RESPECTIN G NATURE : TH E MAOR I WA Y
ment are much the same as when we start from kinship or mauri or tapu. What is more, this approach makes i t easy to ask important questions about our own place in the scheme of things, about our own environmental mana.
Given the close link between mauri and tapu,21 we can expect that i f we can account for respect for tapu in terms of respect for mana, we should be able to do the same for respect for mauri. And there are direct links worth noting between respect for mauri and respect for mana. One commentator at least describes mauri as a concentrated form of mana.22 He is talking about what we might
Through the idea of mauri or life force, the Maori are able to enunciate a sophisticated and powerful environmental philosophy. It is a philosophy which demands that we treat the natural world with respect, that we do this to the world as a whole and to each and every one of its constituent parts. call physical mauri, ritually important stones or other objects in which the mauri of something important such as a crop is said to be concentrated. Here at least, he is not making any fundamental distinction between mauri and mana. And a second link can be made between mauri and mana: namely that the mauri of a creature would not be believed to matter unless that creature also had mana. We may agree that all creatures contain some life force, but until we accept that the creatures are important through their life force or in their own right, we have no good reason to respect them. So mauri on its own is not a good reason for respecting nature; the creatures that have the mauri need also to have mana i f
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they are to command our respect.
Another way of changing the focus from mauri to mana is to see that even within a traditional Maori context, respecting mauri is just one way in which mana may be respected. The general idea, of which respect for mauri is one aspect, relates to a conception of the unity of all things, plus the importance of each individual thing. And although the mana of a creature might be thought of as simply being its importance, that would be an over-simplification. Mana also relates to unity, to the connectedness of each thing with all other things. No creature has mana on its own. Its mana relates as much to its interrelations with other creatures as to its individual character and activities. Maori traditionally express these interrelations in terms of kinship, but there are other ways of saying much the same thing, one obvious way being in terms of modern ecology and evolutionary biology. A good way of coming to know about the mana of any creature, human or non-human, is to find out about its value in relation to other creatures, and part of this is its value to those other creatures. So, i f we are not able to accept literally the idea that all creatures have and share a mauri or life force, we can turn to the more general idea that all creatures have mana, and that the mana of each creature is woven in with the mana of a host of other creatures. This way, we can respect the mauri of a creature by respecting its mana, and that of the other creatures whose lives and mana are interwoven with its own.
Conclusio n Through the idea of mauri or life force, the Maori are able to enunciate a sophisticated and powerful environmental philosophy. A philosophy which demands that we treat the natural world with respect, that we do this to the world as a whole and to each and every one of its constituent parts, that we acknowledge and care about the special character of every creature, and try to make sure that our interactions with the natural world leave it a better place. A Maori philosophy is on the one hand about unity, while making adequate allowance for reasonable human activities.n
John Patterson teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
References 1. Edwards, M., 1990. Mihipeka: Early Years, Auckland: Penguin Books, p.41. 2. Marsden, Maori, 1977. "God, Man and Universe: A Maori View", in Michael King
(ed.), p. 147. 3. Best, E., 1924. Maori Religion and Mythology. Part 1. Wellington: Government
Printer, p. 123. 4. Op.cit.2, p.\46. 5. Johansen, J. Prytz, 1958. Studies in Maori Rites and Myths. Copenhagen: Ejnar
Mungksgaard, p.8. 6. The Guardian, 13 November 1996, p.5. 7. Puketapu-Hetet, Erenora, 1986. Interview, in Darcy Nicholas (ed.) Seven Maori
Artists. Wellington: Government Printer, p.29. 8. Pere, Rangimarie Rose, 1979. 'Taku Taha Maori: My Maoriness', in He Matapuna:
Some Maori Perspectives. Wellington: New Zealand Planning Council, p.25. 9. Puketapu-Hetet, Erenora, 1989. Maori Weaving. Auckland: Pitman. 10. Op.cit.2, p. 147. 11. Ibid. 12. Patterson, John, 1992. Exploring Maori Values. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press. 13. Karetu, T.S. 1978. 'Kawa in Crisis', in Michael King (ed.) Tihe Mauri Ora: Aspects
of Maoritanga. Wellington: Methuen, p.70. 14. Op.cit.l, p.40. 15. Ibid. p.29. 16. Rangihau, John, 1977. 'Learning and Tapu', in Michael King (ed.), Te Ao Hurihuri:
The World Moves On. Wellington: Hicks Smith, revised edition, p. 11. 17. White, Lynn, 1967. 'The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis', Science 155:
1203-7. 18. Stokes, Evelyn J., Wharehuia Milroy and Hirini Melbourne, 1986. Te Urewera: Nga
Iwi Te Whenua Te Ngahere. Hamilton: University of Waikato, pp.222-4. 19. Smith, Jean, 1974. Tapu Removal in Maori Religion. Wellington: The Polynesian
Society, pp.44-6. 20. Buck, Peter (Te Rangi Hiroa) 1950. The Coming of the Maori. Second editition.
Wellington: Whitcombe and Tombs, p.411. 21. Op.cit.\6, p. 11. 22. Johansen, J. Prytz, 1954. The Maori and his Religion in its Non-ritualistic Aspects.
Copenhagen: Ejnar Mungksgaard, p.239.
The Ecologist, Vol. 29, No 1, January/February 1999 Water Fluoridation:
the trut h they don' t want you t o know The government is preparing to introduce legislation intended to apply greater pressure to water companies to fluoridate the public water supply, supposedly to improve public health. In reality such legislation is merely a convenient excuse to dispose of a chemical that is highly toxic and dangerous, both to the environment and to human health. But this is the side of the debate that hasn't been discussed in the public arena, and wil l never be either, i f the fluoridation lobby is allowed to dominate the argument.By Robin Whitlock
ARECENT ARTICLE I N The Independent revealed that the government is again looking at fluoridation of the public water supply as a possible means of achieving nationwide improvements in dental hygiene.1 To the casual observer, given the highly erroneous impression that the presence of fluoride in toothpaste is beneficial in the treatment of dental caries, such a measure may understandably appear desirable and worthy of public support. However, many water authorities across the country have long understood the risks associated with fluoridation, risks that the government and the various official organizations that support such a measure continually deny. Consequently these water companies resolutely oppose fluoridation and i t is for this reason that the Minister for Health, Tessa Jowell, is proposing to give Health Authorities the power to compel water companies to fluoridate whether they wish to or not.
The proposed legislation, already working its way through the corridors of power in the form of a White Paper, does provide for a period of public consultation, but we have seen such public consultation before (the Conservative government's roads programme springs to mind), and it is possible that opportunities for public opposition to fluoridation wil l be merely cosmetic. With the prospect of enforced fluoridation becoming increasingly likely, i t is important that as many people as possible understand the dangers fluoride presents to human health so that the fluoridation programme can be stopped before i t is able to achieve any enduring harm. Here then are some uncomfortable facts, facts that the fluoridation lobby doesn *t want you to know.
With the prospect of enforced fluoridation becoming increasingly likely, it is important that as many people as possible understand the dangers fluoride presents to human health.
There are two forms of fluoride. One of these is calcium fluoride, which is a natural substance occurring in water at very low levels of 0.01-1 parts per million and a substance which the various organizations involved in promoting fluoridation constantly draw attention to when attempting to justify their case. The other form of fluoride is sodium fluoride, which occurs alongside vari
ous related substances such as fluosilicic acid as an extremely dangerous industrial by-product produced by such industries as aluminium, ceramics, phosphate fertilizers and nuclear power. This form of fluoride is an accumulative poison, even more toxic than lead and slightly less toxic than arsenic.2 I t is not biodegradable and therefore establishes itself in steadily increasing amounts within the organs of humans and animals and within the environ-
The Ecologist, Vol. 29, No 1, January/February 1999