Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/803
THE MAORIS OF NEW ZEALAND.
One word in conclusion. We wish to make it distinctly understood that we here give no opinion on any of the subjects in dispute. Our purpose is twofold: first, to show the illogical positions in which several of the critics of the work have placed themselves; and, secondly, to expose the spirit which characterizes the reviews. Quoting from the American Geologist for February: "We at present content ourselves with a protest against the tone adopted by some of the critics and the air of assumption and of superiority which pervades their remarks. Both are eminently unbecoming to scientific literature and derogatory to the dignity of science. We may add that they are in striking contrast to the moderation and dignity of the replies.
"It is somewhat difficult . . . to discover the motive which has led to so violent an attack on a work which, after all, merely summarizes with caution the evidence as it stands and draws a qualified conclusion from it. Strange indeed is it to see the theologian in the van of the evolutionary army, with the geologist and the archaeologist lingering in the rear."
By EDWARD TREGEAR.
Mr. Tregear has furnished, in the shape of categorical answers to the code of questions sent out by Mr. J. G. Frazer, of the Council of the Anthropological Institute, a mass of information respecting those most interesting of savages, the Maoris of New Zealand. Culling out the more important statements and giving them current form, we obtain a picture of a race which has played an important part in the past history of the region they dwell in, and whose presence is in all probability destined to leave a permanent impression in the life of the colony in which they are being merged.
The Maoris are divided into tribes, which, coming from a common ancestry, are somewhat of a clannish character, and subtribes; a few of the names of which are derived from animals and objects. No sanctity is attached to the animal or plant from which the tribal name is derived, nor is there any superstition about killing or eating it. The tribes are not distinguished by differences of dress or mode of wearing the hair.
While particular ceremonies on the birth of a child are not common, certain priestly forms and incantations are observed in difficult cases occurring in notable families, during one of which, when it is performed, the father has to plunge into the river. The mother is tapu after confinement till the ceremonies