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The Maori are an ethnic indigenous group that live in Aotearoa New Zealand The Maori settled in New Zealand around the 1300s and they partook in cannibalism in the 18th and 19th centuries Barber 1992241 Our primary evidence that cannibalism existed at this time in New Zealand is James Cooks diary of his voyages to New Zealand Barber 1992241 There is also other European accounts of Maori cannibalism occurring at this time and there have been archaeological remains found as well indicating cannibalism Barber 1992241-242 While there has been much debate about the reliability of sources and the reasons for why the Maori practiced cannibalism I will be interpreting cannibalism based on the sources used in this paper There are three main points I want to discuss in this paper First I want to illustrate how the Maori were motivated to perform cannibalism because of ideas of revenge and social status and how they viewed the body as either being noa profane or tapu sacred Secondly I want to examine how their practice of cannibalism may have changed once they made contact with Europeans and how it became more frequently practiced Lastly I want toanalyze how with British contact cannibalism became a weapon for the Maori it was their only way of defending themselves against the British Cannibalism underwent a change from a symbolic practice within Maori society to a weapon to defend themselves from the British and other EuropeansMany early Anthropologists and Archeologists had thought that Maori cannibalism was widespread and that they performed cannibalism for subsistence because of the lack of large animals but in light of the ethnographic and archaeological evidence it seems more likely that cannibalism was performed ritualistically rather than for food Barber 1992280 Cannibalism was not common but rather ritualistic and dealt primarily with revenge and enhancing onces status and it often occurred in the battlefield Barber 1992280 Even James Cook and Marsden ethnographic accounts state that human
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