Reigning for 40 years, Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu no doubt witnessed dramatic changes among New Zealand’s indigenous cultures, and yet, her funeral was proof that her people have managed to hold on to the things that make them unique.
To me, it is a reminder that “culture,” especially in places like New Zealand and Hawai’i, is about so much more than just the last group of people to invade, colonize or annex.
Culture is something worth protecting, as the Maori have managed to do.
Photos: (Top) Eldest daughter and granddaughter of the late Maori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu, Heeni Katipa (L) and Po’omaikalami Tawhiao respectively, sit beside the Queen’s coffin during her tangihanga (funeral ceremony) at the Tuurangawaewae Marae (home of the late Queen) in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand, August 20, 2006. REUTERS/Peter Drury/Pool.