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Makutu

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Title: Makutu  
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Subject: Witchcraft, Wainuiomata mākutu lifting, Māori religion, Kitchen witch, Datura ferox
Collection: Māori Mythology, Māori Religion, Witchcraft
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Makutu

Mākutu in the Māori language of New Zealand means "witchcraft", "sorcery", "to bewitch"; and also a "spell or incantation".[1][2] It may also be described as a belief in malignant occult powers possessed by certain people.

Elsdon Best (1859-1931) portrayed the belief in mākutu as "universal and prominent in pre-European times", stating that it 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".[3] Best noted 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 that those expert in mākutu were able to use the art to kill people. But there were limits on their freedom to act: should an irresponsible practitioner of the dark arts become a nuisance to a tribe, the solution to the problem simply involved killing 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 Lower Hutt 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

References

  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. ^
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