Our research into babywearing in traditional societies has been most exciting. The innovation each culture has brought to babywearing to suit their climate, lifestyle and resources is quite thought provoking.
This week we present babywearing traditional Maori style.
Traditionally, Maori women were avid babywearers, carrying their bubs in a cloth inside their cloaks or in a flax Pikau. In W. B. Otorohanga’s “Where the White Man Treads : Across the Pathway of the Maori” it appears that girls lived the lives of young tomboys until the age of 8 or 10 when “they grew strong enough to wahu, or pikau (carry) the baby” and their induction into womanhood began.
Of course, like all carriers and slings, Babywearing provided the Maori women with the opportunity to free their arms and go about their general business whilst ensuring that their infant was protected, warm and able to feed on demand.
New Zealand has archived an enormous amount of Maori Babywearing imagery. We have collected together a sample for your viewing pleasure J
Further images available here
www.ngamaia.co.nz website of Nga Maia, a national organisation representing and fostering Maori midwifery.