Curse of The Maori Mask

Maori Masks were worn by people of the Maori tribe who inhabited the present-day New Zealand. Maori warriors would paint and carve these masks before heading off to battle. The face of the Maori Mask warrior or Moko, is like an identification of the warrior and every pattern have a particular meaning, showing the warrior great deeds, his courage, his ancestors and tradition, this is the reason (or at least one of the most important) cause is quite impossible to find two masks that are exactly the same.

Maori Mask

Legend has it that if a warrior died, his spirit would live within the mask. These masks have been part of artifacts and discoveries at various museums around the world. 

It is a commonly held belief that women, especially if they are pregnant, should not come in close contact with the mask, or else they will be cursed. The belief is so strong that New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa in Wellington, put up a warning asking pregnant women to stay away from the tour of sacred artifacts, or risk suffering from the curse or Makutu. 

Museum Te Papa, Wellington (Front View)

Mākutu in the Māori language of New Zealand means "witchcraft", "sorcery", "to bewitch"; and also a "spell or incantation". It may also be described as a belief in malignant occult powers possessed by certain people.

Traditional Maori belief in curses, or makutu, is exceptionally strong. In 2007 a woman drowned after relatives attempted an exorcism to rid her of an "evil spirit" they thought was possessing her.

Jane Keig, a spokesman for Te Papa, defended the museum's stance, saying some of the taonga, or treasures, "have been used in battle and to kill people".

She said Maori believed that each taonga had its own wairua, or spirit, inside it.

Maori tradition dictates that a pregnant or menstruating woman is tapu, or taboo, and so are the artefacts, meaning that if the two come into contact a curse could be invoked.


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