Karapu, R., Haimona, M. & Takurua, N. (2008). DrownBaseTM – Identifying at risk factors: Strategies and issues around Māori practices and activities towards water safety. In Levy, M., Nikora, L.W., Masters-Awatere, B., Rua, M. & Waitoki, W. (Eds). Claiming Spaces: Proceedings of the 2007 National Maori and Pacific Psychologies Symposium 23rd-24th November 2007 (pp. 132-140). Hamilton, New Zealand: Māori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/1557
Aotearoa has some of the most extensive and beautiful waterways in the world. The seas, rivers, beaches, and lakes provide endless opportunities for Māori to enjoy water activities, such as gathering kai, swimming, hoe waka, diving and fishing (Haimona & Takurua, 2003). For Māori, water is one of the greatest taonga (treasures) of this land – both physically and spiritually. Māori have always been acknowledged as possessing expertise in swimming and aquatic activities pre-European times (Haimona & Takurua, 2003). Early writers such as Best (1976) wrote extensively about Māori games and pastimes while in, on or near the water. These early descriptions illustrate the practice that Māori children were taught to swim at a very early age. The gathering of seafood and the consistent use of waterways as a mode of transport were also customary activities for Māori. The traditional beliefs and practices of Māori, demonstrate a great awareness and understanding of water, its dangers and its life-giving properties.
Maori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato
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