The Evolution of Pakeha Culture

And the Deep Fusion of European and Maori Cultures that has become the Contemporary Maori Worldview

This is a companion piece to “Mai i Hawaiki ki Hawaiki – the Evolution of Maori Culture”. It revisits some aspects of that previous essay.

It is impossible to fully understand the contemporary Maori worldview without an understanding of the evolution of European culture, for the two cultures are now completely interwoven. What we now regard as the contemporary Maori worldview is actually a deep fusion of Maori and European cultures. Our ancestors of three hundred years ago would not recognize what we now understand to be the Maori worldview and Maori culture.

To understand ourselves we need to understand both sides of that fusion of worldviews and cultures.

That is a bold and confronting statement perhaps to those who live and breathe their Maori culture. But one has only to reflect on our almost universal conversion to Christianity and the seamless incorporation of Christian ritual into much Maori ritual, and vice versa, to comprehend the extent of the merging of cultures. And that is only one element of the European worldview that has been adopted, adapted and blended. There are many more. However there remains still a significant cultural gap between Maori and Pakeha indicating that Maori have done most of the adoption and adaptation, and Pakeha culture has not moved much at all.

The history of the Western worldview and culture is often told through the history of ideas, or the history of Western philosophy. I first came to that history through Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy”. However for the purposes of this essay I am wielding a much broader brush and looking at the history of the evolving Western worldview, leaving aside the thinking of the many European philosophers who between them created that worldview.

I paint this broad picture through the works of many writers of both fiction and non-fiction. The first is novelist Daniel Quinn who describes himself as a cultural critic and his philosophy as new tribalism. He began trying to describe his philosophy in non-fiction but found it easier to describe and teach through fiction.

Daniel Quinn in his series of novels about culture and worldviews, describes a culture as a people enacting a story. A story is a scenario interrelating man, the world, and the gods, and to enact a story is to live so as to make the story a reality.

(“Ishmael, An adventure of the mind and spirit”, Bantam, New York, 1992, p 41).

The story usually describes the act of creation and builds the model of the universe according to each culture.

Every story is based on a premise, is the working out of a premise. For instance, Quinn describes the premise of the tribalised hunter gatherer world prior to the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago as man belongs to the world. The premise of the new story, and of the culture that has since overrun most of the globe, is that the world belongs to man.

These are two fundamentally different premises.

  • The first, “man belongs to the world”, shaped human cultures for at least 3,000,000 years beginning with the appearance of Homo habilis, the first humans, during which time humans lived lightly upon the Earth. The Polynesians, including Maori, lived mostly but not entirely according to that premise right up until being colonized by the Europeans.
  • The second, “the world belongs to man”, has led to the exploitation of the Earth.
  • They are the master ideas that determined the fate of humankind, of other species and of the Earth, and not just the fate of the human cultures based upon them.

The way that culture is continuously inculcated in its members is described by Quinn:

“Mother Culture speaks to you through the voice of your parents – who likewise have been listening to her voice from the day of their own birth. She speaks to you through cartoon characters and storybook characters and comic-book characters. She speaks to you through newscasters and schoolteachers and presidential candidates. You’ve listened to her on talk shows. You’ve heard her in popular songs, advertising jingles, lectures, political speeches, sermons and jokes. You’ve read her thoughts in newspaper articles, textbooks, and comic strips.”

(“My Ishmael, A Sequel”, Bantam, New York, 1997, PP 27-28).

A worldview, and the culture it produces is based on a set of continuously reinforced ideas. The ideas are not immutable laws of nature, but human constructs that shape the way humans live within their culture. For instance the widely accepted concept of the market economy that prevails across the world today is based not in some immutable truth, but in a set of beliefs that are part of a worldview:

“All cultures have a set of beliefs or organizing principles that serve not only to guide behaviour but also to explain and justify the existing state of the world. Western cultural beliefs, in particular, serve to justify the peculiar material relationship that has evolved among the members of our society and between humans and the rest of the world. Our culture sees class divisions as inevitable, even desirable, and views nature as a collection of natural resources to be used to fuel the engine of economic growth and technological progress.”

(John Gowdy (Ed), “Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A reader on Hunter-Gather economics and the environment”, Island Press, Washington, 1998, p xvi).

In “The Last Hours of Sunlight” (Bantam, NSW, 1999. p 100), Thom Hartmann writes of the need for transformation of personal and global worldviews from an ecological perspective. He has this to say about the stories that are the myths, paradigms and beliefs of a culture, that form the reality of that culture:

“Since so much of what we call reality is subjective, there are no right or wrong stories; instead there are useful and not useful stories, depending on what culture you belong to, and depending on your status in your culture. Depending on your relationship to the natural world and your vision of the future.”

The point is that what is held to be valid or true in one culture is not necessarily so in another culture or in any other culture (although there may be a few universal “truths”).

“A worldview is a set of presuppositions which we hold about the basic make-up of our world “.

– James Sire, “The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalogue”

“A rough and ready definition for ‘worldview’ would be the collection of beliefs which a person holds about reality, whether it concerns matters of science, human nature, ethics, religious beliefs or the like. Many of the deepest and most long-lived conflicts among humans derive from fundamental worldview schisms. We find many splits in our own country over questions of race, of ‘rights’, and of politics—all of which derive from the variety of worldviews among us. “

– Jason Waymire, “The Burden of Proof”

Even within a dominant worldview there are competing and sometimes opposing aspects of that worldview.

The clash of the Maori and European worldviews pre-dates the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand. It has its roots in the rise of a 10,000 year old worldview that is said to have arisen in the “agricultural revolution” in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia in the Middle East about 12,000 to 10,000 years ago. It may well be that the agricultural revolution occurred in many locations, and was not just confined to the Fertile Crescent. However from that time onwards the post-agricultural worldview has sought to eliminate and supplant tribal and hunter gatherer worldviews. The Biblical story of Cain and Abel is thought by some modern scholars to be about that conflict between agricultural and pre-agricultural cultures in the time of the birth of the new civilisation. Cain was a crop farmer and his younger brother Abel a shepherd.

It is however somewhat misleading to describe the newer worldview as being born in the agricultural revolution, for not all agriculuralists adopted that particular worldview, which seeks to dominate nature. It was a particular form of agriculture that Quinn describes as totalitarian agriculture. Totalitarian agriculture destroys its competitors (other human societies and other species), destroys their food, and denies them access to food.

(Daniel Quinn, “The Story of B”, Bantam, New York, 1996, pp153-154).

The Maori worldview, at the point of contact with European colonisation, was part of the broad culture that prevailed across the world prior to the rise of the post-agricultural worldview. The prior worldview has not been entirely eliminated and lives on in the remaining tribal and hunter gatherer societies of the world. Everywhere, those societies are under pressure and threat of extinction by the dominant worldview. Many of the beliefs of that prior worldview also remain in those tribal cultures that have been overrun and supplanted, but still struggle for legitimacy.

The European worldview at the time of first contact with Maori had for about 12,000 to 10,000 years left behind that ancient worldview, the one it used to share with the ancestors of the Oceanic, Polynesian and Maori peoples.

Thom Hartmann describes the two as Older and Younger Cultures:

“The Old Cultures, be they agricultural or hunting/gathering, live with an intrinsic connection to the Earth. For them, the planet on which we live is, itself, a living organism. It has its own life, its own destiny, and, in a way that they Younger Cultures could never understand, its own consciousness. Things that run counter to the Earth’s nature will (naturally) not work in the long run – although the damage may be too slow to be noticeable on the Younger Culture time scale.”

“The Younger Cultures live quite different lives: they view themselves as separate from the Earth, with “dominion” over it, and see the resources of the Earth only as things to be used and then discarded. Nature is the enemy, not the mother, father, or brother/sister of these Younger peoples, and their disregard for it is so visceral, so intrinsic to their world-view, that many live their entire lives without ever once questioning their own cultural assumptions about Man’s place in the universe.”

(“The Prophet’s Way”, Mythical Books, VermontUSA, 1997, pp 205-206)

Where Hartmann writes of Older Cultures and Younger Cultures, in his novels on the same theme Daniel Quinn refers to the Takers and the Leavers.

“Yes, okay. The premise of the Taker story is the world belongs to man. I thought for a couple of minutes, then I laughed. It’s almost too neat. The premise of the Leaver story is man belongs to the world.

(“Ishmael, An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit”, Bantam, New York, 1992, p 239).

The extension of this Taker premise is that the world was made for man, and man was made to rule it, and in order to make himself ruler of the world, man first had to conquer it.

10,000 years ago this fundamental change in the premise underlying the dominant culture and its worldview overturned a culture and worldview that had served Homo sapiens and its predecessors successfully for 3,000,000 years.


In the last 10,000 years of the 3,000,000 year history of humankind and its ancestors (just 0.33% of our time on Earth), huge changes have been brought about worldwide, all as a result of a simple premise, or master idea that spread and eliminated another premise, thousands of other human cultures, and thousands of other species. The result has not been entirely beneficial for the world, or for humankind.

“The view of human nature embedded in Western economic theory is an anomaly in human history. In fact, the basic organizing principle of our market economy – that humans are driven by greed and that more is always better than less – is a microscopically small minority view among the tens of thousands of cultures that have existed since Homo sapiens emerged some 200,000 years ago.” (Gowdy,1998).

That is not to say that the newer worldview has been entirely bad for humanity. It has brought with it a great many benefits but also much devastation. But the past cannot be undone.

Leadership of the new worldview in the Western world eventually shifted to Greece. Polish philosopher Henryk Skolimowski describes the development of the Western mind from that point to the present

(“Participatory Mind: A New Theory of Knowledge of the Universe”, New York, Penguin/Arkana, 1994).

The Western Mind

Skolimowski describes the development of the Western mind as “the four great cycles of the Western mind” (Mythos, Logos, Theos, and Mechanos) and then describes the emerging transition to a new Western worldview as Evolutionary Telos.


The Western mind has its beginnings in the ancient Greek worldview of Homeric times, about the eighth century BC, based on a view of the cosmos dominated by the gods from their abode on Mount Olympus. The Greeks recognised that humans can be masters of their own destiny up to a point, and beyond that everything was governed by the gods of their mythology. The Greek tragedies were a dramatic representation of how people saw their frail condition. Mythos worked well for a number of centuries.


Around the transition from the sixth to the fifth century BC Logos was born in Greece, as a radically new form of understanding, giving rise to new forms of art, philosophy, science, and social and political institutions. A new cosmology was created within which things were explained by the natural powers of reason. The gods on MountOlympus no longer held sway. This was the time of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and other Greek scholars. The Romans adopted Logos from the Greeks and incorporated it within their own culture, and the Roman Empire operating within a fusion of the Greek logos and Roman power, dominated the known world and carried the worldview to the world at large, until it collapsed in 410 AD.

Theos (Christianity)

Out of the ruins of the Roman Empire a new worldview emerged, and consolidated itself over a period of about four centuries. It was fostered in small monasteries throughout Western Europe, with those in Ireland taking a leading role. The new form of reason spread across Western Europe from the eleventh century. The reasoning of Theos was inspired and guided by the monotheistic Judaeo-Christian God and emphasised the transient nature of physical reality and earthly existence. It was an hierarchical world in which the individual submitted to the preordained plan of God (and his earthly messengers). It was an enormously creative period exemplified by the Gregorian chant and Chartres cathedral. Theos began to disintegrate as the Church grew in power and became corrupt.

The Renaissance was an interlude between Theos and Mechanos, a period of exuberance and liberation from the strictures of Theos, in which painters and other artists flourished. It did not however mature into a cosmology and worldview, and was merely a transition.

Mechanos (including the scientific and industrial revolutions)

A new worldview came into being in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, based on the view of the universe as a clock-like entity or a machine, operating according to deterministic laws. To know these laws is to understand nature, and to be able to control it. It was shaped by figures such as Galileo, Bacon, Newton and Descartes. Mechanos saw the rise of the reductionist scientific method in which only “objective” information is considered valid. It also introduced dualism, the separation of mind and body. Many of the architects of Mechanos were also atheists, although many also maintained their Christian beliefs and reached an accommodation between the two opposing worldviews. That accommodation persists into the present. The mechanistic cosmology has brought about enormous material benefits at least to the Western world and lately to the Asian world; but has equally brought ecological devastation, human fragmentation and spiritual impoverishment. Its guardian is the university, and it reigns still, despite the evidence pointing to the need for a new worldview.

“The paradigm that is now receding has dominated our culture for several hundred years, during which it has shaped our modern Western society and has significantly influenced the rest of the world. This paradigm consists of a number of entrenched ideas and values, among them the view of the universe as a mechanical system composed of elementary building blocks, the view of the human body as a machine, the view of life in society as a competitive struggle for existence, the belief in unlimited material progress to be achieved through economic and technological growth, and – last, but not least – the belief that a society in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male is one that follows a basic law of nature. All of these assumptions have been fatefully challenged by recent events.”

(Capra, Fritjof, “The Web of Life”, HarperCollins, London, 1996, pp 5-6)

Evolutionary Telos

“There is nothing static in our universe. Seen appropriately, the universe is one continuous story of extraordinary creative unfolding.”

“To begin with, the discovery of evolution does not start with Darwin, but with Charles Lyell. Lyell saw and described the geological evolution in his seminal treatise Principles of Geology (1830-33). By the time Darwin came onto the stage, the ground was prepared. Darwin applied Lyell’s idea a step further and showed that species were evolving as well.”

The next two stages of this discovery are happening under our very eyes. We are actually articulating them, sometimes consciously sometimes only gropingly. These next two stages of evolution are the recognition of conceptual evolution, and then of theological evolution (the latter, because of the nature of traditional religions, is the most difficult for people to accept).”

(Skolimowski, Henryk, “A Sacred Place to Dwell”, Element, Dorset UK, 1993, pp 52-53).

After three centuries Mechanos is now evolving into something else, although its adherents still cling to their outdated beliefs. Work on a new cosmology and a new worldview has been going on in many fields for at least five decades, in physics, ecological science, environmental science, biology, theology, and many other disciplines. The central theme of this new worldview is the idea of wholeness, in a radical departure from the old mechanistic objectivist approach of Mechanos, and its main premise of fragmentation and separation. There is a new sense of the connectedness of all elements of the universe, a new sense of depth to the human person, and a reclaiming of meaning and spirituality as indispensable components of human life. The universe itself is seen as open and non-deterministic and evolving, as opposed to the outdated Newtonian design in which everything was static and governed by deterministic laws.

In contemporary discourse the debates about environmental issues and about climate change, that become fierce and largely irrational when transported from the scientific domain into the political domain, can be seen as part of the struggle between an outdated but entrenched worldview and a new and inevitable but still evolving worldview. These are not just political and activist issues. They are symptomatic of a seismic shift in worldviews. The neo-liberal economic orthodoxy of the last 30 years will eventually be replaced as part of that shift as well. But old worldviews die hard.

One of the earliest writers to document this transition to a new worldview was Marilyn Ferguson:

“A leaderless but powerful network is working to bring about a radical change in the United States. Its members have broken with certain key elements of Western thought, and they may even have broken continuity with history.

“This network is the Aquarian Conspiracy. It is a conspiracy without a political doctrine. Without a manifesto. With conspirators who seek power only to disperse it, and whose strategies are pragmatic, even scientific, but whose perspective sounds so mystical that they hesitate to discus it. Activists asking different kinds of questions, challenging the establishment from within.

Broader than reform, deeper than revolution, this benign conspiracy for a new human agenda has triggered the most rapid cultural realignment in history. The great shuddering, irrevocable shift overtaking us is not a new political, religious, or philosophical system. It is a new mind – the ascendance of a startling worldview that gathers into its framework breakthrough science and insights from earliest recorded thought.”

(“The Aquarian Conspiracy”, Routledge & Keegan Paul, Great Britain, 1981).

Ferguson touches here on the enormity of the mindshift that takes place during these periods of transition between worldviews, so profound and all-encompassing that those engrossed in their own disciplines and fields of expertise, and in their own political paradigms within the current worldview rarely discern the changes taking place around them. When the new worldview does impinge upon their lives they see it as threatening and dangerous and react accordingly.

Physicist Fritjof Capra has also been writing about the changing worldview for some years:

“The new paradigm may be called a holistic worldview, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts. It may also be called an ecological view, if the term ‘ecological’ is used in a much broader and deeper sense than usual. Deep ecological awareness recognises the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies, we are all embedded in (and ultimately dependent on) the cyclical processes of nature.”

(Capra, 1996, p 6).

This emerging worldview bears some similarity to the pre-agricultural worldview including the pre-colonial Oceanic, Polynesian and Maori worldview.

The Maori Worldview

 “Kotahi tonu te wairua o nga mea katoa”

Writing this essay led me to ask myself just what is the Maori worldview in the 21st Century. It is a question I will explore in a future essay. But for the moment let’s assume that there is a definable Maori worldview and explore some of the influences that have shaped it to this point in our evolution.

Unlike the Western mind, the Maori mind has not undergone the same shifts across the same quite revolutionary 10,000 to 12,000 year period, and Maori culture from the pre-colonial era has to some extent persisted into the modern era. It has however been hugely influenced by contact and fusion with Western culture, across the last 250 to 300 years, giving rise to the contemporary Maori worldview that is actually a deep fusion of both Maori and European cultures.

Whilst we retain beliefs, practices and ways of thinking that are recognisably Maori, our modern beliefs, practices and ways of thinking also have deep roots in the four great cycles of the Western mind; Mythos, Logos, Theos and Mechanos.

The pre-colonial Maori worldview was part of a wider worldview that spans indigenous Oceania, that itself had its genesis in the pre-agricultural worldview shared by all tribal and hunter gatherer societies on Earth, from the beginning of human society. Many of the underlying practices of that human worldview can also be seen in the whole of the web of life on Earth, both human and non-human. We do after all share a great part of our evolutionary history with all life on Earth and with the Earth itself (see Mai i Hawaiki ki Hawaiki).

Despite coming under long-term assault by the Western worldview, the underlying symbolism, psyche and values of the Maori worldview remain to some extent. At the visible level the practice of Maoritanga has endured, although aspects such as te reo Maori have come under threat from the Western worldview. Aspects of tikanga Maori and te kawa o te marae have persisted.

Composite worldviews have been generated by contact with the other worldview, and by constant pressure on Maori to discard the Maori worldview in favour of the Western.

Maori were greatly influenced during early contact by Western technology and trading practices, and by the new agriculture, introducing new concepts of economic activity which were rapidly adopted. Later, Maori social organisation was greatly affected by the destruction of the Maori economic base. Cultural adaptation to the new social and economic environments followed. Maori art forms have retained and evolved ancient symbolism but have been influenced and transformed by new symbolism, tools, materials and techniques borrowed from European art forms. Maori music has been greatly influenced by European music, and by American music forms orginating in Africa.

The early ethnologists interpreted the Maori worldview in ways they could understand, and in doing so changed even Maori perceptions of their own worldview, over time. An early example is the comparison of the supernatural ancestors of the Maori with the Olympian gods of the Greek period of Mythos, leading to the perception of those supernatural ancestors as “gods” rather than ancestors, and to the modern Maori teaching of “Atuatanga”. Another is the amalgamation of many tribal origin stories into a single but mythical story of a “great fleet” of waka that brought Maori settlers to Aotearoa New Zealand. These and many other early misinterpretations persist today in the Maori mind.

An early and immensely strong influence on the Maori mind was Christianity. It has been perhaps the major influence in creating the fusion of Western and Maori worldviews we now understand to be Maori culture. However despite its widespread adoption and influence, Christianity itself has been adapted to conform to many aspects of the Maori worldview amongst Maori congregations, and takes its place alongside and interwoven with traditional Maori ritual, notably on the marae and at tangihanga. The late Dominican priest and scholar Michael Shirres researched and wrote about this process of “inculturation” in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In the process of adopting and adapting the new Christian religion the old Polynesian religion was almost completely discarded. We tend to discount the enormous effect Christianity has had in transforming our Maori worldview but religion is one of the foundations of culture. When you change the religion the culture and worldview is irrevocably changed as well. We have indeed retained many aspects of the pre-Christian Maori worldview, values, symbolism and psyche but they sit upon and are fused into the underlying Middle Eastern and Western religious base that is Christianity.

Mechanos which brought us the scientific, industrial and technological revolutions has been as influential in shaping the contemporary Maori worldview as Christianity (or Theos). Maori today live as much within the scientific, industrial and technological worldview as Pakeha. We are all now homo smartphone.

As the Church is the guardian of the religious foundation of the Western worldview, in the secular world the universities are its guardians. The universities in New Zealand have reinterpreted the Maori worldview from within the bastions of the Western worldview and have themselves caused a radical transformation of the Maori worldview, The Church and the universities, the sacred and the profane, not working together but together working towards a similar outcome – transformation..

The influence of anthropologists in the universities, especially Auckland University was crucial in the development of this reinterpreted university Maori worldview. In the 1920s there were George Pitt-Rivers, Felix Keesing, Peter Buck, Apirana Ngata, and Raymond Firth. From the 1950s there was Ralph Piddington at AucklandUniversity and the Beagleholes at VictoriaUniversity.

(See Steven Webster, “Patrons of Maori Culture”, University of Otago Press, 1998, pp 125-127, 157-163).

Essentially they and a complete generation of their Maori and Pakeha students grafted the visible elements of the Maori worldview onto the submerged elements of the Western worldview, making the Maori mind intelligible to the Western mind. Scholarly works and teaching at universities and schools have embedded this re-interpretation of the Maori mind into Maori culture itself, so much so that it is now espoused and taught by Maori to Maori.

One outcome of a long period of ethnological and anthropological reinterpretation both inside and outside the university is the emergence of an ideology, a romantic and nostalgic version of Maoritanga that has taken hold in the universities, and in the Maori mind in general. Paradoxically the ideological version of Maoritanga bears only superficial resemblance to pre-contact Maori culture, and little resemblance to the lives lived by almost all Maori today.

The Church seeks to mould and transform minds to the service of a worldview. Schooling and tertiary education systems have a similar purpose; after all the concept of schooling before it became a universal concept had its roots in the Church. They seek to transform the minds of children, and the stories they believe, into a more advanced form of the prevailing worldview.

There have been many more factors in the transformation of the Maori worldview.

The Western worldview is now the dominant worldview in Aotearoa New Zealand and Maori live within it. However as it gradually evolves from what Skolimowski described as Mechanos to his new Evolutionary Telos the Western worldview seems to be reclaiming some of the pre-agricultural worldview, including some aspects of the pre-colonial Maori worldview. Only time will tell. A prevailing worldview has cultural, philosophical, social, ethnic, religious, political, and economic dimensions and change occurs in all dimensions in different ways and at different rates as worldviews evolve. Those changes are fiercely resisted every step of the way. The final result is impossible to predict.

In time perhaps, as Aotearoa New Zealand moves towards a bicultural or multicultural society, the manifestation of the new worldview or Evolutionary Telos in Aotearoa will become infused with compatible elements of Maori culture, as Maori culture has become infused with elements of Western culture. Perhaps the two will move towards each other, and towards a distinctively bicultural Aotearoa worldview. Perhaps not. Evolution has a habit of doing its own thing in its own time in its own way. Only time will tell. Perhaps the coming Asian millennium will take the evolution of worldviews in an entirely different direction. Whatever the direction it will almost certainly encompass the many new discoveries and the new knowledge of our age, unless religious fundamentalism prevails across the globe and takes us backwards into a new Dark Age, a new Theos.

But we must be optimistic and look forward to a new and exciting dawn; ki te whaiao, ki te ao marama. I have a suspicion that this transition into a new worldview is, and is going to be, more threatening to Pakeha than it is to Maori for we Maori have been in a state of cultural transition and upheaval for 300 years already.

Cosmologist Brian Swimme and cultural historian Thomas Berry describe the new scientific story of the cosmos and evolution of the Earth in terms that illustrate an underlying compatibility that may underpin and lead to whatever new worldview does emerge:

“Through this story we learn that we have a common genetic line of development. Every living being of Earth is cousin to every other living being. Even beyond the realm of the living we have a common origin in the primordial Flaring Forth of the energies from which the universe in all its aspects is derived.”

(“The Universe Story From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era, A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos”, Penguin, London, 1992, p 5).


The symbol of this new evolving worldview is the image of Gaia, representing the hypothesis of the living Earth co-developed by scientist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s.

Wairarapa tohunga Nepia Pohuhu said much the same thing in the 1860s during one of the last of the traditional whare wananga when he passed on the ancient Maori teaching, and the master idea or premise of an ancient global worldview:

“Kotahi tonu te wairua o nga mea katoa”.