Summer is the hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after spring and before autumn. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice; the date of the beginning of summer varies according to climate and culture. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, vice versa. From an astronomical view, the equinoxes and solstices would be the middle of the respective seasons, but sometimes astronomical summer is defined as starting at the solstice, the time of maximal insolation identified with the 21st day of June or December. A variable seasonal lag means that the meteorological center of the season, based on average temperature patterns, occurs several weeks after the time of maximal insolation; the meteorological convention is to define summer as comprising the months of June and August in the northern hemisphere and the months of December and February in the southern hemisphere.
Under meteorological definitions, all seasons are arbitrarily set to start at the beginning of a calendar month and end at the end of a month. This meteorological definition of summer aligns with the viewed notion of summer as the season with the longest days of the year, in which daylight predominates; the meteorological reckoning of seasons is used in Australia, Denmark and Japan. It is used by many in the United Kingdom. In Ireland, the summer months according to the national meteorological service, Met Éireann, are June and August. However, according to the Irish Calendar, summer ends on 1 August. School textbooks in Ireland follow the cultural norm of summer commencing on 1 May rather than the meteorological definition of 1 June. Days continue to lengthen from equinox to solstice and summer days progressively shorten after the solstice, so meteorological summer encompasses the build-up to the longest day and a diminishing thereafter, with summer having many more hours of daylight than spring.
Reckoning by hours of daylight alone, summer solstice marks the midpoint, not the beginning, of the seasons. Midsummer takes place over the shortest night of the year, the summer solstice, or on a nearby date that varies with tradition. Where a seasonal lag of half a season or more is common, reckoning based on astronomical markers is shifted half a season. By this method, in North America, summer is the period from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox. Reckoning by cultural festivals, the summer season in the United States is traditionally regarded as beginning on Memorial Day weekend and ending on Labor Day, more in line with the meteorological definition for the parts of the country that have four-season weather; the similar Canadian tradition starts summer on Victoria Day one week prior and ends, as in the United States, on Labour Day. In Chinese astronomy, summer starts on or around 5 May, with the jiéqì known as lìxià, i.e. "establishment of summer", it ends on or around 6 August.
In southern and southeast Asia, where the monsoon occurs, summer is more defined as lasting from March, April and June, the warmest time of the year, ending with the onset of the monsoon rains. Because the temperature lag is shorter in the oceanic temperate southern hemisphere, most countries in this region use the meteorological definition with summer starting on 1 December and ending on the last day of February. Summer is traditionally associated with warm weather. In the Mediterranean regions, it is associated with dry weather, while in other places it is associated with rainy weather; the wet season is the main period of vegetation growth within the savanna climate regime. Where the wet season is associated with a seasonal shift in the prevailing winds, it is known as a monsoon. In the northern Atlantic Ocean, a distinct tropical cyclone season occurs from 1 June to 30 November; the statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is 10 September. The Northeast Pacific Ocean has a broader period of activity, but in a similar time frame to the Atlantic.
The Northwest Pacific sees tropical cyclones year-round, with a minimum in February and March and a peak in early September. In the North Indian basin, storms are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November. In the Southern Hemisphere, the tropical cyclone season runs from 1 November until the end of April with peaks in mid-February to early March. Thunderstorm season in the United States and Canada runs in the spring through summer; these storms can produce hail, strong winds and tornadoes during the afternoon and evening. Schools and universities have a summer break to take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days. In all countries, children are out of school during this time of year for summer break, although dates vary. In the United States, public schools end in late May in Memorial Day weekend, while colleges finish in early May, although some schools get out on the last or second last Thursday in May. In England and Wales, school resumes again in early September.
In Canada the summer holiday starts on the last or second-last Friday in June and ends in late August or on the first Monday of September, with the exception of when that date falls before Labour Day, in which case, ends on the second Monday of the month. In Russia the summer
Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate zones. It occurs before spring in each year. Winter is caused by the axis of the Earth. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, some use a definition based on weather; when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, vice versa. In many regions, winter is associated with freezing temperatures; the moment of winter solstice is when the Sun's elevation with respect to the North or South Pole is at its most negative value. The day on which this occurs has the shortest day and the longest night, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice; the earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates outside the polar regions differ from the date of the winter solstice and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth's elliptical orbit. The English word "winter" comes from the Proto-Indo-European root "wend," relating to water.
The tilt of the Earth's axis relative to its orbital plane plays a large role in the formation of weather. The Earth is tilted at an angle of 23.44° to the plane of its orbit, causing different latitudes to directly face the Sun as the Earth moves through its orbit. This variation brings about seasons; when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere faces the Sun more directly and thus experiences warmer temperatures than the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, winter in the Southern Hemisphere occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted more toward the Sun. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, the winter Sun has a lower maximum altitude in the sky than the summer Sun. During winter in either hemisphere, the lower altitude of the Sun causes the sunlight to hit the Earth at an oblique angle, thus a lower amount of solar radiation strikes the Earth per unit of surface area. Furthermore, the light must travel a longer distance through the atmosphere, allowing the atmosphere to dissipate more heat.
Compared with these effects, the effect of the changes in the distance of the Earth from the Sun is negligible. The manifestation of the meteorological winter in the northerly snow–prone latitudes is variable depending on elevation, position versus marine winds and the amount of precipitation. For instance, within Canada, Winnipeg on the Great Plains, a long way from the ocean, has a January high of −11.3 °C and a low of −21.4 °C. In comparison, Vancouver on the west coast with a marine influence from moderating Pacific winds has a January low of 1.4 °C with days well above freezing at 6.9 °C. Both places are at 49°N latitude, in the same western half of the continent. A similar but less extreme effect is found in Europe: in spite of their northerly latitude, the British Isles have not a single non-mountain weather station with a below-freezing mean January temperature. Meteorological reckoning is the method of measuring the winter season used by meteorologists based on "sensible weather patterns" for record keeping purposes, so the start of meteorological winter varies with latitude.
Winter is defined by meteorologists to be the three calendar months with the lowest average temperatures. This corresponds to the months of December and February in the Northern Hemisphere, June and August in the Southern Hemisphere; the coldest average temperatures of the season are experienced in January or February in the Northern Hemisphere and in June, July or August in the Southern Hemisphere. Nighttime predominates in the winter season, in some regions winter has the highest rate of precipitation as well as prolonged dampness because of permanent snow cover or high precipitation rates coupled with low temperatures, precluding evaporation. Blizzards develop and cause many transportation delays. Diamond dust known as ice needles or ice crystals, forms at temperatures approaching −40 °C due to air with higher moisture from above mixing with colder, surface-based air, they are made of simple hexagonal ice crystals. The Swedish meteorological institute defines winter as when the daily mean temperatures are below 0 °C for five consecutive days.
According to the SMHI, winter in Scandinavia is more pronounced when Atlantic low-pressure systems take more southerly and northerly routes, leaving the path open for high-pressure systems to come in and cold temperatures to occur. As a result, the coldest January on record in Stockholm, in 1987, was the sunniest. Accumulations of snow and ice are associated with winter in the Northern Hemisphere, due to the large land masses there. In the Southern Hemisphere, the more maritime climate and the relative lack of land south of 40°S makes the winters milder. In this region, snow occurs every year in elevated regions such as the Andes, the Great Dividing Range in Australia, the mountains of New Zealand, occurs in the southerly Patagonia region of South Argentina. Snow occurs year-round in Antarctica. In the Northern Hemisphere, some authorities define the period of winter based on astronomical fixed points, regardless of weather conditions. In one version of this definition, winter begins at the winter solstice and ends at the ver
Māui (Māori mythology)
In Māori mythology, as in other Polynesian traditions, Māui is a culture hero and a trickster, famous for his exploits and cleverness. Māui is credited with catching a giant fish using a fishhook taken from his grandmother's jaw-bone. In some traditions, his waka became the South Island, known as Te Waka a Māui, his last trick, which led to his death, involved the Goddess Hine-nui-te-pō. While attempting to make mankind immortal, Māui changed into a worm and entered her vagina, intent on leaving through her mouth while she slept. However, he was crushed by the obsidian teeth in her vagina. Māui-tikitiki Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga Māui-pōtiki. Maui te whare kino; the offspring of Tū increased and multiplied and did not know death until the generation of Māui-tikitiki. Māui is the son of the wife of Makeatutara, he has a miraculous birth – his mother threw her premature infant into the sea wrapped in a tress of hair from her topknot – hence Māui is known as Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga. Ocean spirits wrap the child in seaweed.
His divine ancestor, Tama-nui-te-rā takes the child and nourishes him to adolescence. Māui emerged from the sea and traveled to his mother's house, finding his four brothers, Māui-taha, Māui-roto, Māui-pae, Māui-waho. Māui's brothers are at first wary of the newcomer, but after he performed feats such as transforming himself into different kinds of birds, they acknowledged his power and admired him. At first, Taranga does not recognise Māui as her child; when he became old enough, he came to his relatives while they were gathered in the marae and being merry. Maui sat down behind his brothers. Soon his mother called the children and found a strange child, who proved to be her son, was taken in as one of the family; some of the brothers were jealous. In the days of peace remember the proverb,'When you are on friendly terms, settle your disputes in a friendly way, it is better for brothers, to be kind to other people. These are the ways by which men gain influence – by laboring for an abundance of food to feed others, by collecting property to give to others, by similar means by which you promote the good of others.
Thus Maui was received in his home. Māui's older brothers always refused to let him come fishing with them. One night, he wove for himself a flax fishing line and enchanted it with a karakia to give it strength, he stowed away in the hull of his brothers' waka. The next morning, when the waka was too far from land to return, he emerged from his hiding-place, his brothers would not lend him any bait, so he struck himself on the nose and baited the hook with his blood. Māui hauled a great fish, thus the North Island of New Zealand is known as Te Ika-a-Māui. When it emerged from the water, Māui left to find a tohunga to perform the appropriate ceremonies and prayers, leaving his brothers in charge. They, did not wait for Māui to return but began to cut up the fish, which writhed in agony, causing it to break up into mountains and valleys. If the brothers had listened to Māui, the island would have been a level plain, people would have been able to travel with ease on its surface. In Northern Māori traditions of New Zealand, Māui's waka became the South Island, with Banks Peninsula marking the place supporting his foot as he pulled up that heavy fish.
Besides the official name of Te Waipounamu, another Māori name for the South Island is Te Waka-a-Māui, the canoe of Māui. In southern traditions, the South Island is known instead as Te Waka o Aoraki and predates Māui's expedition. Māui sailed a canoe called Maahanui and after he had pulled up the North Island he left Maahanui on top of a mountain in the foothills behind what is now Ashburton; that mountain now bears the name Maahanui, the coastline between Banks Peninsula and the Waitaki River is called Te tai o Maahanui. Māui wanted to know where fire came from, so one night he went among the villages of his people and put all the fires out. Māui's mother Taranga, their rangatira, said that someone would have to ask Mahuika, the goddess of fire, for more. So Māui offered to find her. Mahuika lived in a cave in a burning mountain at the end of the earth, she gave Māui one of her burning fingernails to relight the fires, but Māui extinguished fingernail after fingernail until Mahuika became angry and sent fire to pursue Māui.
Māui transformed himself into a hawk to escape, but to no avail, for Mahuika set both land and sea on fire. Māui prayed to his great ancestors Tāwhirimātea, god of weather, Whaitiri-matakataka, goddess of thunder, who answered by pouring rain to extinguish the fire. Mahuika threw her last nail at Māui, but it missed him and flew into some trees including the māhoe and the kaikōmako. Māui brought back dry sticks of these trees to his village and showed his people how to rub the sticks together and make fire. Māui went fishing with the husband of his sister Hina. During the expedition, he became annoyed with Irawaru. In some, Māui was jealous of Irawaru's success at fishing.
A deity is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines deity as "a god or goddess". C. Scott Littleton defines a deity as "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness, beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life". In the English language, a male deity is referred to as a god, while a female deity is referred to as a goddess. Religions can be categorized by. Monotheistic religions accept only one deity, polytheistic religions accept multiple deities. Henotheistic religions accept one supreme deity without denying other deities, considering them as aspects of the same divine principle. Although most monotheistic religions traditionally envision their God as omnipotent, omniscient and eternal, none of these qualities are essential to the definition of a "deity" and various cultures conceptualized their deities differently.
Monotheistic religions refer to God in masculine terms, while other religions refer to their deities in a variety of ways – masculine, feminine and without gender. Many ancient cultures – including the ancient Mesopotamians, Greeks and Norsemen– personified natural phenomena, variously as either deliberate causes or effects; some Avestan and Vedic deities were viewed as ethical concepts. In Indian religions, deities were envisioned as manifesting within the temple of every living being's body, as sensory organs and mind. Deities were envisioned as a form of existence after rebirth, for human beings who gain merit through an ethical life, where they become guardian deities and live blissfully in heaven, but are subject to death when their merit is lost; the English language word "deity" derives from Old French deité, the Latin deitatem or "divine nature", coined by Augustine of Hippo from deus. Deus is related through a common Proto-Indo-European origin to *deiwos; this root yields the ancient Indian word Deva meaning "to gleam, a shining one", from *div- "to shine", as well as Greek dios "divine" and Zeus.
Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. Etymologically, the cognates of Devi are Greek thea. In Old Persian, daiva- means "demon, evil god", while in Sanskrit it means the opposite, referring to the "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones"; the linked term "god" refers to "supreme being, deity", according to Douglas Harper, is derived from Proto-Germanic *guthan, from PIE *ghut-, which means "that, invoked". Guth in the Irish language means "voice"; the term *ghut- is the source of Old Church Slavonic zovo, Sanskrit huta-, from the root *gheu-,An alternate etymology for the term "god" comes from the Proto-Germanic Gaut, which traces it to the PIE root *ghu-to-, derived from the root *gheu-. The term *gheu- is the source of the Greek khein "to pour"; the German root was a neuter noun. The gender of the monotheistic God shifted to masculine under the influence of Christianity. In contrast, all ancient Indo-European cultures and mythologies recognized both masculine and feminine deities.
There is no universally accepted consensus on what a deity is, concepts of deities vary across cultures. Huw Owen states that the term "deity or god or its equivalent in other languages" has a bewildering range of meanings and significance, it has ranged from "infinite transcendent being who created and lords over the universe", to a "finite entity or experience, with special significance or which evokes a special feeling", to "a concept in religious or philosophical context that relates to nature or magnified beings or a supra-mundane realm", to "numerous other usages". A deity is conceptualized as a supernatural or divine concept, manifesting in ideas and knowledge, in a form that combines excellence in some or all aspects, wrestling with weakness and questions in other aspects, heroic in outlook and actions, yet tied up with emotions and desires. In other cases, the deity is a principle or reality such as the idea of "soul"; the Upanishads of Hinduism, for example, characterize Atman as deva, thereby asserting that the deva and eternal supreme principle is part of every living creature, that this soul is spiritual and divine, that to realize self-knowledge is to know the supreme.
Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more deities. Polytheism is the belief in and worship of multiple deities, which are assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, with accompanying rituals. In most polytheistic religions, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator God or transcendental absolute principle, which manifests immanently in nature. Henotheism accepts the existence of more than one deity, but considers all deities as equivalent representations or aspects of the same divine principle, the highest. Monolatry is the belief that many deities exist, but that only one of these deities may be validly worshipped. Monotheism is the belief. A monotheistic deity, known as "God", is u
A solar deity is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms; the Sun is sometimes referred to by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ; the Neolithic concept of a "solar barge" is found in the myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as Horus as a god of the sky and sun; as the Old Kingdom theocracy gained power, early beliefs were incorporated with the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology. Atum became Ra-Atum, the rays of the setting sun. Osiris became the divine heir to Atum's power on Earth and passes his divine authority to his son Horus. Early Egyptian myths imply the sun is within the lioness, Sekhmet, at night and is reflected in her eyes. Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, "my Sun" is used as an address to royalty.
South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship, as with the Incan Inti. Proto-Indo-European religion has the sun as traversing the sky in a chariot. In Germanic mythology this is Sol, in Vedic Surya, in Greek Helios and as Apollo. In Proto-indo-European mythology the sun appears to be a multilayered figure, manifested as a goddess but perceived as the eye of the sky father Dyeus. During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun was celebrated on the winter solstice—the "rebirth" of the sun—which occurred on December 25 of the Julian calendar. In late antiquity, the theological centrality of the sun in some Imperial religious systems suggest a form of a "solar monotheism"; the religious commemorations on December 25 were replaced under Christian domination of the Empire with the birthday of Christ. The Tiv people consider the Sun to be the son of the supreme being Awondo and the Moon Awondo's daughter; the Barotse tribe believes that the Sun is inhabited by the sky god Nyambi and the Moon is his wife.
Some Sara people worship the sun. Where the sun god is equated with the supreme being, in some African mythologies he or she does not have any special functions or privileges as compared to other deities; the ancient Egyptian god of creation, Amun is believed to reside inside the sun. So is the Akan creator deity and the Dogon deity of creation, Nommo. In Egypt, there was a religion that worshipped the sun directly, was among the first monotheistic religions: Atenism. Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion; the earliest deities associated with the sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Hathor, Bast and Menhit. First Hathor, Isis, give birth to and nurse Horus and Ra. Hathor the horned-cow is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, is a wet-nurse to Horus. From at least the 4th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, the sun was worshipped as the deity Re, portrayed as a falcon headed god surmounted by the solar disk, surrounded by a serpent. Re gave warmth to the living body, symbolised as an ankh: a "T" shaped amulet with a looped upper half.
The ankh, it was believed, was surrendered with death, but could be preserved in the corpse with appropriate mummification and funerary rites. The supremacy of Re in the Egyptian pantheon was at its highest with the 5th Dynasty, when open air solar temples became common. In the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Ra lost some of his preeminence to Osiris, lord of the West, judge of the dead. In the New Empire period, the sun became identified with the dung beetle, whose spherical ball of dung was identified with the sun. In the form of the sun disc Aten, the sun had a brief resurgence during the Amarna Period when it again became the preeminent, if not only, divinity for the Pharaoh Akhenaton; the Sun's movement across the sky represents a struggle between the Pharaoh's soul and an avatar of Osiris. Ra travels across the sky in his solar-boat; the "solarisation" of several local gods reaches its peak in the period of the fifth dynasty. Rituals to the god Amun who became identified with the sun god Ra were carried out on the top of temple pylons.
A Pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for'horizon' or akhet, a depiction of two hills "between which the sun rose and set", associated with recreation and rebirth. On the first Pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies in the presence of Isis and Hathor. In the eighteenth dynasty, the earliest-known monotheistic head of state, Akhenaten changed the polytheistic religion of Egypt to a monotheistic one, Atenism of the solar-disk and is the first recorded state monotheism. All other deities were replaced by the Aten, including Amun-Ra, the reigning sun god of Akhenaten's own region. Unlike other deities, the Aten did not have multiple forms, his only image was a disk—a symbol of the sun. Soon after Akhenaten's death, worship of the traditional deities was reestablished by the religious leaders who had adopted the Aten during the reign of Akhenaten. In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh was the sun god; the Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan. He was known
The haka is a ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Although associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, haka have long been performed by both men and women, several varieties of the dance fulfil social functions within Māori culture. Haka are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals. Kapa haka groups are common in schools; the main Māori performing arts competition, Te Matatini, takes place every two years. New Zealand sports teams' practice of performing a haka before their international matches has made the haka more known around the world; this tradition began with the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team tour and has been carried on by the New Zealand rugby union team since 1905. This is considered by some Māori to be a form of cultural appropriation; the group of people performing a haka is referred to as a kapa haka.
The Māori word haka has cognates in other Polynesian languages, for example: Tongan haka,'hand action while singing'. In some languages, the meaning is divergent, for example in Tikopia saka means to'perform rites in traditional ritual system'; the form reconstructed for Proto-Polynesian is *saka, deriving from Proto-Oceanic *saŋka. It may be cognate to the Austronesian languages' words in Cebuano and Tagalog, meaning dance or martial art. According to Kāretu, the haka has been "erroneously defined by generations of uninformed as'war dances'", whereas Māori mythology places haka as the dance "about the celebration of life". According to its creation story, the sun god, Tama-nui-te-rā, had two wives, the Summer Maid, Hine-raumati, the Winter Maid, Hine-takurua. Haka originated in the coming of Hine-raumati, whose presence on still, hot days was revealed in a quivering appearance in the air; this was the haka of Tāne-rore, the son of Hine-raumati and Tama-nui-te-rā. Hyland comments. Jackson and Hokowhitu state, "haka is the generic name for all types of dance or ceremonial performance that involve movement."
The various types of haka include tūtū ngārahu and peruperu. The tūtū ngārahu involves jumping from side to side. Another kind of haka performed without weapons is the ngeri, the purpose of, to motivate a warrior psychologically; the movements are free, each performer is expected to be expressive of their feelings. Manawa wera haka were associated with funerals or other occasions involving death. Like the ngeri they were performed without weapons, there was little or no choreographed movement. War haka were performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition. Various actions are employed in the course of a performance, including facial contortions such as showing the whites of the eyes, poking out the tongue, a wide variety of vigorous body actions such as slapping the hands against the body and stomping of the feet; as well as chanted words, a variety of cries and grunts are used. Haka may be understood as a kind of symphony in which the different parts of the body represent many instruments.
The hands, legs, voice, eyes and the body as a whole combine to express courage, joy or other feelings relevant to the purpose of the occasion. The earliest Europeans to witness the haka were invariably struck by its ferocity. Joseph Banks, who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand in 1769 recorded, "The War Song and dance consists of Various contortions of the limbs during which the tongue is thrust out far and the orbits of the eyes enlarged so much that a circle of white is distinctly seen round the Iris: in short nothing is omittd which can render a human shape frightful and deformd, which I suppose they think terrible."From their arrival in the early 19th century, Christian missionaries strove unsuccessfully to eradicate the haka, along with other forms of Māori culture that they saw as conflicting with Christian beliefs and practice. Henry Williams, the leader of the Church Missionary Society mission in New Zealand, aimed to replace the haka and traditional Māori chants with hymns.
Missionaries encouraged European harmonic singing as part of the process of conversion. The use of the haka in welcoming ceremonies for members of British royal family helped to improve its standing among Europeans. Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, was the first royal to visit New Zealand, in 1869. Upon the Duke's arrival at the wharf in Wellington, he was greeted by a vigorous haka; the Wellington Independent reported, "The excitement of the Maoris becomes uncontrollable. They gesticulate, they dance, they throw their weapons wildly in the air, while they yell like fiends let loose, but all this fierce yelling is of the most friendly character. They are bidding the Duke welcome." In modern times, various haka have been composed to be performed by women and children. Haka are performed for various reasons: for welcoming distinguished guests, or to ackn
Māori mythology and Māori traditions are the two major categories into which the legends of the Māori of New Zealand may usefully be divided. The rituals and the world view of Māori society were based on an elaborate mythology, inherited from a Polynesian homeland and adapted and developed in the new setting. Few records survive of the extensive body of Māori mythology and tradition from the early years of European contact; the missionaries had the best opportunity to get the information, but failed to do so at first, in part because their knowledge of the language was imperfect. Most of the missionaries who did master the language were unsympathetic to Māori beliefs, regarding them as'puerile beliefs', or even'works of the devil'. Exceptions to this general rule were J. F. Wohlers of the South Island, Richard Taylor, who worked in the Taranaki and Wanganui River areas, William Colenso who lived at the Bay of Islands and in Hawke's Bay. "The writings of these men are among our best sources for the legends of the areas in which they worked".
In the 1840s Edward Shortland, Sir George Grey, other non-missionaries began to collect the myths and traditions. At that time many Māori were literate in their own language and the material collected was, in general, written by Māori themselves in the same style as they spoke; the new medium seems to have had minimal effect on the content of the stories. Genealogies and narratives were written out in full, just as if they were being recited or sung. Many of these early manuscripts have been published, as of 2012 scholars have access to a great body of material containing multiple versions of the great myth cycles known in the rest of Polynesia, as well as of the local traditions pertaining only to New Zealand. A great deal of the best material is found in two books, Nga Mahi a nga Tupuna, collected by Sir George Grey and translated as Polynesian Mythology; the three forms of expression prominent in Māori and Polynesian oral literature are genealogical recital and narrative prose. The reciting of genealogies was well developed in Māori oral literature, where it served several functions in the recounting of tradition.
Firstly it served to provide a kind of time scale which unified all Māori myth and history, from the distant past to the present. It linked living people to the legendary heroes. By quoting appropriate genealogical lines, a narrator emphasised his or her connection with the characters whose deeds were being described, that connection proved that the narrator had the right to speak of them. "In the cosmogonic genealogies, to be described genealogical recital is revealed as a true literary form. What appears at first sight to be a mere listing of names is in fact a cryptic account of the evolution of the universe"'. Māori poetry was always chanted. Rhyme or assonance were not devices used by the Māori; the lines are indicated by features of the music. The language of poetry tends to differ stylistically from prose. Typical features of poetic diction are the use of synonyms or contrastive opposites, the repetition of key words. "Archaic words are common, including many which have lost any specific meaning and acquired a religious mystique.
Abbreviated, sometimes cryptic utterances and the use of certain grammatical constructions not found in prose are common". Prose narrative forms the great bulk of Māori legendary material; some appears to have been sacred or esoteric, but many of the legends were well-known stories told as entertainment in the long nights of winter. "Nevertheless, they should not be regarded as fairy tales to be enjoyed only as stories. The Māui myth, for example, was important not only as entertainment but because it embodied the beliefs of the people concerning such things as the origin of fire, of death, of the land in which they lived; the ritual chants concerning firemaking, death, so on made reference to Māui and derived their power from such reference". Myths are set in the remote past and their content have to do with the supernatural, they present Māori ideas of people. The mythology accounts for natural phenomena, the weather, the stars and the moon, the fish of the sea, the birds of the forest, the forests themselves.
Much of the culturally institutioned behaviour of the people finds its sanctions in myth. "Perhaps the most distinctive feature of myth, as distinct from tradition, is its universality. Each of the major myths is known in some version not only throughout New Zealand but over much of Polynesia as well"; the Māori understanding of the development of the universe was expressed in genealogical form. These genealogies appear in many versions, in which several symbolic themes recur. "Evolution may be likened to a series of periods of darkness or voids, each numbered in sequence or qualified by some descriptive term. In some cases the periods of darkness are succeeded by periods of light. In other versions the evolution of the universe is likened to a tree, with its base, tap roots, branching roots, root hairs. Another theme likens evolution to the development of a child in the womb, as in the sequence “the seeking, the searching, the conception, the growth, the feeling, the thought, the mi