government officially sanctioned controlled Han settlement, but sought to manage tensions between the various regional and ethnic groups. Therefore, it often recognized the Plains peoples' claims to deer fields and traditional territory. [111] [112] The Qing authorities hoped to turn the Plains peoples into loyal subjects, and adopted the head and corvée taxes on the aborigines, which made the Plains Aborigines directly responsible for payment to the government yamen. The attention paid by the Qing authorities to aboriginal land rights was part of a larger administrative goal to maintain a level of peace on the turbulent Taiwan frontier, which was often marred by ethnic and regional conflict. [113] The frequency of rebellions, riots, and civil strife in Qing Dynasty Taiwan is often encapsulated in the saying "every three years an uprising every five years a rebellion". [114] Aboriginal participation in a number of major revolts during the Qing era, including the Taokas-led Ta-Chia-hsi revolt of 1731–1732, ensured the Plains peoples would remain an important factor in crafting Qing frontier policy until the end of Qing rule in 1895. [115]

The struggle over land resources was one source of conflict. Large areas of the western plain were subject to large land rents called Huan Da Zu (番大租—literally, "Barbarian Big Rent"), a category which remained until the period of Japanese colonization. The large tracts of deer field, guaranteed by the Qing, were owned by the communities and their individual members. The communities would commonly offer Han farmers a permanent patent for use, while maintaining ownership (skeleton) of the subsoil (田骨), which was called "two lords to a field" (一田兩主). The Plains peoples were often cheated out of land or pressured to sell at unfavorable rates. Some disaffected subgroups moved to central or eastern Taiwan, but most remained in their ancestral locations and acculturated or assimilated into Han society. [116]

Migration to highlands Edit

One popular narrative holds that all of the Gaoshan peoples were originally Plains peoples, which fled to the mountains under pressure from Han encroachment. This strong version of the "migration" theory has been largely discounted by contemporary research as the Gaoshan people demonstrate a physiology, material cultures and customs that have been adapted for life at higher elevations. Linguistic, archeological, and recorded anecdotal evidence also suggests there has been island-wide migration of indigenous peoples for over 3,000 years. [117]

Small sub-groups of Plains Aborigines may have occasionally fled to the mountains, foothills or eastern plain to escape hostile groups of Han or other aborigines. [118] [119] The "displacement scenario" is more likely rooted in the older customs of many Plains groups to withdraw into the foothills during headhunting season or when threatened by a neighboring village, as observed by the Dutch during their punitive campaign of Mattou in 1636 when the bulk of the village retreated to Tevorangh. [120] [121] [122] The "displacement scenario" may also stem from the inland migrations of Plains Aborigine subgroups, who were displaced by either Han or other Plains Aborigines and chose to move to the Iilan plain in 1804, the Puli basin in 1823 and another Puli migration in 1875. Each migration consisted of a number of families and totaled hundreds of people, not entire communities. [123] [124] There are also recorded oral histories that recall some Plains Aborigines were sometimes captured and killed by Highlands peoples while relocating through the mountains. [125] However, as Shepherd (1993) explained in detail, documented evidence shows that the majority of Plains people remained on the plains, intermarried Hakka and Hoklo immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong, and adopted a Han identity.

Highland peoples Edit

Imperial Chinese and European societies had little contact with the Highland aborigines until expeditions to the region by European and American explorers and missionaries commenced in the 19th and early 20th centuries. [126] [127] The lack of data before this was primarily the result of a Qing quarantine on the region to the east of the "earth oxen" (土牛) border, which ran along the eastern edge of the western plain. Han contact with the mountain peoples was usually associated with the enterprise of gathering and extracting camphor from Camphor Laurel trees (Cinnamomum camphora), native to the island and in particular the mountainous areas. The production and shipment of camphor (used in herbal medicines and mothballs) was then a significant industry on the island, lasting up to and including the period of Japanese rule. [128] These early encounters often involved headhunting parties from the Highland peoples, who sought out and raided unprotected Han forest workers. Together with traditional Han concepts of Taiwanese behavior, these raiding incidents helped to promote the Qing-era popular image of the "violent" aborigine. [129]

Taiwanese Plains Aborigines were often employed and dispatched as interpreters to assist in the trade of goods between Han merchants and Highlands aborigines. The aborigines traded cloth, pelts and meat for iron and matchlock rifles. Iron was a necessary material for the fabrication of hunting knives—long, curved sabers that were generally used as a forest tool. These blades became notorious among Han settlers, given their alternative use to decapitate Highland indigenous enemies in customary headhunting expeditions.

Headhunting Edit

Every tribe except the Yami of Orchid Island (Tao) practiced headhunting, which was a symbol of bravery and valor. [130] Men who did not take heads could not cross the rainbow bridge into the spirit world upon death as per the religion of Gaya. Each tribe has its own origin story for the tradition of headhunting but the theme is similar across tribes. After the great flood, headhunting originated due to boredom (South Tsou Sa'arua, Paiwan), to improve tribal singing (Ali Mountain Tsou), as a form of population control (Atayal, Taroko, Bunun), simply for amusement and fun (Rukai, Tsou, Puyuma) or particularly for the fun and excitement of killing mentally retarded individuals (Amis). Once the victims had been decapitated and displayed the heads were boiled and left to dry, often hanging from trees or displayed on slate shelves referred to as "skull racks". A party returning with a head was cause for celebration, as it was believed to bring good luck and the spiritual power of the slaughtered individual was believed to transfer into the headhunter. If the head was that of a woman it was even better because it meant she could not bear children. The Bunun people would often take prisoners and inscribe prayers or messages to their dead on arrows, then shoot their prisoner with the hope their prayers would be carried to the dead. Taiwanese Hoklo Han settlers and Japanese were often the victims of headhunting raids as they were considered by the aborigines to be liars and enemies. A headhunting raid would often strike at workers in the fields, or set a dwelling alight and then decapitate the inhabitants as they fled the burning structure. It was also customary to later raise the victim's surviving children as full members of the community. Often the heads themselves were ceremonially 'invited' to join the community as members, where they were supposed to watch over the community and keep them safe. The indigenous inhabitants of Taiwan accepted the convention and practice of headhunting as one of the calculated risks of community life. The last groups to practice headhunting were the Paiwan, Bunun, and Atayal groups. [131] Japanese rule ended the practice by 1930, (though Japanese were not subject to this regulation and continued to headhunt their enemies throughout world war II) but some elder Taiwanese could recall firsthand the practice as late as 2003. [132]

Japanese rule (1895–1945) Edit

When the Treaty of Shimonoseki was finalized on 17 April 1895, Taiwan was ceded by the Qing Empire to Japan. [133] Taiwan's incorporation into the Japanese political orbit brought Taiwanese aborigines into contact with a new colonial structure, determined to define and locate indigenous people within the framework of a new, multi-ethnic empire. [134] The means of accomplishing this goal took three main forms: anthropological study of the natives of Taiwan, attempts to reshape the aborigines in the mold of the Japanese, and military suppression. The Aboriginals and Han joined together to violently revolt against Japanese rule in the 1907 Beipu Uprising and 1915 Tapani Incident.

Japan's sentiment regarding indigenous peoples was crafted around the memory of the Mudan Incident, when, in 1871, a group of 54 shipwrecked Ryūkyūan sailors was massacred by a Paiwan group from the village of Mudan in southern Taiwan. The resulting Japanese policy, published twenty years before the onset of their rule on Taiwan, cast Taiwanese aborigines as "vicious, violent and cruel" and concluded "this is a pitfall of the world we must get rid of them all". [135] Japanese campaigns to gain aboriginal submission were often brutal, as evidenced in the desire of Japan's first Governor General, Kabayama Sukenori, to ". conquer the barbarians" (Kleeman 2003:20). The Seediq Aboriginals fought against the Japanese in multiple battles such as the Xincheng incident (新城事件), Truku battle (太魯閣之役) (Taroko), [136] 1902 Renzhiguan incident (人止關事件), and the 1903 Zimeiyuan incident 姊妹原事件. In the Musha Incident of 1930, for example, a Seediq group was decimated by artillery and supplanted by the Taroko (Truku), which had sustained periods of bombardment from naval ships and airplanes dropping mustard gas. A quarantine was placed around the mountain areas enforced by armed guard stations and electrified fences until the most remote high mountain villages could be relocated closer to administrative control. [137]

A divide and rule policy was formulated with Japan trying to play Aboriginals and Han against each other to their own benefit when Japan alternated between fighting the two with Japan first fighting Han and then fighting Aboriginals. [138] Nationalist Japanese claim Aboriginals were treated well by Kabayama. [139] unenlightened and stubbornly stupid were the words used to describe Aboriginals by Kabayama Sukenori. [140] A hardline anti Aboriginal position aimed at the destruction of their civilization was implemented by Fukuzawa Yukichi. [141] The most tenacioius opposition was mounted by the Bunan and Atayal against the Japanese during the brutal mountain war in 1913–14 under Sakuma. Aboriginals continued to fight against the Japanese after 1915. [142] Aboriginals were subjected to military takeover and assimilation. [143] In order to exploit camphor resources, the Japanese fought against the Bngciq Atayal in 1906 and expelled them. [144] [145] The war is called "Camphor War" (樟腦戰爭). [146] [147]

The Bunun Aboriginals under Chief Raho Ari (or Dahu Ali, 拉荷·阿雷, lāhè āléi) engaged in guerilla warfare against the Japanese for twenty years. Raho Ari's revolt was sparked when the Japanese implemented a gun control policy in 1914 against the Aboriginals in which their rifles were impounded in police stations when hunting expeditions were over. The Dafen incident w:zh:大分事件 began at Dafen when a police platoon was slaughtered by Raho Ari's clan in 1915. A settlement holding 266 people called Tamaho was created by Raho Ari and his followers near the source of the Laonong River and attracted more Bunun rebels to their cause. Raho Ari and his followers captured bullets and guns and slew Japanese in repeated hit and run raids against Japanese police stations by infiltrating over the Japanese "guardline" of electrified fences and police stations as they pleased. [148]

The 1930 "New Flora and Silva, Volume 2" said of the mountain Aboriginals that the "majority of them live in a state of war against Japanese authority". [149] The Bunun and Atayal were described as the "most ferocious" Aboriginals, and police stations were targeted by Aboriginals in intermittent assaults. [150] By January 1915, all Aboriginals in northern Taiwan were forced to hand over their guns to the Japanese, however head hunting and assaults on police stations by Aboriginals still continued after that year. [150] [151] Between 1921 and 1929 Aboriginal raids died down, but a major revival and surge in Aboriginal armed resistance erupted from 1930–1933 for four years during which the Musha Incident occurred and Bunun carried out raids, after which armed conflict again died down. [152] According to a 1933-year book, wounded people in the Japanese war against the Aboriginals numbered around 4,160, with 4,422 civilians dead and 2,660 military personnel killed. [153] According to a 1935 report, 7,081 Japanese were killed in the armed struggle from 1896–1933 while the Japanese confiscated 29,772 Aboriginal guns by 1933. [154]

Beginning in the first year of Japanese rule, the colonial government embarked on a mission to study the aborigines so they could be classified, located and "civilized". The Japanese "civilizing project", partially fueled by public demand in Japan to know more about the empire, would be used to benefit the Imperial government by consolidating administrative control over the entire island, opening up vast tracts of land for exploitation. [155] To satisfy these needs, "the Japanese portrayed and catalogued Taiwan's indigenous peoples in a welter of statistical tables, magazine and newspaper articles, photograph albums for popular consumption". [156] The Japanese based much of their information and terminology on prior Qing era narratives concerning degrees of "civilization". [157]

Japanese ethnographer Ino Kanori was charged with the task of surveying the entire population of Taiwanese aborigines, applying the first systematic study of aborigines on Taiwan. Ino's research is best known for his formalization of eight peoples of Taiwanese aborigines: Atayal, Bunun, Saisiat, Tsou, Paiwan, Puyuma, Ami and Pepo (Pingpu). [158] [159] This is the direct antecedent of the taxonomy used today to distinguish people groups that are officially recognized by the government.

Life under the Japanese changed rapidly as many of the traditional structures were replaced by a military power. Aborigines who wished to improve their status looked to education rather than headhunting as the new form of power. Those who learned to work with the Japanese and follow their customs would be better suited to lead villages. The Japanese encouraged aborigines to maintain traditional costumes and selected customs that were not considered detrimental to society, but invested much time and money in efforts to eliminate traditions deemed unsavory by Japanese culture, including tattooing. [160] By the mid-1930s as Japan's empire was reaching its zenith, the colonial government began a political socialization program designed to enforce Japanese customs, rituals and a loyal Japanese identity upon the aborigines. By the end of World War II, aborigines whose fathers had been killed in pacification campaigns were volunteering to serve in Special Units and if need be die for the Emperor of Japan. [161] The Japanese colonial experience left an indelible mark on many older aborigines who maintained an admiration for the Japanese long after their departure in 1945. [162]

The Japanese troops used Aboriginal women as sex slaves, so called "comfort women". [163]

Kuomintang single-party rule (1945–1987) Edit

Japanese rule of Taiwan ended in 1945, following the armistice with the allies on September 2 and the subsequent appropriation of the island by the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) on October 25. In 1949, on losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek led the Kuomintang in a retreat from Mainland China, withdrawing its government and 1.3 million refugees to Taiwan. The KMT installed an authoritarian form of government and shortly thereafter inaugurated a number of political socialization programs aimed at nationalizing Taiwanese people as citizens of a Chinese nation and eradicating Japanese influence. [164] The KMT pursued highly centralized political and cultural policies rooted in the party's decades-long history of fighting warlordism in China and opposing competing concepts of a loose federation following the demise of the imperial Qing. [51] The project was designed to create a strong national Chinese cultural identity (as defined by the state) at the expense of local cultures. [165] Following the February 28 Incident in 1947, the Kuomintang placed Taiwan under martial law, which was to last for nearly four decades.

Taiwanese aborigines first encountered the Nationalist government in 1946, when the Japanese village schools were replaced by schools of the KMT. Documents from the Education Office show an emphasis on Chinese language, history and citizenship — with a curriculum steeped in pro-KMT ideology. Some elements of the curriculum, such as the Wu Feng Legend, are currently considered offensive to aborigines. [166] Much of the burden of educating the aborigines was undertaken by unqualified teachers, who could, at best, speak Mandarin and teach basic ideology. [167] In 1951 a major political socialization campaign was launched to change the lifestyle of many aborigines, to adopt Han customs. A 1953 government report on mountain areas stated that its aims were chiefly to promote Mandarin to strengthen a national outlook and create good customs. This was included in the Shandi Pingdi Hua (山地平地化) policy to "make the mountains like the plains". [168] Critics of the KMT's program for a centralized national culture regard it as institutionalized ethnic discrimination, point to the loss of several indigenous languages and a perpetuation of shame for being an aborigine. Hsiau noted that Taiwan's first democratically elected President, Li Teng-Hui, said in a famous interview: ". In the period of Japanese colonialism a Taiwanese would be punished by being forced to kneel out in the sun for speaking Tai-yü." [a dialect of Min Nan, which is not a Formosan language]. [169]

The pattern of intermarriage continued, as many KMT soldiers married aboriginal women who were from poorer areas and could be easily bought as wives. [168] Modern studies show a high degree of genetic intermixing. Despite this, many contemporary Taiwanese are unwilling to entertain the idea of having an aboriginal heritage. In a 1994 study, it was found that 71% of the families surveyed would object to their daughter marrying an aboriginal man. For much of the KMT era the government definition of aboriginal identity had been 100% aboriginal parentage, leaving any intermarriage resulting in a non-aboriginal child. Later the policy was adjusted to the ethnic status of the father determining the status of the child. [170]

Transition to democracy Edit

Authoritarian rule under the Kuomintang ended gradually through a transition to democracy, which was marked by the lifting of martial law in 1987. Soon after, the KMT transitioned to being merely one party within a democratic system, though maintaining a high degree of power in aboriginal districts through an established system of patronage networks. [171] The KMT continued to hold the reins of power for another decade under President Lee Teng-hui. However, they did so as an elected government rather than a dictatorial power. The elected KMT government supported many of the bills that had been promoted by aboriginal groups. The tenth amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of China also stipulates that the government would protect and preserve aboriginal culture and languages and also encourage them to participate in politics.

During the period of political liberalization, which preceded the end of martial law, academic interest in the Plains Aborigines surged as amateur and professional historians sought to rediscover Taiwan's past. The opposition tang wai activists seized upon the new image of the Plains Aborigines as a means to directly challenge the KMT's official narrative of Taiwan as a historical part of China, and the government's assertion that Taiwanese were "pure" Han Chinese. [172] [173] Many tang wai activists framed the Plains aboriginal experience in the existing anti-colonialism/victimization Taiwanese nationalist narrative, which positioned the Hoklo-speaking Taiwanese in the role of indigenous people and the victims of successive foreign rulers. [174] [175] [176] By the late 1980s many Hoklo- and Hakka-speaking people began identifying themselves as Plains Aborigines, though any initial shift in ethnic consciousness from Hakka or Hoklo people was minor. Despite the politicized dramatization of the Plains Aborigines, their "rediscovery" as a matter of public discourse has had a lasting effect on the increased socio-political reconceptualization of Taiwan—emerging from a Han Chinese-dominant perspective into a wider acceptance of Taiwan as a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic community. [177]

In many districts Taiwanese aborigines tend to vote for the Kuomintang, to the point that the legislative seats allocated to the aborigines are popularly described as iron votes for the pan-blue coalition. This may seem surprising in light of the focus of the pan-green coalition on promoting aboriginal culture as part of the Taiwanese nationalist discourse against the KMT. However, this voting pattern can be explained on economic grounds, and as part of an inter-ethnic power struggle waged in the electorate. Some aborigines see the rhetoric of Taiwan nationalism as favoring the majority Hoklo speakers rather than themselves. Aboriginal areas also tend to be poor and their economic vitality tied to the entrenched patronage networks established by the Kuomintang over the course of its fifty-five year reign. [178] [179] [180]

The democratic era has been a time of great change, both constructive and destructive, for the aborigines of Taiwan. Since the 1980s, increased political and public attention has been paid to the rights and social issues of the indigenous communities of Taiwan. Aborigines have realized gains in both the political and economic spheres. Though progress is ongoing, there remain a number of still unrealized goals within the framework of the ROC: "although certainly more 'equal' than they were 20, or even 10, years ago, the indigenous inhabitants in Taiwan still remain on the lowest rungs of the legal and socioeconomic ladders". [32] On the other hand, bright spots are not hard to find. A resurgence in ethnic pride has accompanied the aboriginal cultural renaissance, which is exemplified by the increased popularity of aboriginal music and greater public interest in aboriginal culture. [181]

Aboriginal political movement Edit

The movement for indigenous cultural and political resurgence in Taiwan traces its roots to the ideals outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). [182] Although the Republic of China was a UN member and signatory to the original UN Charter, four decades of martial law controlled the discourse of culture and politics on Taiwan. The political liberalization Taiwan experienced leading up to the official end of martial law on 15 July 1987, opened a new public arena for dissenting voices and political movements against the centralized policy of the KMT.

In December 1984, the Taiwan Aboriginal People's Movement was launched when a group of aboriginal political activists, aided by the progressive Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), [1] established the Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines (ATA, or yuan chuan hui) to highlight the problems experienced by indigenous communities all over Taiwan, including: prostitution, economic disparity, land rights and official discrimination in the form of naming rights. [183] [184] [58]

In 1988, amid the ATA's Return Our Land Movement, in which aborigines demanded the return of lands to the original inhabitants, the ATA sent its first representative to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations. [185] Following the success in addressing the UN, the "Return Our Land" movement evolved into the Aboriginal Constitution Movement, in which the aboriginal representatives demanded appropriate wording in the ROC Constitution to ensure indigenous Taiwanese "dignity and justice" in the form of enhanced legal protection, government assistance to improve living standards in indigenous communities, and the right to identify themselves as "yuan chu min" (原住民), literally, "the people who lived here first," but more commonly, "aborigines". [186] The KMT government initially opposed the term, due to its implication that other people on Taiwan, including the KMT government, were newcomers and not entitled to the island. The KMT preferred hsien chu min (先住民, "First people"), or tsao chu min (早住民, "Early People") to evoke a sense of general historical immigration to Taiwan. [187]

To some degree the movement has been successful. Beginning in 1998, the official curriculum in Taiwan schools has been changed to contain more frequent and favorable mention of aborigines. In 1996 the Council of Indigenous Peoples was promoted to a ministry-level rank within the Executive Yuan. The central government has taken steps to allow romanized spellings of aboriginal names on official documents, offsetting the long-held policy of forcing a Han name on an aborigine. A relaxed policy on identification now allows a child to choose their official designation if they are born to mixed aboriginal/Han parents.

The present political leaders in the aboriginal community, led mostly by aboriginal elites born after 1949, have been effective in leveraging their ethnic identity and socio-linguistic acculturation into contemporary Taiwanese society against the political backdrop of a changing Taiwan. [188] This has allowed indigenous people a means to push for greater political space, including the still unrealized prospect of Indigenous People's Autonomous Areas within Taiwan. [189] [32] [39]

In February 2017, the Indigenous Ketagalan Boulevard Protest started in a bid for more official recognition of land as traditional territories.

Aboriginal political representation Edit

Aborigines were represented by eight members out of 225 seats in the Legislative Yuan. In 2008, the number of legislative seats was cut in half to 113, of which Taiwanese aborigines are represented by six members, three each for lowland and highland peoples. [190] The tendency of Taiwanese aborigines to vote for members of the pan-blue coalition has been cited as having the potential to change the balance of the legislature. Citing these six seats in addition with five seats from smaller counties that also tend to vote pan-blue has been seen as giving the pan-blue coalition 11 seats before the first vote is counted. [179]

The deep-rooted hostility between Aboriginals and (Taiwanese) Hoklo, and the Aboriginal communities’ effective KMT networks, contribute to Aboriginal skepticism against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Aboriginals tendency to vote for the KMT. [191]

Aboriginals have criticized politicians for abusing the "indigenization" movement for political gains, such as aboriginal opposition to the DPP's "rectification" by recognizing the Taroko for political reasons, with the majority of mountain townships voting for Ma Ying-jeou. [192] The Atayal and Seediq slammed the Truku for their name rectification. [193]

In 2005 the Kuomintang displayed a massive photo of the anti-Japanese Aboriginal leader Mona Rudao at its headquarters in honor of the 60th anniversary of Taiwan's handover from Japan to the Republic of China. [194]

Kao Chin Su-mei led Aboriginal legislators to protest against the Japanese at Yasukuni shrine. [195] [196] [197] [198]

Aboriginals protested against the 14th Dalai Lama during his visit to Taiwan after Typhoon Morakot and denounced it as politically motivated. [199] [200] [201] [202]

The derogatory term "fan" (Chinese: 番) was often used against the Plains Aborigines by the Taiwanese. The Hoklo Taiwanese term was forced upon Aborigines like the Pazeh. [203] A racist, anti-Aboriginal slur was also used by Chiu Yi-ying, a DPP Taiwanese legislator. [204] Chiu Yi-ying said the racist words were intended for Aboriginal KMT members. [205] The Aborigines in the KMT slammed President Tsai over the criminal punishment of a hunter of Bunun Aboriginal background. [206] In response to the "apology" ceremony held by Tsai, KMT Aboriginals refused to attend. [207] Aboriginals demanded that recompense from Tsai to accompany the apology. [208] Aboriginal protestors slammed Tsai for not implementing sovereignty for Aboriginals and not using actions to back up the apology. [209] The Taipei Times ran an editorial in 2008 that rejected the idea of an apology to the Aborigines, and rejected the idea of comparing Australian Aborigines' centuries of 'genocidal' suffering by White Australians to the suffering of Aborigines in Taiwan. [210]

Inter-ethnic conflicts Edit

During the Wushe Incident Seediq Tkdaya under Mona Rudao revolted against the Japanese while the Truku and Toda did not. The rivalry between the Seediq Tkdaya vs the Toda and Truku (Taroko) was aggravated by the Wushe Incident, since the Japanese had long played them off against each other and the Japanese used Toda and Truku (Taroko) collaborators to massacre the Tkdaya. Tkdaya land was given to the Truku (Taroko) and Toda by the Japanese after the incident. The Truku had resisted and fought the Japanese before in the 1914 Truku war 太魯閣戰爭 but had since been pacified and collaborated with the Japanese in the 1930 Wushe against the Tkdaya.

Economic issues Edit

Many indigenous communities did not evenly share in the benefits of the economic boom Taiwan experienced during the last quarter of the 20th century. They often lacked satisfactory educational resources on their reservations, undermining their pursuit of marketable skills. The economic disparity between the village and urban schools resulted in imposing many social barriers on aborigines, which prevent many from moving beyond vocational training. Students transplanted into urban schools face adversity, including isolation, culture shock, and discrimination from their peers. [211] The cultural impact of poverty and economic marginalization has led to an increase in alcoholism and prostitution among aborigines. [212] [8]

The economic boom resulted in drawing large numbers of aborigines out of their villages and into the unskilled or low-skilled sector of the urban workforce. [213] Manufacturing and construction jobs were generally available for low wages. The aborigines quickly formed bonds with other communities as they all had similar political motives to protect their collective needs as part of the labor force. The aborigines became the most skilled iron-workers and construction teams on the island often selected to work on the most difficult projects. The result was a mass exodus of indigenous members from their traditional lands and the cultural alienation of young people in the villages, who could not learn their languages or customs while employed. Often, young aborigines in the cities fall into gangs aligned with the construction trade. Recent laws governing the employment of laborers from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines have also led to an increased atmosphere of xenophobia among urban aborigines, and encouraged the formulation of a pan-indigenous consciousness in the pursuit of political representation and protection. [214]

Unemployment among the indigenous population of Taiwan (2005–09)Source: CPA 2010
Date Total population Age 15 and above Total work force Employed Unemployed Labor participation rate (%) Unemployment rate (%)
December 2005 464,961 337,351 216,756 207,493 9,263 64.25 4.27
Dec. 2006 474,919 346,366 223,288 213,548 9,740 64.47 4.36
Dec. 2007 484,174 355,613 222,929 212,627 10,302 62.69 4.62
Dec. 2008 494,107 363,103 223,464 205,765 17,699 61.54 7.92
Dec. 2009 504,531 372,777 219,465 203,412 16,053 58.87 7.31

Religion Edit

Of the current population of Taiwanese aborigines, about 70% identify themselves as Christian. Moreover, many of the Plains groups have mobilized their members around predominantly Christian organizations most notably the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and Catholicism. [215]

Before contact with Christian missionaries during both the Dutch and Qing periods, Taiwanese aborigines held a variety of beliefs in spirits, gods, sacred symbols and myths that helped their societies find meaning and order. Although there is no evidence of a unified belief system shared among the various indigenous groups, there is evidence that several groups held supernatural beliefs in certain birds and bird behavior. The Siraya were reported by Dutch sources to incorporate bird imagery into their material culture. Other reports describe animal skulls and the use of human heads in societal beliefs. The Paiwan and other southern groups worship the Formosan hundred pacer snake and use the diamond patterns on its back in many designs. [216] In many Plains Aborigines societies, the power to communicate with the supernatural world was exclusively held by women called Inibs. During the period of Dutch colonization, the Inibs were removed from the villages to eliminate their influence and pave the way for Dutch missionary work. [217]

During the Zheng and Qing eras, Han immigrants brought Confucianized beliefs of Taoism and Buddhism to Taiwan's indigenous people. Many Plains Aborigines adopted Han religious practices, though there is evidence that many aboriginal customs were transformed into local Taiwanese Han beliefs. In some parts of Taiwan the Siraya spirit of fertility, Ali-zu (A-li-tsu) has become assimilated into the Han pantheon. [218] The use of female spirit mediums (tongji) can also be traced to the earlier matrilineal Inibs.

Although many aborigines assumed Han religious practices, several sub-groups sought protection from the European missionaries, who had started arriving in the 1860s. Many of the early Christian converts were displaced groups of Plains Aborigines that sought protection from the oppressive Han. The missionaries, under the articles of extraterritoriality, offered a form of power against the Qing establishment and could thus make demands on the government to provide redress for the complaints of Plains Aborigines. [219] Many of these early congregations have served to maintain aboriginal identity, language and cultures.

The influence of 19th- and 20th-century missionaries has both transformed and maintained aboriginal integration. Many of the churches have replaced earlier community functions, but continue to retain a sense of continuity and community that unites members of aboriginal societies against the pressures of modernity. Several church leaders have emerged from within the communities to take on leadership positions in petitioning the government in the interest of indigenous peoples [220] and seeking a balance between the interests of the communities and economic vitality.

Ecological issues Edit

The indigenous communities of Taiwan are closely linked with ecological awareness and conservation issues on the island, as many of the environmental issues are spearheaded by aborigines. Political activism and sizable public protests regarding the logging of the Chilan Formosan Cypress, as well as efforts by an Atayal member of the Legislative Yuan, "focused debate on natural resource management and specifically on the involvement of aboriginal people therein". [221] Another high-profile case is the nuclear waste storage facility on Orchid Island, a small tropical island 60 km (37 mi 32 nmi) off the southeast coast of Taiwan. The inhabitants are the 4,000 members of the Tao (or Yami). In the 1970s the island was designated as a possible site to store low and medium grade nuclear waste. The island was selected on the grounds that it would be cheaper to build the necessary infrastructure for storage and it was thought that the population would not cause trouble. [222] Large-scale construction began in 1978 on a site 100 m (330 ft) from the Immorod fishing fields. The Tao alleges that government sources at the time described the site as a "factory" or a "fish cannery", intended to bring "jobs [to the] home of the Tao/Yami, one of the least economically integrated areas in Taiwan". [32] When the facility was completed in 1982, however, it was in fact a storage facility for "97,000 barrels of low-radiation nuclear waste from Taiwan's three nuclear power plants". [223] The Tao have since stood at the forefront of the anti-nuclear movement and launched several exorcisms and protests to remove the waste they claim has resulted in deaths and sickness. [224] The lease on the land has expired, and an alternative site has yet to be selected. [225] The competition between different ways of representing and interpreting indigenous culture among local tourism operators does exist and creates tensions between indigenous tour guides and the NGOs which help to design and promote ethno/ecotourism. E.g., in a Sioulin Township, the government sponsored a project “Follow the Footsteps of Indigenous Hunters”. Academics and members from environmental NGOs have suggested a new way of hunting: to replace shotgun with camera. Hunters benefit from the satisfaction of ecotourists who may spot wild animals under the instructions of accompanied indigenous hunters [Chen, 2012]. The rarer the animals are witnessed by tourists, the higher the pay will be to the hunters. [226]

Parks, tourism, and commercialization Edit

Aboriginal groups are seeking to preserve their folkways and languages as well as to return to, or remain on, their traditional lands. Eco-tourism, sewing and selling carvings, jewelry and music have become viable areas of economic opportunity. However, tourism-based commercial development, such as the creation of Taiwan Aboriginal Culture Park, is not a panacea. Although these create new jobs, aborigines are seldom given management positions. Moreover, some national parks have been built on aboriginal lands against the wishes of the local communities, prompting one Taroko activist to label the Taroko National Park as a form of "environmental colonialism". [160] At times, the creation of national parks has resulted in forced resettlement of the aborigines. [227]

Due to the close proximity of aboriginal land to the mountains, many communities have hoped to cash in on hot spring ventures and hotels, where they offer singing and dancing to add to the ambience. The Wulai Atayal in particular have been active in this area. Considerable government funding has been allocated to museums and culture centers focusing on Taiwan's aboriginal heritage. Critics often call the ventures exploitative and "superficial portrayals" of aboriginal culture, which distract attention from the real problems of substandard education. [228] Proponents of ethno-tourism suggest that such projects can positively impact the public image and economic prospects of the indigenous community.

The attractive tourist destination includes natural resources, infrastructure, customs and culture, as well as the characteristics of the local industry. Thus, the role of the local community in influencing the tourism development activities is clear. The essence of tourism in today's world is the development and delivery of travel and visitation experiences to a range of individuals and groups who wish to see, understand, and experience the nature of different destinations and the way people live, work, and enjoy life in those destinations. The attitude of local people towards tourists constitutes one of the elements of a destination's tourism value chain. [226] The attraction is a tourist area's experience theme, however the main appeal is the formation of the fundamentals of the tourism image in the region [Kao, 1995]. Attraction sources can be diverse, including the area's natural resources, economic activities, customs, development history, religion, outdoor recreation activities, events and other related resources. This way, the awareness of indigenous resources constitutes an attraction to tourists. The aboriginal culture is an important indicator of tourism products’ attractiveness and a new type of economic sources. [226]

While there is an important need to link the economic, cultural, and ecological imperatives of development in the context of tourism enterprises, there is the key question of implementation and how the idea of sustainable tourism enterprises can be translated into reality: formulation of strategies and how they may be expected to interact with important aspects of indigenous culture. In addition to being locally directed and relevant, the planning process for the establishment of an ethno/ecotourism enterprise in an indigenous community should be strategic in nature. The use of a strategic planning process enables indigenous culture to be regarded as an important characteristic requiring careful consideration, rather than a feature to be exploited, or an incidental characteristic that is overshadowed by the natural features of the environment. [226]

Music Edit

A full-time aboriginal radio station, "Ho-hi-yan", was launched in 2005 [229] with the help of the Executive Yuan, to focus on issues of interest to the indigenous community. [230] This came on the heels of a "New wave of Indigenous Pop", [231] as aboriginal artists, such as A-mei, Pur-dur and Samingad (Puyuma), Difang, A-Lin (Ami), Princess Ai 戴愛玲 (Paiwan), and Landy Wen (Atayal) became international pop-stars. The rock musician Chang Chen-yue is a member of the Ami. Music has given aborigines both a sense of pride and a sense of cultural ownership. The issue of ownership was exemplified when the musical project Enigma used an Ami chant in their song "Return to Innocence", which was selected as the official theme of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The main chorus was sung by Difang and his wife, Igay. The Amis couple successfully sued Enigma's record label, which then paid royalties to the French museum that held the master recordings of the traditional songs, but the original artists, who had been unaware of the Enigma project, remained uncompensated. [9]

Indigenous Peoples' Day Edit

In 2016, the administration under President Tsai Ing-wen approved a proposal that designated August 1 as Indigenous Peoples' Day in Taiwan. In celebration of the special day, President Tsai issued an official apology to the country's aboriginal people and outlined steps to further promote legislation and involve organizations related to aboriginal causes, such as the Presidential Office's Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee. The government hopes the day will remind the public of the diverse ethnic groups in Taiwan by bringing greater respect for indigenous peoples' cultures and history and promoting their rights. [232]

Pulima Art Festival Edit

The Pulima Art Festival (藝術節 also known as Pulima Arts Festival) is a biennial event held since 2012 which showcases Aboriginal and Indigenous art and culture and is the biggest Aboriginal contemporary art event in Taiwan. Pulima is a Paiwan word meaning "creative or highly skilled people". Inspired by the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Festival d’Avignon in France, Pulima is supported by the Indigenous Peoples Cultural Foundation. Dancers and musicians from Taiwan as well as abroad feature in the festival, which takes place between November and February every second year, and awards a prize called the Pulima Art Prize. [233]

The festival was held in Taipei in 2012 and 2014, and in Kaohsiung in 2016. In 2016, the Atamira Dance Company and Black Grace came from New Zealand, and B2M (Bathurst to Melville), a band from the Tiwi Islands, Australia also performed at the festival. [233]

The 2018 festival took place in the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei Under the theme "MICAWOR – Turning Over", it displayed the talents of 26 groups of Taiwanese and international artists, and included a series of international forums, artist lectures, workshops and many other events. It collaborated with Melbourne's YIRRAMBOI Festival, with a "Festival in Festival" program. [234]

The Pulima Arts Festival took place from 2020 to 2021 [235] and several videos of participants are available on YouTube. [236]

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Cultural Tattoos Invisible in Wet Collodion Prints

A photographer has found an amazingly cool way to capture and honor the art of facial tattoos from the indigenous New Zealand culture the Māori. Using the wet collodion process, the subjects appear to have their ink magically removed in portraits hung next to modern digital photos creating a surreal before and after effect.

The permanent face designs are called tā moko. There is a very rich and cherished history of this tradition. In Māori culture, it is believed everyone has a tā moko under the skin, just waiting to be revealed to the world. Members of the society without the markings were considered of a lesser social status. Receiving the moko was an important milestone in becoming an adult. It was also desirable because they were believed to make oneself more attractive to the opposite sex.

Traditionally the designs were actually chiseled into the skin using a tool called a uhi, as opposed to being punctured like a modern ink based tattoo gun. This means although the pigment of the ink appears invisible in the historical wet collodion photos, you can still see the texture and grooves made by the application tools if you look closely enough. Most of the Māori will opt for the convenience and effectiveness of modern day tattoo tools these days so the disappearance is drastic.

Photojournalist Michael Bradley learned of the cultural tradition and how it was all but lost after European colonization in the 1850s. The only photographic records showed no tattoos except for those added beforehand with makeup or after by drawing on the photo itself with pen or pencil. He became fascinated with the way the fading of the tattoos in the wet collodion prints mirrored the traditions prominence in the culture. As time went on, fewer and fewer Māori were wearing the markings as they tried to fit into the new society around them.

Luckily, the act of getting the tā moko made a comeback and the art is experiencing a revitalization. Bradley sympathized with the struggle to preserve an important element of Māori culture and found a wonderful trick to display it in a unique way. His project is called "Puaki," which means "to come forth, show itself, open out, emerge, reveal, to give testimony."

Try out this slider below to reveal the designs hidden by the wet collodion prints. Please note, they are completely different shots and not a Photoshop effect so the subject is not in the exact same position or angle.

Bradley was fascinated by the fact that the analog photographic process, widely thought of as genuine and authentic, showed a twisted version of reality.

This exhibition forms an important social documentary of the people who choose to proudly wear tā moko today embracing their history and showcasing one of the many endangered traditions still holding strong in today's modern society. Twenty-three participants have their portraits shown side by side. Prints shot with an 85-year-old wet collodion camera were displayed on the left, and a photo captured on a modern camera on the right. Being a trained photojournalist, Bradley felt it was important for the portraits to be as authentic as possible. For this reason, each subject was able to select their own outfit and pose. Bradley even went on to record videos speaking about behind each individual's story and meaning behind their tā moko.

The exhibition is hosted at the Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. It started on May 26, 2018 and runs until September 2, 2018. Below is the video from the opening reception. Many of the subjects from the photos we there for the event and appear grateful to Bradley paying homage and respect to their cherished tradition.

As is often the case with personal projects like this, I found myself very impressed with the story behind the photos. Bradley took something that moved him and went head first into finding a way to share it with the world. This is certainly a great example of how you get from taking beautiful photos, to having people stop what they are doing and look at what you have created.

Bradley's work can be seen on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Overview Edit

The island is off the coast of the North Island. It is 19.3 km (12.0 mi) in length from west to east, varies in width from 0.64 to 9.65 km (0.40 to 6.00 mi), and has a surface area of 92 km 2 (36 sq mi). The coastline is 133.5 km (83.0 mi), including 40 km (25 mi) of beaches. The port of Matiatia at the western end is 17.7 km (11.0 mi) from Auckland and the eastern end is 21.4 km (13.3 mi) from Coromandel. [3] The much smaller Tarahiki Island lies 3 km (1.9 mi) to the east.

The island is very hilly with few flat areas, the highest point being Maunganui at 231 m (758 ft). [5] The climate is slightly warmer than Auckland, with less humidity and rain, and more sunshine hours. [3]

Geology Edit

There are locations of interest to geologists: an argillite outcrop in Rocky Bay, [6] and a chert stack at the end of Pohutukawa Point, considered "one of the best exposures of folded chert in Auckland City". [7]

Beaches Edit

There are many scenic beaches, including:

  • Oneroa Beach – The main beach, on the northern side of the town of Oneroa. It has free BBQ facilities, public toilets and a swing for children.
  • Little Oneroa Beach – A small secluded beach at the east end of Oneroa Beach, separated by a protruding cliff wall. It has free BBQ facilities, public toilets and a children's playground.
  • Palm Beach – Similar in shape to Oneroa Beach (complete with protruding cliff wall at the east end that separates a small private beach in Boatshed Bay), it gets its name from the mature phoenix palms at the east end, where a public toilet and free BBQ facilities are also located. There is a children's playground in the middle section of the beach which also has a free BBQ area, public toilets and an outdoor public shower.
  • Little Palm Beach – A small clothes-optional beach at the west end of Palm Beach.
  • Blackpool Beach – The south-facing counterpart of Oneroa Beach, lining Blackpool and popular for kayaking and windsurfing.
  • Surfdale Beach – A zoned-in beach on the southern side of Surfdale, separated from Blackpool Beach by a small protruding peninsula, which has a scenic unsealed route called The Esplanade linking the beaches. Popular for kitesurfing. Also has a free BBQ area and children's playground.
  • Onetangi Beach – A 1.87-kilometre (1.16-mile) long, north-facing beach lining Onetangi, a Māori name meaning "weeping sands". [8] For many years it has been the site of the Onetangi Beach Horse Races. Its western end, often inaccessible at high tide, is clothes-optional. It has sandcastle-building contests annually participants have a few hours to build their creations in soft sand that is free of shells and suitable for digging. Free BBQ and public facilities.
  • Cactus Bay – Considered by many Waihekeans as the most perfect beach and, with nearby Garden Cove, a romantic place for picnicking. The beach is accessible only by boat or kayak, as its land access was blocked off by a private landowner.
  • Shelly Beach – A small and well sheltered shell and stone beach located between Oneroa and Ostend. It has free BBQ facilities, a public toilet and a diving platform located just off shore. It is a popular choice with families as at high tide, it is often calm and flat - ideal for children (but not sandy).

Waiheke, like Auckland, experiences a subtropical climate according to the Trewartha climate classification, and an oceanic climate according to the Köppen climate classification. The region lies 13° of latitude south of the Tropic of Capricorn, so tropical plants which are protected for the winter months will flower and fruit in the summer, and cold climate vegetables planted in autumn will mature in early spring. Summers tend to be warm and humid, while winters are relatively mild with frost being a rare event on Waiheke.

Rainfall is typically plentiful, though dry spells may occur during the summer months which can be problematic for many of the island residents, the vast majority of whom rely on rainwater harvesting from residential roofs for drinking and household use. During such dry periods (typically 3–4 months between December and March), the island's water-delivery trucks can be seen replenishing residential water tanks that have run dry.

It is often anecdotally said by locals that Waiheke has a different micro-climate from the Auckland isthmus. Though little data supports this, the following data from a NIWA report [9] [10] suggests Waiheke receives over 100 hours more sunshine a year than other parts of Auckland.

Annual mean temperature Annual precipitation Annual sunshine hours
15.2c 1461mm 2100

The original Māori name for Waiheke was apparently Te Motu-arai-roa, 'the long sheltering island', [11] but at the time the first European visitors arrived it was known as Motu-Wai-Heke, 'island of trickling waters' [11] — rendered as Motu Wy Hake by James Downie, master of the store ship HMS Coromandel, in his 1820 chart of the Tamaki Strait and the Coromandel coast. [11]

Several iwi, Ngāti Huarere, Ngāti Maru and Ngāti Pāoa all have ancestral connections to the island. From the mid 19th century, the New Zealand government bought large blocks of land. This, along with land purchasing by private owners meant that by 1970, Māori-owned land was limited to the Ngāti Pāoa 2100-acre block to the west of the island. [12]

The location of Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf with its abundant seafood and extensive kauri forests made it appealing to residents of an expanding Auckland. When shipping companies began offering occasional trips to the island in the 1880s, Waiheke emerged as a seaside resort. In 1915, Aucklanders were offered the chance to buy affordable land at Ostend, the first subdivision of Waiheke. The naming of these new subdivisions reveal the central role of beach life to the identity of the island. The winner of a competition naming the Surfdale subdivision was awarded a parcel of land near the beach. A section of land could be bought for a small deposit on top of a cost of 8 pence a day and was promoted as a sound investment, however, a level of self sufficiency was required for life on the island as electricity only arrived in 1954. [12]

During World War II, three gun emplacements were built at Stony Batter on the eastern edge to protect Allied shipping in Waitematā Harbour, in the fear that Japanese ships might reach New Zealand. This mirrored developments at North Head and Rangitoto Island. The guns were never fired in anger. The empty emplacements can be visited seven days a week. The extensive tunnels below them have also opened as a tourist attraction. [13]

In 1999 Waiheke's community board voted Waiheke as a "genetic engineering free zone", [14] but this is a matter of principle rather than fact, as only national government controls exist over genetically engineered foods and grains.

Population Edit

Waiheke has a resident population of 9,063 people (2018) [15] with most living close to the western end, [16] or near the isthmus between Huruhi Bay and Oneroa Bay, which at its narrowest is only 600 metres (2,000 feet) wide. [17] The settlements of Oneroa and Blackpool are the furthest west, followed by Palm Beach, Surfdale, and Ostend. Further east lies Onetangi, on the northern coast of the wide Onetangi Bay. [17] To the south of this on the opposing coast is Whakanewha Regional Park, Whakanewha, and Rocky Bay [6] (sometimes erroneously called Omiha, for which there is no historical Crown provenance, while 'Rocky Bay' first appears as the name of its bay on a Māori Land Court map in 1865, and again on a Crown map dating from 1877). Much of the eastern half of the island is privately owned farmland [17] and vineyards. [18]

Waiheke is a popular holiday spot, and during the main summer season, especially around Christmas and Easter, its population increases substantially due to the number of holiday homes being rented out, corporate functions and dance parties at vineyards and restaurants, the Wine Festival and the Jazz Festival and weekend trippers from around the country and the world. The population increases significantly, almost all homes and baches are full and a festive atmosphere exists.

Social composition Edit

The demographic composition in 2012 was 82 per cent European, 12 per cent Māori, 4 per cent Pacific Islander and 2 per cent Asian. 27 per cent of residents were born outside New Zealand. [2]

Socially the island is highly diverse, with the creative sector (artists, musicians, scientists, writers, poets and actors) and eccentrics strongly represented. [17] It has 1,206 businesses but around 1,000 people commute daily to Auckland [17] as career opportunities are limited. 60.9 per cent of the residents are in employment. [19] The main employment sectors are hospitality (23 per cent) and retail (15%) followed by education, agriculture/horticulture and healthcare (10% each). [2] Gentrification and land speculation is having an impact, with high rates and mortgage interest rates forcing some people on fixed incomes to relocate. [20] New Zealand council rates are based on land and building valuations, which take into account potential value for redevelopment even if the owners live on the property and have no intention to sell or redevelop. [21] The cost of living is higher compared to the mainland, due to the shipping-freight costs of most foodstuffs, fuel and amenities.

The income distribution (2001 Census) shows a higher proportion of lower-income groups and a lower proportion of higher-income groups compared to the whole of Auckland City. This is partially due to a higher number of pensioners and single-parent families who are usually on fixed incomes and thus poorer. In 2001, the median income for those older than 15 was $15,600 (compared to $23,500 in 2006). In 2013 the median personal income was $27,200, [19] slightly lower than the Auckland median at $29,600 due to a larger number of pensioners over 65 in the demographic pyramid. The median household income was relatively low, at $51,100 per annum, compared to $76,500 in Auckland as a whole. The increase in wealth on Waiheke is also reflected in the number of families earning more than $100,000 per year, which has more than doubled in 2007 since 2001. [22]

Māori relations Edit

Race relations are supportive by New Zealand standards. The local marae was not ancestral Māori land held in Māori title but belonged to the Waiheke County Council. Its citizens, both Pākehā and Māori, got together, arranged for a long-term lease of council-owned land and built the marae. One of the earliest Māori land claims was driven by Waiheke citizens, who at the time did not know who the tangata whenua Māori were for the island. [23]

Waiheke is part of the territorial authority of Auckland Council. From 1970 until its amalgamation with Auckland City in 1989, it was administered by the Waiheke County Council. Since 1989 there has been an elected community board with limited, mainly representational powers, in line with other neighbourhoods in Auckland City. One member on the City Council represented all the inhabited Hauraki Gulf islands (i.e. Waiheke, Great Barrier and Rakino) plus the downtown area in the central business district.

Amalgamation with Auckland City, later Auckland Council Edit

In 1989 Waiheke County Council was amalgamated with Auckland City Council as part of Local Government restructuring of that year.

In 1990 the Waiheke Community Board formally requested the right to de-amalgamate from the city. A 'De-amalgamation Committee' was established by Council to facilitate the Board's wish. However, this proved not to be to the liking of most of Auckland's citizens. In 1991, the city responded to a campaign run by a pro-union group, the Waiheke Island Residents & Ratepayers Association (Inc) by holding a democratic referendum. The de-amalgamation proposal sponsored by the Community Board was defeated. [24]

In 2008, the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance received 3,080 submissions (from a population of 1.2 million), 737 of which were made by Waihekeans (population 8,500), almost 1/4 of all submissions. [25] This exemplified the level of citizen involvement found on Waiheke. A public meeting of 150 residents on 29 March 2008 found a majority in favour of breaking away from Auckland City. [26] The Royal Commission [27] recommended that Waiheke Island retain its community board with enhanced powers. When Auckland Council was created in 2010 by amalgamating seven councils and territorial authorities and Auckland Regional Council, Waiheke was given its own local board.

The Waiheke Local Board was elected in the October 2010 Auckland local elections as part of the Auckland Council. [28]

The 2010 local elections resulted in Waiheke resident Mike Lee becoming the Councillor for the Waitemata and Gulf ward. Denise Roche, Faye Storer, Jo Holmes, Don McKenzie and Jim Hannan were elected to the new Local Board. After Roche's resignation after becoming a Member of Parliament for the Green Party of New Zealand in 2011, Paul Walden was elected in a by-election.

In 2013 Lee was re-elected. Paul Walden was re-elected to the Local Board, joined by Beatle Treadwell, Becs Ballard, John Meeuwsen and Shirin Brown.

In 2016, Lee was re-elected. Paul Walden, Shirin Brown and John Meeuwsen were re-elected to the Local Board. Newly elected were Cath Handley and Bob Upchurch.

In 2015–16, the subject of amalgamation remained a hot topic on the island with an application [29] filed with the Local Government Commission from a group called "Our Waiheke" for a unitary authority.

Waiheke's lifestyle is largely influenced by the fact that it is surrounded by water - there are a number of beaches mentioned above, that are popular for a wide range of activities such as kite surfing, kayaking, stand-up-paddle boarding, boating, swimming and other typical beach pursuits. [18]

Arts and culture Edit

Waiheke has a community-run cinema, [30] a theatre [31] that hosts a number of regular musicians, performances and local productions, and a library [32] that was rebuilt in 2014 at the cost of $6 million. [33] There are a large number of art galleries run by private individuals across the island, along with a community art gallery. [34]

Waiheke has become internationally known for the biennial exhibition Sculpture on the Gulf, an “outdoor sculpture exhibition set on a spectacular coastal walkway on Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf”. [35] It takes place towards the end of January until approximately mid-March every second year. It was listed by the New York Times as number 35 in its list of 46 must-see places and events of 2013. [36] The sculpture walk attracts thousands of visitors to Waiheke in 2013, there were more than 30,000 attendees. [37]

Sports Edit

Waiheke has a number of sports teams and facilities on the island. Rugby union, cricket, rugby league, football and netball are widely played and followed.

There are three main sports facilities on the island:

  • Onetangi Sports Park: surrounded by the Whakanewha Regional Park [38] several vineyards and the Waiheke golf course [39] lies the idyllic setting for the Onetangi Sports Park. It is home to multiple sports groups such as the Waiheke Tennis club, Waiheke United AFC, [40] Waiheke Rugby, [41] Waiheke Cricket, Waiheke Mountain Bike Club [42] and an 18-hole Frisbee (Disc) Golf [43] course.
  • Ostend Sports Park: located in the centre of the urban area, it is home to the Waiheke Rams rugby club and the Waiheke Dolphins netball teams
  • The Waiheke Recreation Centre: a large indoor multi-sports facility that is used by the High School during term time (days) and at nights and weekends offers a wide range of activities such as badminton, basketball, gymnastics, martial arts and other activities. [44]

Waiheke Island has two primary schools and one secondary school. It is the only island in New Zealand, other than the North and South Islands, with a secondary school.

In 2016, the New Zealand Government Education Minister announced a $40 million school rebuild project for Waiheke. [45] This was made up of two project announcements: $23 million to Te Huruhi School rebuild project [46] to provide three new blocks with 22 new teaching spaces, a new administration area and library and targeted repairs to the existing school hall and $17m was awarded to the Waiheke High School redevelopment project to build 10 new teaching spaces and improvement to existing facilities. [47]

Both rebuild project were started in 2019 with an expected completion date of late 2019 / early 2020.

  • Te Huruhi Primary School[48] is a state contributing primary (Year 1–6) school in Surfdale, and has 301 students. [49] It opened in 1986 following the split of Waiheke Area School.
  • Waiheke Primary School[50] is a state full primary (Year 1–8) school in Ostend, and has 266 students. [49] It opened in 2005.
  • Waiheke High School[51] is a state Year 7–13 secondary school in Surfdale, and has 429 students. [49] It opened in 1986 following the split of Waiheke Area School.

Ferry Edit

The ferry Baroona, built in Australia in 1904, was the main way to get to the island from the mainland for much of the twentieth century and was known for being a slow and noisy ferry. In 1987, the first of a fleet of new catamaran ferries began to provide more efficient access to and from the island. The 40 minute journey each way made a daily commute more viable. [12]

Scheduled ferry services regularly sail to and from Waiheke. Fullers operate passenger services from Downtown Auckland to Waiheke's Matiatia wharf, with trips taking approximately 40 minutes. Meanwhile, SeaLink provides passenger, car and freight services between Half Moon Bay in East Auckland and Waiheke's Kennedy Point, with trips taking around 50 minutes to an hour. SeaLink also offer a passenger and car "City Service" connecting Kennedy Point with Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

There have been several attempts to provide alternative passenger ferry services from Matiatia. Most recently, New Zealand tour cruise company Explore Group provided a Matiatia to Downtown service from late 2014 until April 2016. The competition was welcomed by Waiheke residents, but ultimately proved unsustainable for the company. [52] [53]

In recent years, there has been significant controversy with many of Waiheke's resident population who rely on the ferries "like buses" - and especially those who commute daily to work in Auckland - complaining of poor parking arrangements at Matiatia, [54] unfair price increases [55] and generally poor ferry services. [56] This led to the launch of a Ferry User's Group [57] (or FUG) and a "Fuller's Watch" group, [58] with the objective of giving a voice to the island's ferry passengers whilst lobbying local politicians and working with the ferry companies to improve the overall experience.

Buses Edit

Waiheke has a reliable and fully timetabled public bus service (pdf) which is operated by Waiheke Bus Company [59] (owned by Fullers), and overseen by Auckland Transport. [60]

There are five routes operating in a new network from October 2019. [61] Most routes operate to and from the ferry terminal at Matiatia and span outwards across the island towards Palm Beach, Ostend, Rocky Bay and out to Onetangi Beach. There are no public bus routes towards the Eastern end of the island.

  • 50A - Onetangi Beach West, Ostend, Surfdale, Oneroa, Matiatia Ferry Terminal
  • 50B - Onetangi Beach East, Ostend, Surfdale (Jellicoe Parade, Wellington Road), Oneroa, Matiatia Ferry Terminal
  • 502 - Ōmiha (Rocky Bay), Ostend, Palm Beach, Blackpool, Oneroa, Matiatia Ferry Terminal
  • 503 - Matiatia Ferry Terminal to Oneroa (one-way summer service)
  • 504 - Waiheke Rd, Onetangi Rd, and Ostend

As the island is within one fare zone, fares are flat, regardless of journey length. [62]

In July 2019, it was announced that Waiheke will get a fleet of electric buses on the island. This will start with six new electric buses in mid-2020, with an additional five to arrive later. [63]

Air service Edit

There is one airport on the island, Waiheke Island Aerodrome, served via fixed-wing aircraft by Flight Hauraki and via helicopter by a number of operators. [64] Waiheke is also accessible via a regular seaplane service. [65]

The island has less infrastructure than mainland Auckland.

Roads: The roads are mainly narrow and in many places unsealed and unlit, especially on the eastern half of the island. Except for the Onetangi Straight (60 km/h) and the rural eastern end, the island speed limit is 50 km/h, and many of the roads see traffic travelling at well under the limit due to their size. At the car ferry terminal at Kennedy Point, the highway department has posted a sign saying "Slow Down, You're here", which delivers the message to visitors about island life.

Transport: Primary transportation on the island is by privately owned used car or car-rental for visitors. The Waiheke Bus Company (owned by Fullers) services most inhabited parts of the island, linking to the ferry sailings from Matiatia. Numerous other taxi, shuttle, bus and boutique services cater to visitors. Due to the hills, bicycles on the island tended to be limited to the young and fit, including an active mountain bike group, until the advent of ebikes. With an ebike rental company in Oneroa that also sells ebikes, they are becoming a common feature on both local roads, and on the ferry boats to the mainland. Walking continues to be a popular means of island transport, both for access and recreation with many walking trails that are not along roads. Horse riding tends to be for recreation rather than transport, but the island does support both a pony club and adult riding club.

Power: Waiheke is connected to the North Island's electricity network via twin 33 kV undersea cables from Maraetai on the mainland, terminating on the island at a 33/11 kV substation in Ostend. The island's electricity network is operated by Auckland-based lines company Vector. [66]

Water and waste water: Each house must maintain its own water supply, most collecting rainwater in cisterns. Water delivery is available and tends to be very active during dry summers. Except for the Oneroa sewage district which discharges into the Owhanake Treatment plant, each residence and relevant commercial establishments must install a septic tank and septic field to handle sewage. This is a requirement in every building consent. [67]

Internet The fibre optic cable that runs from a bay on the southern side of the island connects it to the internet. Internet services were provided using VDSL and ADSL until central government introduced a national fibre optic rollout that included urban parts of Waiheke. Central government also forced the separation of the cable infrastructure from the ISPs, with the fibre backbone being maintained by Chorus which has contracts with numerous ISPs. The locally owned WISP continues to provided wireless internet and some islanders use both services to ensure system redundancy. [68]

Solid Waste: The community established a charitable trust which successfully tendered for Auckland City's contract for solid waste disposal. The recycling centre was implemented with such success that it soon had to be expanded to handle the volume. [69] However, when the contract term expired in 2009, the Council voted to disqualify incumbent tenderer Clean Stream Waiheke Ltd and granted Transpacific Industries Group Ltd a $22 million contract. The decision was political. [70]

Emergency Services: The Waiheke Volunteer Fire Brigade, part of the New Zealand Fire Service, serves the island. The brigade has two stations, at Oneroa [71] and at Onetangi. [72]

Media: The island has a lively press, with the long-established, independently owned weekly Waiheke Gulf News and until recently the Fairfax Media owned Waiheke Marketplace which closed down in 2018. [73] A community radio station, Waiheke Radio, is broadcasting on 88.3 FM and 107.4 FM after Beach FM lost its licence in a commercial bid in 2008.

Matiatia redevelopment Edit

The gateway to Waiheke, where the main pedestrian ferry lands over one million passengers per year, is a valley and harbour called Matiatia. In 2000 it was purchased by three investors in Waitemata Infrastructure Ltd (WIL). In 2002 WIL proposed to change the Operative District Plan rules for their land to build a major shopping and hotel complex with 29,000 m 2 (312,153 sq ft) of gross floor area on buildable land of approximately 3 hectares. This united the residents of the island in opposition. Over 1,500 adult residents of the island (out of perhaps 3,000) joined together in an incorporated society, the Community and People of Waiheke Island (CAPOW), [74] to oppose the private plan change in court. Church Bay resident and former newsreader John Hawkesby became "the voice of the campaign" that included a showdown with then mayor, John Banks, when Hawkesby made a deputation to the city council hours after the press revealed that Banks was in business with two (of three) directors of WIL. [75]

In 2004, they won an interlocutory judgement in which the environment court ruled that Auckland City Council had erred in the rules, and the current rules limited controlled development to 5,000 m 2 (53,820 sq ft) in what was called the Visitor Facility Precinct. In 2005, CAPOW won an interim judgement by the court which reduced the proposed redevelopment to about a third of what the investors had originally sought. [a]

This set the stage for confidential negotiations between Auckland's mayor Dick Hubbard and the investors, who on 31 August 2005 (now known as 'Matiatia Day' on the island) sold the stock in WIL to the city for $12.5 million. The unanimous vote on 30 June 2005 of the City Council to approve the purchase was said to have come about because of the unity of the people of Waiheke Island. The court case finally was concluded with permitted development set at 10,000 m2 of mixed use gross floor development. The Court also found Auckland City Council and WIL liable for costs in relationship to the interlocutory judgement. Since WIL was now owned by Council, it had to write a cheque to CAPOW for $18,000, representing 75% of CAPOW's costs on that matter. This final cheque allowed CAPOW to pay all its debts and balance its books.

The Council organised a design competition in 2006 to find a suitable development plan and project for the Matiatia gateway. The competition winner's design (scheme 201) was available for comment on the Council website. [76] It attracted much criticism for the lack of car parking close to the ferry terminal, the transport hub function used by all islanders regularly and almost daily by around 850 commuters to Auckland. [77]

In 2013, Matiatia again became a hotspot for controversy as a group of residents proposes a private marina at the terminal. Some of the veterans of the protests a decade prior (led by local resident, retired newsreader John Hawkesby), re-emerged to oppose. [78] The Environment Court decided in favour of the residents.

Waiheke has become known as New Zealand's "island of wine," home to a dedicated group of winegrowers who have successfully matched the maritime climate and ancient soil structures to the selection of classical grape varieties to produce red and white wines with distinctive varietal character. The climate is well-suited to growing Bordeaux-type grapes, though some Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc varieties are also considered to be good. Waiheke winegrowers regularly win awards for Syrah (Kennedy Point's 2007 Syrah won best Syrah in the world in 2009), proving the island's terroir suits the variety well. Wines produced on Waiheke are relatively expensive because of the limited size of many of the island's vineyards. [79]


The weaving process (whatu) for clothing was performed not with a loom and shuttle but with the threads being manipulated and tied with fingers. A strong thread is fastened tautly in a horizontal position between two or four upright weaving sticks (turuturu). To this thread (tawhiu) are attached the upper ends of the warp or vertical threads (io). The warp is arranged close together. The weaving process consisted of working in cross-threads from left to right. The closer these threads are together, the tighter the weave, and the finer the garment.

In the case of fine garments four threads are employed in the forming of each aho. The weaver passes two of these threads on either side of the first io or vertical thread, enclosing it. In the continuing the process the two pairs of threads are reversed, those passing behind the first vertical thread would be brought in front of the next one, then behind the next and so on. Each of the down threads would be enclosed between two or four cross-threads every half inch or so. [6]

Tāniko Edit

Tāniko (or taaniko) refers to any ornamental border typically found on mats and clothes. Tāniko patterns are very geometric in form because they can be reduced down to small coloured squares repeated on a lattice framework. These base square forms, articulated in the hands of a weaver, constitute the larger diamond and triangle shapes that are visible in all traditional weaving crafts.

Pātiki or pātikitiki (flounder/flat fish: Rhombosolea plebeia) designs are based on the lozenge or diamond shape of the flounder. They can be quite varied within the basic shape. The kaokao (side or rib) pattern is formed by zigzag lines that create chevrons. These can be horizontal or vertical, open with spaces or closed repetitive lines. The design is sometimes interpreted as the arms of warriors caught in haka (fierce rhythmic dance) action. The niho taniwha (taniwha tooth) pattern is a notched-tooth design found on all types of objects, mats, woven panels, belts, and clothing. The poutama is a stepped design signifying the growth of man, striving ever upwards. Tahekeheke (striped) designs refer to any distinct vertical patterning. The whetū (stars), purapura whetū (weaving pattern of stars) or roimata (teardrop) pattern is a geometric design using two colours and alternating between them at every stitch. This design is associated with the survival of an iwi (tribe), hapū (sub-tribe), or whānau (extended family), the idea being that it is vital to have a large whanau, just as there are many stars in the Milky Way. [7]

Māori made textiles and woven items from a number of plants, including harakeke (New Zealand flax), wharariki, tī kōuka, tōī, pīngao, kiekie, nīkau and toetoe. [8] [9] [10]

Traditional Polynesian methods to create Tapa barkcloth were introduced by Māori, who knew it as aute. [11] Oral histories describe the paper mulberry tree as being introduced to New Zealand by the Ōtūrereao, Tainui and Aotea waka. [12] The tree was mostly grown around North Auckland and the Waikato, and did not thrive in southern areas, or grow as well as plants in the Pacific had done. [12] The tree was commonly seen during the voyages of James Cook in the 1770s, primarily used to create a soft, white cloth used for fillets or in ear piercings by high status men, however were rarely seen. [13] [12] Barkcloth textiles disappeared from use in the early 19th Century, coinciding with the tree's disappearance from New Zealand. [12] Oral histories tell of early experiments to create felted material similar to aute from houhere (Hoheria populnea), however attempts were unsuccessful. [12] The bark of other plants such as houhi (Hoheria angustifolia) manatu (Plagianthus regius), autetaranga (Pimelea villosa) and houi (Hoheria glabrata or Hoheria lyallii) have been used in traditional textiles such as fishing nets. [12]

The prepared fibre (muka) of the New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) became the basis of most clothing. The flax leaves were split and woven into mats, ropes and nets but clothing was often made from the fibre within the leaves. The leaves were stripped using a mussel shell, rolled by hand into two-ply Z-twist cords and twisted gently while it dries, [14] dressed by soaking and pounding with stone pounders, (patu muka), [15] to soften the fibre, spun by rolling the thread against the leg, and woven. [16] Fibres from raupō (Typha orientalis) and upoko-tangata (Cyperus ustulatus) were used in traditional kite building. [12] The fibre of the tī kouka (cordyline australis) plant is durable and so was used for sandals, anchor ropes and sails. [17]

Māori traditionally used raw fibres to create open-weave kete, using the shrinking properties of the fibres for a variety of purposes such as kete kūmara, where the open weave caused dirt to be removed from kūmara (sweet potato), or kete used to drain liquid, such as kete used to collect seafood. [8]

Colours for dyeing muka were sourced from indigenous materials. Paru (mud high in iron salts) provided black, raurēkau bark made yellow, and tānekaha bark made a tan colour. The colours were set by rolling the dyed muka in alum (potash). Red oche clay (kōkōwai) was used to dye muka around the Waitākere Ranges, however its use was rare in other areas of New Zealand. [14]

There were two types of garments that were worn and woven:

  • A knee-length kilt-like garment worn around the waist and secured by a belt
  • A rectangular garment worn over the shoulders. This might be a cape-like garment or a long cloak-like garment of finer quality.

Men's belts were known as tātua and women's as tū. The man's belt was usually the more ornate. Belts were usually made of flax but occasionally other materials were used such as kiekie and pīngao. Flax belts were often plaited in patterns with black and white stripes. The belts were secured with a string tie. Women often wore a belt composed of many strands of plaited fibre.

Pākē / Hieke Edit

To meet the cold and wet conditions of the New Zealand winter, a rain cloak called pākē or hieke was worn. It was made from tags of raw flax or Cordyline partly scraped and set in close rows attached to the muka or plaited fibre base.

In 2000 a cloak-weaving event called Ngā Here o te Ao at Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum of New Zealand, Dawn Schuster-Smith created a pākē which Te Papa now hold in their collection. The technique to weave it created a very strong foundation in the garment, which is needed to hold the weight of the six layers of undyed hollow lengths of harakeke. [18]

A type of garment known as a pākē kārure was made of two-ply closed strands of hukahuka (twisted or rolled cord or tag) interspersed with occasional black-dyed two-ply open type kārure (loosely twisted) muka thread cord. Garments such as these were worn interchangeably either around the waist as a piupiu, or across the shoulder as a cape. These types of garments are thought to pre-date European contact, later becoming a more specialised form during the mid-to-later nineteenth century, which continues today in the standardised form of the piupiu. [19]

Piupiu Edit

Piupiu are a modern Māori garment usually worn around the waist as a skirt and often forms part of the costume for Māori cultural performance, kapa haka. Piupiu came into prominence after contact with Europeans. Prior to piupiu were rāpaki and pākē kūrure which were 'garments of free-hanging strands'. [20] [18] The strands of the piupiu are usually made from the leaves of harakeke (flax) that are prepared to create a cylindrical strand with the muka (flax fibre) exposed in some sections to create geometric patterns. The waistband is often decorated with a tāniko pattern. The harakeke un-scraped cylindrical strands make a percussion sound when the wearer sways or moves. The geometric patterns are emphasised with dyeing as the dye soaks more into the exposed fibres rather than the dried raw leaf. [21] [22]

The first two captains of HMS New Zealand, a battlecruiser funded in 1911 by the government of New Zealand for the defence of the British Empire and which took an active part in three battles of the First World War, took into battle a piupiu (as well as a hei-tiki, Māori traditional pendant). The crew attributed to this the New Zealand being a "lucky ship" which sustained no casualties during the entire war. The piupiu went into the collection of the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Devonport, Auckland. [23] [24]

Fine cloaks / kākahu Edit

There were a number of different types of fine cloaks including korowai (cloaks decorated with tags), kahu huruhuru (cloaks made with bird feathers) and kahu kurī (dog-skins cloaks). Kākahu are precious taonga of New Zealand and they exhibit intricate weaving work. Some kākahu may take years to make and are for people of rank. Cloaks included kahu kurī (dog-skin cloaks), korowai (cloaks decorated with woollen pompoms or tags) and kahu huruhuru (cloaks made with bird feathers). A fine kākahu could take several years to make. They were treasured, and were sometimes exchanged for important items or services. [1] [25]

Kākahu are created using downward finger-weaving weft twining techniques (whatu), primarily using two methods: aho pātahi (single-pair twining) uting two intertwined threads, and aho rua (double-pair twining), using four. [14] Aho pātahi was originally used to create fishing traps, and the technique was adopted for Kākahu and other soft garments. [14] Aho rua is typically used to secure hukahuka ("tags") to the body of the cloak, typically rolled muka chords, feathers or dog skin. [14]

Korowai Edit

Korowai are finely woven cloaks covered with muka tassels (hukahuka). Hukahuka are made by the miro (twist thread) process of dyeing the muka (flax fibre) and rolling two bundles into a single cord which is then woven into the body of the cloak. There are many different types of korowai that are named depending on the type of hukahuka used as the decoration. Korowai kārure have tassels (hukahuka) that appear to be unravelling. Korowai ngore have hukahuka that look like pompoms. Korowai hihima had undyed tassels.

Korowai seem to have been rare at the time of Captain Cook's first visit to New Zealand, as they do not appear in drawings made by his artists. But by 1844, when George French Angas painted historical accounts of early New Zealand, korowai with their black hukahuka had become the most popular style. Hukahuka on fine examples of korowai were often up to thirty centimetres long and when made correctly would move freely with every movement of the wearer. Today, many old korowai have lost their black hukahuka due to the dyeing process speeding up the deterioration of the muka. [26]

Kaitaka Edit

Kaitaka are cloaks of finely woven muka (Phormium tenax) fibre. Kaitaka are among the more prestigious forms of traditional Māori dress. They are made from muka (flax fibre), which is in turn made from those varieties of Phormium tenax that yield the finest quality fibre characterised by a silk-like texture and rich golden sheen. Kaitaka are usually adorned with broad tāniko borders at the remu (bottom) and narrow tāniko bands along the kauko (sides). The ua (upper border) is plain and undecorated, and the kaupapa (main body) is usually unadorned. There are several sub-categories of kaitaka: parawai, where the aho (wefts) run horizontally kaitaka paepaeroa, where the aho run vertically kaitaka aronui or pātea, where the aho run horizontally with tāniko bands on the sides and bottom borders huaki, where the aho run horizontally with tāniko bands on the sides and two broad tāniko bands, one above the other, on the lower border and huaki paepaeroa, which has vertical aho with double tāniko bands on the lower border. [27]

Kahu huruhuru Edit

Fine feather cloaks called kahu huruhuru were made of muka fibre with bird feathers woven in to cover the entire cloak. These feather cloaks became more common between 1850 and 1900, when cloaks were evolving in their production. Some early examples include kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak), which used the soft brown feathers of the kiwi (Apteryx spp). Kahu kiwi were regarded as the most prestigious form of kahu huruhuru. Other kahu huruhuru incorporated the green and white feathers of the kererū (New Zealand pigeon: Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) and blue feathers from the tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae). [28]

Kahu kurī Edit

A prestigious pre-European cloak is the kahu kurī, made from dog skin from the now extinct kurī (Māori dog). They were prized heirlooms. Kurī are thought to have belonged to chiefs, and their pelts had status also. Sometimes kahu kurī were traded, giving mana across both parties. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and other museums have some of these rare cloaks in their collections. Kahu kurī were made largely between 1500 and 1850, and it is thought that production had ceased altogether by the early nineteenth century. [29] [30] There are three different construction techniques for these cloaks: one where the whole dog skins were sewn together one made from the dog tails tufted together called a kahu waero and one with woven strips of hide. [5] Some of the names for the types of kahu kurī include tōpuni, ihupuni, awarua, kahuwaero, māhiti, and pūahi. [30]

Traditional Māori weaving was maintained during colonisation, however as European materials were utilised and adapted for use in traditional weaving, meaning many traditional techniques for processing native fibres were in decline during the early 20th century. [14] [8] The craft suffered during urbanisation that occurred in the 1950s when Māori migrated from marae-based rural areas to cities, however it was through the efforts of a few Māori women and the Māori Women's Welfare League that the arts of weaving and knowledge from Te Whare Pora were preserved and widely passed on, when the league began offering weaving classes. [14] This included expertise being taught across iwi and hapū boundaries, and taught in both a traditional way and also in training courses. A national weaving school was set up in 1969, which contributed to the weaving revival and there have been a handful of important exhibitions of weaving work that have profiled the skill, cultural importance and artistry of Māori weavers. These efforts that started with notable weavers such as Rangimarīe Hetet, Diggeress Te Kanawa and Cath Brown continued through to the 1980s and became part of the Māori renaissance. [1] [31] [32] Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, the national New Zealand collective for traditional weavers, was established in 1983, [14] which organises national hui and regional workshops to promote traditional weaving.

Newfold Digital Launches as One of the World’s Largest Web Solutions Providers

May 19, 2021 08:05 ET | Source: Newfold Digital Newfold Digital

Jacksonville, Florida, UNITED STATES

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Newfold Digital today announced its presence as a newly formed entity and leading web technology provider with the debut of new corporate branding, including an employee-designed logo. Newfold Digital was created when web technology leaders Web.com Group and Endurance Web Presence combined forces into one entity in February 2021. The Newfold Digital name and new logo signifies the folding together of two companies to create a new powerhouse in the industry.

“Newfold Digital’s name and new logo represent the creation of a new type of player unfolding in an existing industry,” said Sharon Rowlands, chief executive officer (CEO) and president of Newfold Digital. “Through our work, we aim to set new standards for quality and success that our customers can depend on. Whether a small business or an enterprise, Newfold Digital is positioned to provide businesses with the edge they need to grow and thrive in today’s digital world.”

With a rich product suite offered through a robust portfolio of brands, Newfold Digital provides businesses with the custom solutions they need to compete digitally, regardless of size. While the Newfold Digital name is new, the company’s lineup of brands features some of the most prominent and storied within the web services industry, including Bluehost, Domain.com, HostGator, Network Solutions, Register.com and Web.com, as well as some of the strongest regional web brands such as Big Rock, Crazy Domains and Vodien.

Beyond the brand names and services, Newfold Digital is a web technology company with a human element. Team members are dedicated to a serve-and-solve approach, differentiating the customer experience from other providers in the market. Through this personalized approach to support, customers get where they want to go with no wasted time or effort, whether it’s DIY website building services or “build it for me” expert support.

“At Newfold Digital, our culture is driven by purpose and passion. What unites us across the company and around the globe, is a shared set of values and a unified vision for customer success,” said Rowlands. “Our team members focus on fulfilling our customer’s online needs because that’s what we do at Newfold, we empower success in a connected world.”

The company’s new logo and branding, selected from an internal design competition featuring a pool of 100+ employee-designed submissions, serves as a reminder of this dedication to customers and employees.

“The abstract shape of the ‘N’ in an origami-style pinwheel symbolizes good luck and represents an endless cycle of energy,” said Vishnu Pradeepan, system administrator for Newfold Digital and winner of the employee design competition. “That endless cycle of energy represents not just our team, who work tenaciously to ensure our customers are successful, but also the endless possibilities available in our connected world.”

For more information about Newfold Digital and our brands or services, visit: www.newfold.com/brands.

About Newfold Digital
Newfold Digital is a leading web technology company serving nearly seven million customers globally. Established in 2021 through the combination of leading web services providers Endurance Web Presence and Web.com Group, our portfolio of brands includes: Bluehost, CrazyDomains, HostGator, Network Solutions, Register.com, Web.com and many others. We help customers of all sizes build a digital presence that delivers results. With our extensive product offerings and personalized support, we take pride in collaborating with our customers to serve their online presence needs. For more information, visit newfolddigital.com.

Media Contact
Emily Watkins
Senior PR Manager, Newfold Digital
[email protected]

Newfold Digital Introducing Newfold Digital.

The Maori: A Rich and Cherished Culture at the World’s Edge - History

(Credit: Sony Pictures Classics)

French Exit

When this ultra-sharp black comedy was shown as part of the New York Film Festival, awards buzz started instantly for Michelle Pfeiffer. She stars as a rich, glamorous, self-indulgent widow who loses her fortune and extravagant New York apartment, and spends what money she has left on a permanent move to Paris. Her aimless son, played by Lucas Hedges, trails in her wake. The tone is at various times mordant, touching and farcical, with particular humour deriving from a cat that joins the journey. All that and gorgeous, non-touristy views of Paris in this gem that should be a breakout for the director, Azazel Jacobs. (CJ)

Released on 12 February in the US, 26 February in the UK and Ireland

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

The United States vs Billie Holiday

In May 1947, one of America's most important jazz singers was arrested for possession of narcotics. The subsequent trial became known as "The United States versus Billie Holiday". "And that's just how it felt," said Holiday in her autobiography. A new drama directed by Lee Daniels (Precious) argues that she wasn't in the dock because she was a high-profile drug user, but because the Federal Bureau of Narcotics wanted to pay her back for performing such incendiary political material as Strange Fruit. The Grammy-nominated Andra Day has the lead role, and Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) plays an undercover agent who switches allegiance when he falls for Lady Day. If nothing else, the film should have a fantastic soundtrack. (NB)

Released on 25 February in the Netherlands, 26 February in the US

The Many Saints of Newark

Think of this as an origin story. Fourteen years after The Sopranos ended, its creator and writer, David Chase, delivers a prequel to one of the best television series ever made. No one could replace James Gandolfini, who died in 2013, and who made the middle-aged Tony, family man and mob boss, a classic character. But Chase and director Alan Taylor enlisted Gandolfini's lookalike son, Michael Gandolfini, to play Tony as a young man. Set in the 1960s and 70s, against the backdrop of racial unrest and riots in Newark, New Jersey, with antagonism between black people and Italian Americans, the film could give us a clue about where all that Sopranos crime came from. Among the cast: Vera Farmiga as Tony's lethal mother, Livia. (CJ)

Released internationally on 11 March

No Time to Die

First there were injuries, accidents and the resignation of the original director, Danny Boyle. Then there was the pandemic, which pushed the release date back by exactly a year. But in April, more than five years after the premiere of Spectre, we will finally see the 25th official Bond film. Will it be worth the wait? Well, the trailer has all the glamour, stunts and explosions you could want from 007. The director, Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation, True Detective), is a master of action sequences and exotic locations. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag/Killing Eve) was brought in to spice up the script. And the villains are played by two Oscar winners, Christoph Waltz and Rami Malek. It looks as if Daniel Craig's last Bond movie could be his best. (NB)

Released internationally on 2 April

If anyone can teach a robot to be human, it's probably Tom Hanks (pictured). He brings his trademark best-guy-ever persona to his role as a robotics engineer who has spent 10 years living in a bunker after an apocalyptic event wiped out most of the world's population. Terminally ill, he creates a robot, played by Caleb Landry-Jones, to care for his beloved dog after he is gone. The three of them set out on a road trip through the American West, or what's left of it, in a story that is part heart-tugging drama, part adventure story. It comes from a reliable source: Steven Spielberg's Amblin production company. (CJ)

Released on 15 April in Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands, 16 April in the US

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

A Quiet Place Part II

We learned in 2020 that not every film needs to be seen in a theatre. One exception is John Krasinski's sequel to his hit A Quiet Place, about a family who will be attacked by noise-sensitive monsters if they make a peep. When I saw the original in a very large theatre, there was not a popcorn crunch to be heard, just the rare sound of an entire audience holding its breath. Emily Blunt returns as the mother of the family, with Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as her children in this follow-up to one of the most suspenseful movies of 2018. Krasinski once again writes and directs. Viewers of the original will remember with a chill why he is not on screen. (CJ)

Released internationally on 22 April

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Paul Feig's all-female Ghostbusters reboot died a death in 2016, so the producers scrapped that particular timeline, and opted for a straightforward sequel to the first two 1980s films. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is directed by Jason Reitman, the son of the original films' director, and many of the original stars are back: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, etc. On the other hand, this Ghostbusters sounds like a bolder departure from the 1980s films than Feig's was. It's set in the countryside, rather than in Manhattan, and the latest paranormal investigators are schoolchildren (Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace). "I wanted to make a movie about finding a proton pack in an old barn," Reitman told Vanity Fair, "and the thrill of actually putting it on for the first time." (NB)

Released internationally on 11 June

Having taken memorable trips to France (Ratatouille), Scotland (Brave) and Mexico (Coco), Pixar heads to Italy for its next cartoon, a sunny coming-of-age comedy directed by Enrico Casarosa and written by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones (the co-writer of Soul). In 2011, Casarosa made a beloved Pixar short, La Luna, but Luca is his debut feature. "This is a deeply personal story for me," he has said, "not only because it's set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship." Its hero is a boy named Luca who has a wonderfully carefree summer by the seaside with his new best friend – the only snag being that his friend is actually a sea monster in disguise. (NB)

Released internationally on 18 June

Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun flew into cinemas in 1986. Fortunately, Tom Cruise hasn't aged a day since then, so he can still get away with wearing Aviator shades and declaring, "I feel the need, the need for speed". In the long-awaited sequel, Cruise's cocky US Navy pilot, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, is a captain, and his old rival "Iceman" (Val Kilmer) is a four-star general. But there is no sign of Kelly McGillis as Charlie: Jennifer Connolly has replaced her as Cruise's love interest. The other new recruits are Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Miles Teller as the son of Maverick's buddy "Goose". (Sadly, his nickname isn't "Gosling", but "Rooster".) (NB)

Released internationally from 2 July

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Marvel's superhero blockbusters haven't always been kind to the comics' Asian characters: Iron Man 2 turned a Chinese villain, The Mandarin, into an English actor named Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) and Doctor Strange turned a Himalayan man, The Ancient One, into a white woman (Tilda Swinton). To make amends, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has an almost-all-Asian cast led by Simu Liu (pictured). An Asian-Canadian, to be precise, Liu plays Shang-Chi, a "Master of Kung-Fu" who was created in 1973 to cash in on the popularity of the Kung Fu television series. Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh join him for a martial arts extravaganza – and this time the Mandarin is played by Hong Kong cinema's Tony Leung. (NB)

Released internationally on 9 July

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright has always specialised in postmodern action comedies (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver), but his next film appears to be spine-tinglingly different. Co-written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917), Last Night in Soho is a slow-burning psychological horror drama in the unsettling vein of Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now and Roman Polanski's Repulsion. Thomasin McKenzie from Jojo Rabbit stars as an aspiring fashion designer who slips back through time to London in the 1960s, where she meets a pop starlet played by Anya Taylor-Joy from The Queen's Gambit. The rest of the plot is still a mystery, but the supporting cast features several swinging London icons, among them Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham and Diana Rigg, who died just after shooting her scenes. (NB)

Released internationally from 23 July

Is it time for the erotic thriller to make a comeback? Adrian Lyne is known for such sweaty, steamy neo-noirs as Fatal Attraction, 9 1/2 Weeks and Indecent Proposal. Nearly two decades after his last film, 2002's Unfaithful, the 79-year-old returns to his favourite genre with Deep Water, a torrid tale of jealousy and murder based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train/The Talented Mr Ripley). Ben Affleck (pictured) and Ana De Armas play a rich man and his beautiful young wife. He turns a blind eye to her affairs, so as to avoid an expensive divorce, but then her lovers start dying in suspicious circumstances. Fun fact: Gillian Flynn has cited the novel as one of the inspirations for Gone Girl, which was made into a film starring Affleck. (NB)

Released internationally on 13 August

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

The success of Jordan Peele's Get Out paved the way for other smart, stylish, racially-conscious horror that speaks to audiences beyond fans of the genre. The latest, produced and co-written by Peele, is a contemporary instalment in the Candyman series. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II from Watchmen stars as an artist in the now-gentrified Chicago neighbourhood of the original Candyman films, learning the truth about the ghost with a hook for a hand who turns up when you say his name five times in a mirror. The director is the talented Nia DaCosta, whose next job is directing Captain Marvel II, making her the first black woman to take on a movie in that megahit franchise (CJ)

Released internationally on 27 August

Whether you rate it as a cult classic, or whether you're sensible enough to accept that it is one of the worst films ever made, David Lynch's Dune was not a triumph. Now Denis Villeneuve has made his version of Frank Herbert's epic interstellar novel, and, judging by Villeneuve's last two science-fiction dramas, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, his Dune should be a lot more successful than Lynch's. One thing's for sure, the film Villeneuve is calling "Star Wars for adults" has 2021's most impressive cast. Timothée Chalamet (pictured) is the messianic hero the other big names include Javier Bardem, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling, Zendaya and Dave Bautista. (NB)

Released internationally on 1 October

The Last Duel

After the last distressing year, escaping to the 14th Century might not be a bad idea. Ridley Scott's (pictured) latest is another action film with swords – providing echoes of his Oscar-winning Best Picture Gladiator and his first film, The Duellists. This one is set in France, with a revenge story based on an historical event, the last legally fought duel. Adam Driver and Matt Damon are the duellists, and the creative team is just as starry. Damon wrote the screenplay with Ben Affleck, who has a supporting role, and Nicole Holofcener. Jodie Comer of Killing Eve also stars. (CJ)

Released internationally from 14 October

Even before Chloe Zhao's affecting, low-key Nomadland hit the festival circuit, she had moved on to a wildly different project, directing this instalment in the Marvel franchise. Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden and Brian Tyree Henry head the cast as Eternals, immortal aliens who have hidden out of sight on Earth for thousands of years. They surface and unite to battle the evil Deviants. Nomadland displayed Zhao's eye for wide-scale images. Action and special effects are another story, but there's every reason to assume she will translate her vision to the superhero realm, the way Taika Waititi leapt from smaller films to Thor: Ragnarok, proving that an indie sensibility can give a welcome jolt to the sturdy Marvel Cinematic Universe. (CJ)

Released internationally on 5 November

King Richard

2021 will be a big year for biopics of African-American trailblazers (see also: The United States vs Billie Holiday and Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin), but King Richard is the most intriguing. The ultimate rags-to-riches underdog story, it stars Will Smith (pictured) as Richard Williams, the father of Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton). Despite having no background in tennis, he began coaching them on derelict public courts in Compton, Los Angeles, when they were just four years old. Spoiler alert: they grew up to be two of the greatest sportspeople in history. The director of King Richard is Reinaldo Marcus Green, whose debut was the excellent Monsters & Men, making this the first time that Smith has been in a film with a black director. (NB)

Released on 19 November in the US and Turkey, 25 November in Argentina

Nightmare Alley

With films including Pan's Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro (pictured) is one of the most original, audacious directors today, his work fusing heart and horror. It will be fascinating to see what he does to reinvent Nightmare Alley, based on a novel that was adapted into the classic 1947 film noir of the same name. Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett star in the story of a con man who teams up with a psychologist. The rest of the amazing cast includes David Strathairn, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Richard Jenkins and Willem Dafoe. Who wouldn't want to work with Del Toro? His films are always at the top of my want-to-see list. (CJ)

Released on 3 December in the US

West Side Story

Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's classic Broadway musical was meant to be released last year, but when you're dealing with such an extravagantly beautiful source, a delay hardly matters. Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) and the little-known Rachel Zegler are Tony and Maria, the star-crossed Romeo and Juliet caught in a gang war between the Sharks and the Jets in 1957 New York City. This film version was written by playwright Tony Kushner, who also wrote Spielberg's Lincoln. Spielberg hasn't done a musical before but he starts with the advantage of some the most gorgeous songs ever written in Maria and Tonight. (CJ)

Released internationally from 9 December

(Credit: Searchlight Pictures)

The French Dispatch

If the cast, vintage-style poster and title signal anything, this comedy, originally set for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, is pure Wes Anderson, stylish and droll, in the mode of his Grand Budapest Hotel. The setting is a fictional city in France, among American journalists. Bill Murray plays a transplant from Kansas, founder of a magazine called The French Dispatch, which Anderson modelled on The New Yorker of decades ago, full of eccentrics on staff. The cast features many other Anderson regulars, including Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet and Frances McDormand. Three different stories, including one set among 1960s radicals, offer plenty of room for his absurdist wit. (CJ)

Released in 2021, date to be announced

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Watch the video: Who Are The Māori People Of New Zealand? (May 2022).