12 Mar 2015

Maori origin colours Taiwan book exhibition

8:10 pm on 12 March 2015

Talk about the origins of Maori being from Taiwan flavoured the air at the Taipei International Book Exhibition.

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Photo: 123rf

A six day long international event last month included books from indigenous peoples of the world including tangata whenua, which are translated into Chinese.

A New Zealand delegation was also there, and was the guest of honour for the exhibition.

The head of the national Maori wood carving school at Te Puia, Arekatera Maihi, who was part of the group, said many indigenous Taiwanese people told him that Maori could be from there, and also spoke about the similarities between them and Maori such as facial features, and artforms.

Mr Maihi said the exhibition also included panel discussions, in which Taiwanese academics questioned New Zealand Pakeha representatives about the colonisation of Maori, and how World War I affected tangata whenua.

He was worried that the panellists would try and hide the truth but said it was really nice to hear the representatives were honest in replying to the questions.

Mr Maihi said one question from the floor asked how did the population of Maori drop so dramatically in a hundred years to 1914.

He said he was listening to the reply back from the New Zealand member, who said it was due to disease that Pakeha brought to Aotearoa.

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