Science or Observation

I was having a conversation with a friend via email and she asked me about science in relation to the observational learnings of my ancestors and how I might see modern science and the ‘science’ of my ancestors working together.
koru hand painted rocks
I was always a curious child who questioned everything, and according to my sister, very persistent with it! In other words, hōhā at times! But its a curiosity that has stayed with me and has reared itself again to bring about a curiosity with science as we know it today and how this could perhaps sit side by side with our Māori worldview.
Our ancestors learnt through observation. They were very clever and knew of stars that existed even before they were discovered by ‘modern’ science. Their learnings were at an experiential level – a part of everyday life. So as they went about their daily business such as fishing for food, they were not only becoming experts at catching the fish but they were also learning about the tides, wave patterns, the best time to go fishing, in what area and why. They even navigated by the stars and looked to the moon for the right days to plant food.
We are an oral people so our science was not recorded in books, but in the arts, songs and stories that have been handed down to us. In every carving there is a story, not only the story that is carved into the wood but the story that is contained in the wood itself, from the tree, and the grain that says how old the tree is.
I think the intrinsic connection that we as Māori have to the environment, this is our ‘science’, this is our knowledge already contained in our DNA. I believe in essence we are saying the same thing but in a different way but there is also a spiritual element that matauranga Māori brings that is missing in the science of today.
It’s very interesting for me and I look forward to the journey ahead!
Arohanui,
Jo x

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