Culture Differences: Caring for your parents in NZ

new zealand cultureHave you met any folks from New Zealand? Do you have any idea of how they were raised when they were children? In a study entitled: “Pacific Islands Polynesian Attitudes to Child Training and Discipline in New Zealand: Some Policy Implications for Social Welfare and Education” described the parents and children’s culture were mostly imbibed at home. The study was conducted by Penelope Schoeffel et al., of the Center of Pacific Studies in the University of Auckland to investigate cultural attitudes regarding the socialization and discipline of children. The sample population consisted of twenty-five families from the suburb of Otara in 1994.

The study generated that life had revolved around the household and children were expected to stick close to home, to be available to help with the indoor and outdoor work of the household, to run errands for their elders, and to help to take care of younger brothers and sisters. The parents that were interviewed expressed a set of common beliefs about the most important things that they had learned when they were children.

According to the study: “A frequent response was that their childhood had taught them to love and obey their parents, elders and family and to behave the way their parents wanted them to behave. The word love, to most of the informants, referred to the practical demonstration of their affection through obedience, by paying heed to what they were told, by having consideration for the feelings of others, particularly elders, and by learning and practicing approved forms of behavior. Most of the parents and grandparents interviewed, male and female alike, recalled their childhood as a time of hard work and service to their elders and their family.”

From this study, you can see that New Zealand folks were brought up to look after the helpless and weak members of the family. When this is the norm in families, it is difficult for a New Zealander to leave home for work with no one to look out for the elderly. You can expect these children who’ve grown into adults to have their elder’s care in their own home. However, for those who may need to work, they may need someone to do a 24 hour care for the old folks at home.

As such, you can expect New Zealanders to take care of their parents when they grow old and weak. This may be difficult for those who’ve grown to be independent and have been influenced by friends. However, it will be difficult for someone who has been brought up to take care of the weak family members to just abandon them. You can find these independent youngsters to hire home care services or bring their old folks to home care facilities.

Ensuring the welfare of the elderly at home doesn’t have to come in the way of professional growth anymore. One needs to take some time off for appropriate planning and use of resources to find the best care possible for New Zealand old timers.

The Opulent Landscape Heritage of New Zealand

beehive buildingAre you looking for a place to enrich your knowledge of nature? Whether you are looking for a respite from the busy humdrum of your everyday routine or seeking opportunities to learn about nature, New Zealand offers rich landscapes from nature itself. Here some of the historical landmarks in New Zealand that boasts rich landscapes:

Okakari Marine Point Reserve. Otherwise known as Goat Island and Cape Rodney, Okakari Marine Point Reserve is the first marine reserve in New Zealand. This New Zealand pride was previously identified for over fishing, which later on was protected way back in 1975. Up until now, the value of transformation and nature conservation made it as one of the richest ecological areas, filled with sea creatures, both shallow and deep water. Snorkeling will be a great adventure to view and appreciate the panoramic scenery underwater.

Mount Eden. This is the highest volcano in Auckland with 196 meters height. It’s also known as Maungawhau which means Mountain of the Whau Tree in Maori language. The name Mount Eden was given to the mountain in honor of the first Earl of Aukland, George Eden. You can reach the place by foot or by vehicle traveling along Mount Eden and Clive road. The volcano erupted 15,000 years ago, forming three scoria cones and lies dormant since then. The last eruption created a huge scoria with a central crater. This area is ideal for hikers with a number of trails to reach the summit.

Beehive Building. Known for its architectural beauty, the beehive building is also the New Zealand Parliament Building. The shape of the building is akin to the traditional form of harvesting honey using skeps. This building was said to be constructed somewhere between 1969 and 1979. The original design of the building was created by Sir Basil Spence, a Scottish architect. Landscape artists like landscapers in west london will revel at the majestic ten storey architecture stainless steel mesh wall panels and translucent glass ceiling.

Art enthusiasts will also be glad to visit this place as it is extensively decorated with New Zealand art. Among its pride is the notable mural of the atmosphere and sky of New Zealand, conceptualized and created by John Drawbridge.

Auckland Domain. Garden enthusiasts as well as west london landscapers will not be left behind when it comes to historical beauties of New Zealand. A 75-hectare park is located above the volcanic crater Pukekawa and showcases vista walking paths, historical attractions, statues and astonishing varieties of shrubbery and flora.

Auckland Harbor Bridge. After a long day of sightseeing, you can also enjoy a quiet and calm evening near the Auckland Harbor Bridge. The harbor bridge is a special attraction at night because of the spectacular illuminated view of the city. Well, if you come a bit earlier and there’s still daylight, you just may enjoy the adrenaline rush with bungee jumping excursions at this same bridge.

If you’re looking for a place to have a couple of drinks, the City Center offers a wide variety of entertainment attractions like the Auckland Zoo and the Auckland Regional Botanical Gardens.

Toi as a Representation of the Arts of New Zealand

The creative arts of New Zealand such as weaving and carving are best depicted through Toi. It is a form of Māori’s celebration of their glorious past that continues to linger and evolve through the presence of modernity.

It can be best represented through raranga, and whakairo.

Raranga is the term that refers to the country’s the art of weaving. When Māori first arrived in Aotearoa, they encountered a climate that was extremely different compared to their homelands in Polynesia. The people were able to adapt very fast with the aid of their existing weaving skills. They were able to produce korowai or cloaks and other practical objects they use in their daily life such as kete or baskets, whāriki or mats. Harekeke remains to be the most widely used weaving material. It is also known as New Zealand flax.

Traditionally speaking, the art of weaving was done by women. The skilled weavers are given a price by their respective tribes. There is a famous Māori saying that goes, ‘Aitia te wahine o te pā harakeke’, in English, it goes ‘Marry the woman who is always at the flax bush, for she is an expert flax worker and an industrious person’.

Traditionally speaking, cloaks were woven by hand between two upright weaving pegs. Feathers and decorative threads are also used in order to enhance the beauty of the cloak. Natural dyes were also used to have a variety when it comes to the colours. Examples of the nature dyes are paru or swamp mud which was used to have a black tone and tanekaha or bark to have brown colour.

Whakairo is the term that refers to the country’s art of carving. Each whakairo or carving tells a unique story. These stories were passed from one generation to another. These stories carry cultural tradition and tribal history.

Traditionally, speaking the art of carving was done by men. The carvings are adornments, weapons, tools, musical instruments, and posts that are used for the buildings within their villages.

The art of carving is a symbol of the country’s prestige. Sample of these carving are ear pendants, breast pendants, carved wombs worn as an accessory in the hair. These accessories were usually made from pounamu or jade or greenstone, whale ivory and whale bone. To further improve the beauty of the accessories, other carvers used other materials such as albatross feathers and sharks teeth. Pounamu from the South Island of the country is best known for its beauty and strength. It is still prevalent even up to these days.

The carvings are so rich and full when it comes to symbolism.  The designs differ from one tribe to another. Some of the symbols include the tiki which is a representation of the human figure and the manaia, a representation of a creature that has a bird-like head and serpent-like body, which is considered as a symbol for protection. The natural environment such as pungawerewere or spider webs, unaunahi or fish scales and koru or the unfolding leaves of the fern were used as inspirations for traditional patterns in carving.

Kapa Haka as a Representation of the Culture of New Zealand

Kapa haka refers to traditional Māori performing arts. It is one of the best representations of the culture of New Zealand.

Kapa haka is the term for Māori performing arts. The term kappa means to form a line and haka means dance. It presents a performance which is in form of a song, dance and chant and is full of emotions. It is performed by by a number of cultural groups in different places such as school and during special events and festivals.

During a kapa haka performance one gets to have an experience of a range of compositions, from chants and choral singing to graceful action songs and ferocious war dances that best depict things about the culture and the country. Some performances also demonstrate traditional weaponry. It comes in forms of Waiata-ā-ringa, poi, haka and pukana. 

Waiata-ā-ringa - In a waiata-ā-ringa or also refers to action songs. The songs contain the lyrics that have meaningful and symbolic hand movements. The performers dance their hands rapidly. The hand movement is called wiri. Wiri symbolises different things on earth such as at gleaming waters, heat waves or even a breeze that makes every tree dance. Waiata-ā-ringa is usually accompanied by a guitar. The sound of the guitar is dependent on the context that the performers depict. It can be be slow, fast, serious, fun and even a manifestation of a person’s flirtatiousness.

PoiPoi is a sample of a performing dance. The word poi refers to a ball that is attached to a rope or a string. In the said dance each performer swings one or more poi in perfect unison with the others. Such dance showcases the beauty and the gracefulness of the people. The drastic changes in the direction of the poi are accomplished by hitting the ball with the use of a hand or other part of the body, and the sound creates a sound of a percussive rhythm. Poi dancers are usually women. Such dance showcases the beauty and the gracefulness of the women.

Haka Haka refer to war dances that are characterized by loud chanting,  hand movements, foot stamping and thigh slapping. Performers use traditional weapons, such as taiaha (spear-like weapons) and patu (clubs) into their haka.

PūkanaPūkana means facial expressions. It plays a vital and significant role in a Māori performance. It gives an emphasis to a song or haka. It also showcases the performer’s fierceness and passion. Both sexes have a different ways of doing the performance. For women, they open their eyes wide and project their tattooed chin. On the other hand, for men, they also open their eyes wide and either stretch their tongue out or bear their teeth. Some of these expressions are found to be intimidating by some audiences. However, they are not a symbol of aggression, but only a demonstration of strong emotions.