The significance of Hawaiki in Maori oral traditions is paramount. The use and suggestion of Hawaiki as the homeland of Maori is seen in the many forms of oral traditions used often by Maori, then recorded upon the arrival of european settlement later on in time. Firstly addressing what is considered oral tradition and then addressing what, who or where is Hawaiki we can identify the significance Hawaiki holds in oral tradition.
Oral traditions are by the Encyclopaedia Britannica definition ‘the lore (traditional knowledge and beliefs) of cultures having no written language. It is transmitted by word of mouth as does literature, of both prose and songs, myths, dramas, rituals, proverbs, riddles and the like. Nearly all known peoples now and in the past, have produced it’. Therefore from this we know that Māori oral traditions include but are not limited to karakia (prayer), whaikōrero (formal speech or oratory), whakatauki (proverbial speech), waiata (song) and pakiwaitara (stories and mythology).
The purpose of Oral traditions especially in Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) is to pass on, retain or remember knowledge and information. Another extremely important aspect of oral tradition especially for Maori is communication. Karakia is communication between the people and Atua. Whaikōrero is used today as communication between tangata whenua (people of the land) and manuhiri (visitors) when at a marae. Waiata is very multifaceted and can be a form of communicating opinions, emotions and sharing that with others whilst being remembered for generations to come. An example of this occurring still today is in our Kapa Haka festivals nationally like Te Matatini whose mission statement is ‘To foster, develop and protect Kapa Haka in the pursuit of excellence’ in doing this they are also preserving our language and many oral traditions.
Another very important oral tradition is that of Whakapapa or Genealogies. This is when identity is communicated. Usually in Te Ao Māori when people introduce themselves they talk of where they are from, their homeland and the people or things of that place. This is called a pepeha (Rewi 2010). Identity is very crucial part of Te Ao Māori knowing where you come from, who you are and who came before you is very important. This Identity begins from the creation story of the world; the separation of Ranginui, the sky father and Papatuanuku, the earth mother by one of their many offspring, Tane. These events are recognised and remembered through Māori oral traditions like waiata, whakapapa, whaikōrero, karakia and many others. The fact that there is an abundance of tradition behind this particular series of events assures the importance of them. Similarly to this Hawaiki can be made important or not.
Hawaiki is known as the ancestral land of New Zealand Māori.This homeland is where the atua (gods) lived and where Māori migrated from to Aotearoa.There have been many accounts passed on through generations and then finally...