Contemplate the inspiration for this work and bear it in mind throughout.
Make a Cake for the seabirds using ingredients not harmful to them that you think they will find attractive and appetising.
Visually connect the Cake to the inspiration in some way.
Take the Cake to the beach and place in a bird friendly position where it will not be washed away by the sea.
Document events by film or photography of the Cake before, during, and after: an observation of its life.
Post the images/film on the internet and circulate via social networks the link with these instructions and their references.
In the Maori world view, there is a fundamental belief that understanding and being connected to the past are important for both the present and the future. This is demonstrated by the importance placed on ancestors and genealogical connections over many generations. The obligations and responsibilities to demonstrate care for your family and for visitors is expressed in the Maori term of manaakitanga. This customary value will involve the process of welcoming and caring for visitors to one’s home or marae, as well as the provision of food and accommodation. Food (kai) has a central importance in these practices.
Most things contain "mana"- spiritual essence. Mana is within man himself, land, nature, and also man-made objects. Contact with mana contained objects or beings by non-authorised persons or objects could cause the mana to be drained away.
Extremely strict rules of "tapu" protected ceremonial objects, much filled with mana.
Tapu and Noa: Although tapu is often described as a state of sacredness, it also has the more general meaning of being special or restricted. Noa is the absence of tapu and denotes the state of being normal, ordinary or safe. All things to do with death or the body are tapu, while anything related to cooked food is noa.
The dual concept of tapu (sacred) and noa (free from tapu) regulated and constricted every facet of Maori life. Tapu was a positive force, associated with life, immortality, masculine objects and women of the highest rank. Noa was its antithesis, a negative force associated with death and feminine objects. Tapu was in one sense a religious or superstitious restriction, and all who violated it were doomed to be overcome at least by misfortune, at worst by death. To remove tapu, for example from a newly completed meeting house, a tohunga would have to perform an appropriate ceremony and the tapu might in the case of a house be neutralised by a woman of rank entering.
All objects under construction were tapu, and it would be a breach of tapu to eat cooked food indoors (cooked food and the human head were surrounded by innumerable tapu). A tohunga under tapu would have to be fed by another with food skewered to the end of a stick or through a feeding funnel. Without its former rigidity, tapu persists to this day in certain situations.
Tapu is the strongest force in Māori life. It has numerous meanings and references. Tapu can be interpreted as "sacred", or defined as "spiritual restriction" or "implied prohibition", containing a strong imposition of rules and prohibitions. A person, an object or a place, which is tapu, may not be touched by human contact. In some cases, not even approached. A person, object or a place could be made sacred by tapu for a certain time, and the two main types of tapu were private and public. Private tapu concerned individuals, and public tapu concerned communities.
In earlier times, tribal members of a higher rank would not touch objects which belonged to members of a lower rank. This was considered "pollution". Similarly, persons of a lower rank could not touch the belongings of a highborn person. Death was the penalty.
In earlier times food cooked for a chief was tapu, and could not be eaten by an inferior. A chief's house was tapu, and even the chief could not eat food in the interior of his house. A woman could not enter a chief's house unless a special religious ceremony was performed. (the karakia)
An ariki (chief) and a tohunga (healer or priest) were lifelong tapu persons. Not only were their houses tapu but also their possessions, including their clothing. Burying grounds (urupa) and places of death (wahi tapu) were always tapu, and these areas were often surrounded by a protective fence.
"Noa", on the other hand, lifts the "tapu" from the person or the object. "Noa" is similar to a blessing.
The original reasons for some "tapu" are unclear today, but other reasons for "tapu" included the conservation of natural environment.
Birds in Maori Myth, Legend and Lore:
For many a century the pre–contact Maori developed a sophisticated structure of beliefs and customs about the birds of this land, this Aotearoa, this New Zealand. The basic myths and traditions came with the immigrants from legendary Hawaiki, the original homelands in the Pacific. Changes the Maori made here to these legends were to give them relevance, to make them understandable in the new found natural world. This is shown in the stories of Maui, the man–god hero who is known to islanders throughout the Eastern Pacific. When Maui sought to slay the goddess of death, Hinenuitepo, it was the small local birds such as the fantail, the robin and the whitehead that he took along for company.
Larger birds like the harrier (kahu) and morepork (ruru) had other tasks in the Maori world; they acted as messengers to the gods in the heavens, winging their ways there along spiritual paths.
Maori Bird Lore, Murdoch Riley, Viking Sevenseas NZ Ltd, 2001.
The Māori believe that on death the spirit travels to the Pohutukawa tree which sits on the very tip of Cape Reinga, at the top of the North Island - as far as man may go in New Zealand. The spirit then slides down a root of the Pohutukawa, to the sea below. The spirit emerges onto Ohaua, which is the highest tip of the Three Kings Islands, for a final farewell before re-joining the ancestors. The most famous Pohutukawa grows from a promontory on the tip of Cape Reinga. It is reputed to be 800 years old, at least twice the generally accepted mature age of the tree, and it is sacred to the Māori, who believed it to be the last stepping-off place of spirits from this world. Marae people hold small twigs of green leaves in their hands; the twigs are a symbol of mourning.
Source: New Zealand Encyclopaedia, 4th Edition – Bateman history-nz.org/maori6.html
Marie Darrieussecq (born1969) French Basque writer.
Breathing Underwater (UK) / Undercurrents (US) (1999)
It is the story of the ocean, of the presence of the ocean. One ought to say of its omnipresence, so that all that is not of it appears reduced to a quasi-absence: the coast, the beach; the beings who, along its edge, contemplate or meditate before its spectacle. Thus conjures an ambiguous universe, one that is simultaneously surreal and irrepressibly human, eternal questions of existence, of the textures and rhythms of memory and experience. These questions are ultimately captured and rendered through the ocean’s consuming presence. How does one remember the ocean? How does one distinguish the separation of the ocean’s edge from that of the earth?
New Zealand is famous for its land birds like the kiwi and kakapo. But just as remarkable and unique are the seabirds. More than a third of the 80 or so species of seabirds that breed in New Zealand are endemic, or found nowhere else.
New Zealand has a greater diversity of seabirds breeding on its shores and islands and feeding in its waters than any other country in the world, many are endangered species.
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