November 04, 2013
Kuri intriguing subject for Marsden study
An Otago University researcher has won a Marsden grant to look at what happened to the Maori dog.
Cilla Wehi from the centre for sustainability says the kuri was the only domesticated mammal that Maori brought with them to Aotearoa.
She says ancient whakatauki indicate the importance of kuri to their owners, so she was intrigued why an animal that was so valid in the culture could be lost.
"With European arrival did attitudes to kuri change? How did Pakeha see kuri and was that different from how Maori saw kuri or from how they see domestic animals full stop? It seems to me there are lots of interesting questions around cultural attitudes to domestic species and how they are valued and how that is different from wild species," Dr Wehi says.
As well as looking at cultural and historical records, Dr Wehi and colleague Ian Barber will review museum and archaeological specimens of kuri hair, skin and bones to see is any patterns can be found that give clues to the relationship between Maori and their dogs.
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