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Suppression of tohungaism, and nutty christians

  • November 13th, 2007

I feel sad for the people caught up in the 22 year old mother’s death. I imagine those who try exorcism are usually sincerely trying to help, and not getting a vicarious kick out of the ‘punishment’ of the evil spirit they detect in the victim.

Nevertheless it is hard to stomach the unctuous tones of caring caution oozing from the media persons ‘approaching’ makutuMakutu cries out for immediate thumping ridicule, unreserved derision.

Of course ridicule is hard for people reared as moral relativists, piously respecting all beliefs no matter how malign. They cling to their faith that all cultures deserve equal respect. They make an exception of course for one set of superstitions –  traditional Christians are fair game.

Assuming the facts are confirmed as they seem to be emerging, this kind of tragedy is typical of those that were among the reasons for law suppressing tohungas early last century. We don’t yet know whether this family was led by a charlatan preying on their credulity, but they often are. Low schooling success in sciences makes Maori especially vulnerable.

Though often cited by folk trying to stir up race resentment (at pakeha cultural imperialism), or pakeha who want to wallow in shame for an imagined past, tohunga suppression law was supported by reformers, including progressive Maori, precisely to reduce the costs of beliefs such as in makutu.

Now of course the whole of New Zealand is caught up in a revival of animist superstition, as ‘nature’ is worshipped and the works of man reviled. The Greens reject any inconvenient science. School enrolment in hard science education is withering.

Do I correctly detect a contrast with the condemnation so quick for the sadly misguided Northland parents charged over the death of their child whose medical teatment they delayed too long?


  • Phoenixer
  • November 14th, 2007
  • 12:57 pm

Tohunga or charlatan leading a makutu – how do you tell the difference?
And don’t feel too sorry for Christians – the Catholic Church has official excommunicators and some of the supportive Maori commentators on this ‘ritual’ have been church-associated. We have a blend of superstitions in this case – Maori and church-based. Charlatans all. And a co-leader of a political party speaking in support.
There are children motherless because of magical thinking instead of mental health counselling.
Hope the police get homicide to stick.

  • Warren
  • January 7th, 2009
  • 12:23 am

The definition of animist from is:
1. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena.
2. The belief in the existence of spiritual beings that are separable or separate from bodies.
3. The hypothesis holding that an immaterial force animates the universe.

The works of man include weapons of mass destruction, ritilan and prosac which have been proven to destroy lives, and psychiatry which has killed many more people than the Makutu and a new religion of science which denies the existance of any God. Are the works of man that good?

[From Latin anima, soul.]

Definitions 2 and 3 apply to every major religion on the planet which includes Christianity.

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