Makutu

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Mākutu is a New Zealand Māori word meaning witchcraft, sorcery, to bewitch; also a spell or incantation.[1][2] It may also be described as a belief in malignant occult powers possessed by certain people.

According to Best,[3] the belief in mākutu was 'universal and prominent in pre-European times' and acted as 'a disciplinary force in the old days; it was one of the substitutes for civil law that preserved order in a Māori community.' Best adds that the effectiveness of mākutu was heightened by the fact that it could be carried out in secret; the element of uncertainty produced caution on the part of those who might otherwise transgress the laws of the community. It was widely believed[citation needed] that those expert in mākutu were able to use the art to kill people.[citation needed] But there were limits on their freedom to act: should an irresponsible practicer of the dark arts become a nuisance to a tribe, the solution to the problem was simply to kill the errant magician without delay. The training undergone by an apprentice was long and difficult, involving secret rituals and tests [3]

An October 2007 mākutu lifting in the Wellington suburb of Wainuiomata led to the death by drowning of a woman and the hospitalisation of a teen, allegedly due to attempts to remove such a curse.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, Herbert W., 1975. A Dictionary of the Māori Language. 7th edition. Wellington: Government Printer
  2. ^ The Maori: Yesterday and To-day Chapter VI. – Makutu: – The Belief in Witchcraft
  3. ^ a b Best, Elsdon, 1982. Māori Religion and Mythology, Part 2. Dominion Museum Bulletin No.11. Museum of New Zealand: Wellington.
  4. ^ "Charlatans may be to blame, says scholar". The Dominion Post. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2011.