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For the language, see Māori language. For other meanings see Māori (disambiguation).
Hinepare of Ngāti Kahungunu, c.1890
Total population
approx. 725,000
Regions with significant populations
 New Zealand 632,900 (ethnicity) [1]
 Australia 72,956 (descent) [2]
 United Kingdom approx. 8,000 [3]
 United States approx. 3,500 [4]
 Canada 1,305 [5]
Other regions approx. 8,000 [3]

Māori, English


Māori religion, Christianity

Related ethnic groups

other Polynesian peoples,
Austronesian peoples

The Māori (commonly pronounced /ˈmaʊri/ or /ˈmɑː.ɔri/) are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). They probably arrived in southwestern Polynesia in several waves at some time before year 1300,[6] settled and developed a distinct culture.

Māori society was destabilised from the late 18th century by the weapons and diseases introduced by Europeans, and after 1840 they lost an increasing amount of their land, and went into a cultural and numerical decline. However their population began to increase again from the late 19th century, and a marked Māori cultural revival began in the 1960s and continues.


Naming and self-naming

In the Māori language the word māori means "normal", "natural" or "ordinary". In legends and other oral traditions, the word distinguished ordinary mortal human beings from deities and spirits (wairua).[7][8]

Early visitors from Europe to New Zealand generally referred to the inhabitants as "New Zealanders" or as "natives", but Māori became the term used by Māori to describe themselves in a pan-tribal sense.[9]

Māori people often use the term tangata whenua (literally, "people of the land") to describe themselves in a way that emphasises their relationship with a particular area of land — a tribe may be the tangata whenua in one area, but not in another. The term can also refer to Māori as a whole in relation to New Zealand (Aotearoa) as a whole.

The Maori Purposes Act of 1947 required the use of the term 'Maori' rather than 'Native' in official usage, and the Department of Native Affairs became the Department of Māori Affairs. It is now Te Puni Kōkiri, or the Ministry for Māori Development.

Prior to 1974 ancestry determined the legal definition of "a Māori person". For example, bloodlines determined whether a person should enrol on the Māori or general (European) electoral roll; in 1947 the authorities determined that one man, five-eighths Māori, had improperly voted in the general (European) parliamentary electorate of Raglan.[10] The Māori Affairs Amendment Act 1974 changed the definition to one of cultural self-identification. In matters involving money (for example scholarships or Waitangi Tribunal settlements), the authorities generally require some demonstration of ancestry or cultural connection, but no minimum “blood” requirement exists.[11][12]


The Māori settlement of New Zealand represents an end-point of a long chain of island hopping voyages

The most current reliable evidence strongly indicates that initial settlement of New Zealand occurred around 1280 CE. Previous dating of some Kiore (Polynesian rat) bones at 50 - 150 CE has now been shown to have been unreliable; new samples of bone (and now also of unequivocally rat-gnawed woody seed cases) match the 1280 CE date of the earliest archaeological sites and the beginning of sustained, anthropogenic deforestation.[13] Māori oral history describes the arrival of ancestors from Hawaiki (a mythical homeland in tropical Polynesia) in large ocean-going canoes (waka: see Māori migration canoes). Migration accounts vary among tribes (iwi), whose members may identify with several waka in their genealogies or whakapapa.

No credible evidence exists of human settlement in New Zealand prior to the Polynesian voyagers; compelling evidence from archaeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology indicates that the first settlers came from East Polynesia and became the Māori. Language evolution studies at the University of Auckland suggest that most Pacific populations originated in Taiwan around 5,200 years ago,[14] as does mitochondrial DNA evidence.[15]

Development of Māori culture

First European impression of Māori, at Murderers' Bay in Abel Tasman's travel journal (1642)

The Eastern Polynesian ancestors of the Māori arrived in a forested land with abundant birdlife, including several now extinct moa species weighing from 20 to 250 kg. Other species, also now extinct, included a swan, a goose and the giant Haast's Eagle, which preyed upon the moa. Marine mammals, in particular seals, thronged the coasts, with coastal colonies much further north than today.[16] In the mid-19th century, people discovered large numbers of moa-bones alongside human tools, with some of the bones showing evidence of butchery and cooking. Early researchers, such as Julius von Haast, a geologist, incorrectly interpreted these remains as belonging to a prehistoric Paleolithic people; later researchers, notably Percy Smith, magnified such theories into an elaborate scenario with a series of sharply-defined cultural stages which had Māori arriving in a Great Fleet in 1350 AD and replacing the so-called "moa-hunter" culture with a "classical Māori" culture based on horticulture.[17] Current anthropological theories recognise no evidence for a pre-Māori people; the archaeological record indicates a gradual evolution in culture that varied in pace and extent according to local resources and conditions.[18]

A Maori chief with tattoos (moko) seen by Cook and his crew.

In the course of a few centuries, growing population led to competition for resources and an increase in warfare. The archaeological record reveals an increased frequency of fortified , although debate continues about the amount of conflict. Various systems arose which aimed to conserve resources; most of these, such as tapu and rāhui, used religious or supernatural threats to discourage people from taking species at particular seasons or from specified areas.

As Māori continued in geographic isolation, performing arts such as the haka developed from their Polynesian roots, as did carving and weaving. Regional dialects arose, with minor differences in vocabulary and in the pronunciation of some words. The language retains close similarities to other Eastern Polynesian tongues, to the point where a Tahitian chief on Cook's first voyage in the region acted as an interpreter between Māori and the crew of the Endeavour.

Around 1500 AD a group of Māori migrated east to Rekohu (the Chatham Islands), where, by adapting to the local climate and the availability of resources, they developed a culture known as Moriori — related to but distinct from Māori culture in mainland Aotearoa. A notable feature of the Moriori culture, an emphasis on pacifism, proved disasterous when a party of invading Taranaki Māori arrived in 1835. Few of the estimated Moriori population of 2000 survived. [19]

Interactions with Europeans before 1840

1846: Hone Heke, holding a rifle, with his wife Hariata and his uncle Kawiti, holding a taiaha.

European settlement of New Zealand occurred in relatively recent historical times. New Zealand historian Michael King in The Penguin History Of New Zealand describes the Māori as "the last major human community on earth untouched and unaffected by the wider world."

Early European explorers, including Abel Tasman (who arrived in 1642) and Captain James Cook (who first visited in 1769), recorded their impressions of Māori. From the 1780s, Māori encountered European and American sealers and whalers; some Māori crewed on the foreign ships. A trickle of escaped convicts from Australia and deserters from visiting ships, as well as early Christian missionaries, also exposed the indigenous population to outside influences. In the Boyd Massacre in 1809, Māori took hostage and killed 66 members of the crew and passengers in apparent revenge for the whipping of the son of a Māori chief by the captain. Several of the accounts of the survivors recounted the practice of cannibalism. This episode caused shipping companies and missionaries to be wary and significantly reduced contact between Europeans and Māori for several years.

By 1830, estimates placed the number of Europeans living among the Māori as high as 2,000. The newcomers had varying status-levels within Māori society, ranging from slaves to high-ranking advisors. Some remained little more than prisoners, while others abandoned European culture and identified as Māori. These Europeans "gone native" became known as Pākehā Māori. Many Māori valued them as a means to the acquisition of European technology, particularly firearms. When Pomare led a war-party against Titore in 1838, he had 132 Pākehā Māori mercenaries among his warriors. Frederick Edward Maning, an early settler, wrote two lively accounts of life in these times, which have become classics of New Zealand literature: Old New Zealand and History of the War in the North of New Zealand against the Chief Heke.

During the period from 1805 to 1840 the acquisition of muskets by tribes in close contact with European visitors upset the balance of power among Māori tribes, leading to a period of bloody inter-tribal warfare, known as the Musket Wars, which resulted in the decimation of several tribes and the driving of others from their traditional territory.[20] European diseases such as influenza and measles killed an unknown number of Māori: estimates vary between ten and fifty percent.[21][22] Economic changes also took a toll; migration into unhealthy swamplands to produce and export flax led to further mortality.[23]

1840 to 1890: The marginalisation of Māori

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, a member of the Kotahitanga movement in the 1890s, who argued that women should have equal voting rights in the Māori Parliament

With increasing Christian missionary activity, growing European settlement in the 1830s and the perceived lawlessness of Europeans in New Zealand, the British Crown, as a world power, came under pressure[24] to intervene. Ultimately, Whitehall sent William Hobson with instructions to take possession of New Zealand. Before he arrived, Queen Victoria annexed New Zealand by royal proclamation in January 1840. On arrival in February 1840, Hobson negotiated the Treaty of Waitangi with northern chiefs. Other Māori chiefs subsequently signed this treaty. In the end, only 500 chiefs out of the 1500 sub-tribes of New Zealand signed the Treaty, and some influential chiefs — such as Te Wherowhero in Waikato, and Te Kani-a-Takirau from the east coast of the North Island — refused to sign. The Treaty made the Māori British subjects in return for a guarantee of Māori property rights and tribal autonomy.

Dispute continues over whether the Treaty of Waitangi ceded Māori sovereignty. Māori chiefs signed a Māori-language version of the Treaty that did not accurately reflect the English-language version.[25] It appears unlikely that the Māori version of the treaty ceded sovereignty; and the Crown and the missionaries probably did not fully explain the meaning of the English version.[26]

A traditional Māori village in Hawke's Bay Province, during a meeting between Māori and settlers in 1863 to discuss the invasion of the Waikato.

Māori set up substantial businesses, supplying food and other products for domestic and overseas markets.

Among the early European settlers who learnt Māori and recorded Māori mythology, George Grey, Governor of New Zealand 1845-1855 and 1861–1868, stands out.

In the 1860s, disputes over questionable land purchases and the attempts of Māori in the Waikato to establish what some saw as a rival to the British system of royalty led to the New Zealand wars. Although these resulted in relatively few deaths, the colonial government confiscated large tracts of tribal land as punishment for what they called rebellion (although the Crown had initiated the military action against its own citizens), in some cases taking land from tribes that had taken no part in the war. Some tribes fought against the Crown, while others (known as kupapa) fought in support of the Crown. After most of the fighting had ceased, a passive resistance movement developed at the settlement of Parihaka in Taranaki, but Crown troops dispersed its participants in 1881.

The Native Land Acts of 1862 and 1865 set up the Native Land Court, which had the purpose of breaking down communal ownership and facilitating the alienation of land. As a result, between 1840 and 1890 Māori lost 95 percent of their land (63,000,000 of 66,000,000 acres in 1890).

With the loss of much of their land, Māori went into a period of numerical and cultural decline, and by the late 19th century a widespread belief existed amongst both Pakeha and Māori that the Māori population would cease to exist as a separate race or culture and become assimilated into the European population.[27]

In 1840, New Zealand had a Māori population of about 100,000 and only about 2,000 Europeans. The Māori population had declined to 42,113 in the 1896 census and Europeans numbered more than 700,000.[28]


Late twentieth-century house-post depicting the navigator Kupe fighting two sea creatures.
Sir Apirana Ngata became instrumental in the revival of traditional arts such as kapa haka and carving. He also promoted farming as a means of land-retention.

The decline of the Māori population did not continue, and levels recovered. Despite a substantial level of intermarriage between the Māori and European populations, many Māori retained their cultural identity. A number of discourses developed as to the meaning of "Māori" and to who counted as Māori or not. (Māori do not form a monolithic bloc, and no one political or tribal authority can speak on behalf of all Māori.) There is no racial test to determine who is Māori or not, merely an affinity with one's Māori ancestry (regardless of how remote). Thus a significant percentage of those identifying as Māori may well appear to be of European ancestry. The dominant discourse in New Zealand mitigates against concepts of mixed race or multiple heritage being recognised.

From the late 19th century, successful Māori politicians such as James Carroll, Apirana Ngata, Te Rangi Hīroa and Maui Pomare emerged. They showed skill in the arts of Pākehā politics; at one point Carroll became Acting Prime Minister. The group, known as the Young Māori Party, cut across voting-blocs in Parliament and aimed to revitalise the Māori people after the devastation of the previous century. For them this involved assimilation — Māori adopting European ways of life such as Western medicine and education. However Ngata in particular also wished to preserve traditional Māori culture, especially the arts. Ngata acted as a major force behind the revival of arts such as kapa haka and carving. He also enacted a programme of land-development which helped many iwi retain and develop their land.

The government decided to exempt Māori from the conscription that applied to other citizens in World War II, but Māori volunteered in large numbers, forming the 28th or Māori Battalion, which performed creditably, notably in Crete, North Africa and Italy. Altogether 17,000 Māori took part in the war.

Since the 1960s, Māoridom has undergone a cultural revival[29] strongly connected with a protest movement.[30] Government recognition[citation needed] of the growing political power of Māori and political activism have led to limited redress for unjust confiscation of land and for the violation of other property rights. The Crown set up the Waitangi Tribunal, a body with the powers of a Commission of Enquiry, to investigate and make recommendations on such issues, but it cannot make binding rulings. As a result of the redress paid to many iwi (tribes), Māori now have significant interests in the fishing and forestry industries. Tensions remain, with complaints from Māori that the settlements occur at a level of between 1 and 2.5 cents on the dollar of the value of the confiscated lands. The Government need not accept the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal, and has rejected some of them, with a most recent and widely-debated example in the New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy.

The urbanisation of Māori proceeded apace in the second half of the 20th century. A majority of Māori people now live in cities and towns, and many have become estranged from tribal roots and customs.

Once Were Warriors, a 1994 film adapted from a 1990 novel of the same name by Alan Duff, brought the plight of some urban Māori to a wide audience. It was the highest-grossing film in New Zealand until 2006,[31][32] and received international acclaim, winning several international film prizes.[33] While some Māori feared that viewers would consider the violent male characters an accurate portrayal of Māori men, most critics praised it as exposing the raw side of domestic violence[citation needed]. Some Māori opinion, particularly feminist, welcomed the debate on domestic violence that the film enabled[citation needed].

In many areas of New Zealand, Māori lost its role as a living community language used by significant numbers of people in the post-war years. In tandem with calls for sovereignty and for the righting of social injustices from the 1970s onwards, many New Zealand schools now teach Māori culture and language, and pre-school kohanga reo ("language-nests") have started, which teach tamariki (young children) exclusively in Māori. These now extend right through secondary schools (kura tuarua). In 2004 Māori Television, a government-funded channel committed to broadcasting primarily in te reo, began. Māori is an official language de jure, but English is de facto the national language. At the 2006 Census, Māori was the second most widely-spoken language after English, with four percent of New Zealanders able to speak Māori to at least a conversational level. No official data has been gathered on fluency levels.

There are seven designated Māori seats in the Parliament of New Zealand (and Māori can and do stand in and win general roll seats), and consideration of and consultation with Māori have become routine requirements for councils and government organisations. Debate occurs frequently as to the relevance and legitimacy of the Māori electoral roll, and the National Party announced in 2008 it would abolish the seats when all historic Treaty settlements have been resolved, which it aims to complete by 2014.[34]


Social issues

Despite significant social and economic advances during the 20th century, Māori tend to appear in the lower percentiles in most health and education statistics and in labour-force participation, and feature disproportionately highly in criminal and imprisonment statistics. Like many indigenous cultures, Māori suffer both institutional and direct racism.[citation needed] For example, in December 2006, vandals sprayed racist graffiti on ancient Māori rock-art at the Raincliff Historic Reserve in South Canterbury.[35][36]

Treaty of Waitangi settlements

During the 1990s and 2000s, the government negotiated with Māori to provide redress for breaches by the Crown of the guarantees set out in the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. By 2006 the government had provided over NZ$900 million in settlements, much of it in the form of land deals. The largest settlement, signed on 25 June 2008 with seven Māori iwi, transferred nine large tracts of forested land to Māori control.[37]

Intellectual property

The opening of the Māori Parliament at Pāpāwai, Greytown, 1897, with Richard John Seddon in attendance

Ka Mate haka

Between 1998 and 2006, the Ngati Toa iwi attempted to trademark the Ka Mate haka and to forbid its use by commercial organisations without their permission.[38][39] The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand turned their claim down in 2006, since Ka Mate had achieved wide recognition in New Zealand and abroad as representing New Zealand as a whole and not a particular trader.[40] In 2009, as a part of a wider settlement of grievences, the New Zealand government agreed to:

"...record the authorship and significance of the haka Ka Mate to Ngāti Toa and ... work with Ngāti Toa to address their concerns with the haka... [but] does not expect that redress will result in royalties for the use of Ka Mate or provide Ngāti Toa with a veto on the performance of Ka Mate...".[41][42]


In 2001 a dispute concerning the popular LEGO toy-line "Bionicle" arose between Danish toymaker Lego Group and several Māori tribal groups (fronted by lawyer Maui Solomon) and members of the on-line discussion forum (Aotearoa Cafe). The Bionicle product line allegedly used many words appropriated from Māori language, imagery and folklore. The dispute ended in an amicable settlement. Initially Lego refused to withdraw the product, saying it had drawn the names from many cultures, but later agreed that it had taken the names from Māori and agreed to change certain names or spellings to help set the toy-line apart from the Māori legends. This did not prevent the many Bionicle users from continuing to use the disputed words, resulting in the popular Bionicle website BZPower coming under a denial-of-service attack for four days from an attacker using the name Kotiate.[43]

"Maori" cigarettes

Phillip Morris' L&M Maori Mix cigarettes

In 2005 a New Zealander in Jerusalem discovered that the Phillip Morris cigarette company had started producing a brand of cigarette in Israel called the "L & M Maori mix".[44] In 2006, the head of Phillip Morris, Louis Camilleri, issued an apology to Māori: "We sincerely regret any discomfort that was caused to Māori people by our mistake and we won't be repeating it."[45]

Jean Paul Gaultier's appropriation of the Moko

In 2007 the French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier used ta moko inspired designs on the faces of models appearing in ads for the European editions of the magazine Vogue.[46][47]

Māori and conservation

Contemporary Māori culture

According to Tania Kopytko, Māori youth have always had a difficult time maintaining ties with the traditional Māoritanga culture, especially lacking "the commitment and effort necessary for a knowledge of [it]".[48] For this reason[citation needed], Māori youth import mainstream and popular cultural icons, identities, and lifestyles in considerable quantities. Most typically, these Māori youth will take after the African-American hip hop culture, as its perceived mainstream status makes it readily accessible to them. Kopytko also says that the socio-political position of African Americans resisting a dominant white culture mirrors the situation of Māori, Polynesian, and even poor-white youth resisting the oppressive white forces which occupy the higher economic strata of society in New Zealand. Finally, the mass consumption of British punk in 1982 marked the first real establishment of a youth culture and, more importantly, paved the way for such a warm reception of foreign forms with the influx of what Kopytko calls the "breakdance package".[49] In this way, facilitation by a pre-existing youth culture and identification with the African-American cause have both made importing the associated hip hop culture quite easy. One feature of this youth import culture, breakdancing, arrived in New Zealand in 1983 from Western Samoa, confirms Kopytko.[50] Indeed, "breakdance provided a very strong and positive identity that did much to raise [Māori] self esteem and realize their capabilities."[50] Māori youth utilize the social space that breakdancing provides them in a very dynamic fashion, she says, gaining recognition and notions of increased self-worth in the process. Kopytko suggests that this appropriation of breakdancing allowed the later arrival of rap to become "a vehicle for vernacular expressions of Māori militancy".[50]

In recent years, indigenous peoples have made attempts to reconnect with their youth.[citation needed] A 1992 song by the group Moana and the Moahunters called out to young Māori to learn the language and to accept their heritage.[51] The music video for this song shows images of Maori in traditional dress doing traditional dances to a modern hip-hop beat. The video targets youth through its rhythms while it educates them about their heritage.[citation needed]


The New Zealand Law Commission has started a project to develop a legal framework for Māori who want to manage communal resources and responsibilities. The voluntary system proposes an alternative to existing companies, incorporations, and trusts in which tribes and hapu and other groupings can interact with the legal system. The foreshadowed legislation, under the proposed name of the "Waka Umanga (Māori Corporations) Act", would provide a model adaptable to suit the needs of individual iwi. It seems likely that the current Government coalition will not support the Bill in its un-amended form and if the final Act should pass into law, it will presumably depart significantly less radically from the current legal personalities afforded by New Zealand law.[52][53]


Māori "tend to be followers of Presbyterianism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), or Maori Christian groups such as Ratana and Ringatu",[54] but with Catholic, Anglican and Methodist groupings also prominent. Islam is the fastest growing religion amongst the Maori community.[55][56]

Modern socio-economic issues

Māori on average have fewer assets than the rest of the population, and run greater risks of many negative economic and social outcomes. Over 50% of Māori live in areas in the three highest deprivation deciles, compared with 24% of the rest of the population.[57] Although Māori make up only 14% of the population, they make up almost 50% of the prison population.[58] Māori have higher unemployment-rates than other cultures resident in New Zealand [59] Māori have higher numbers of suicides than non-Māori.[60] "Only 47% of Māori school-leavers finish school with qualifications higher than NCEA Level One; compared to a massive 74% European; 87% Asian."[61] Māori suffer more health problems, including higher levels of alcohol and drug abuse, smoking and obesity. Less frequent use of healthcare services mean that late diagnosis and treatment intervention lead to higher levels of morbidity and mortality in many manageable conditions, such as cervical cancer[62], diabetes[63] per head of population than Pakeha (non-Maori).[64] Māori also have considerably lower life-expectancies compared to New Zealanders of European ancestry: Māori males 69.0 years vs. non-Māori males 77.2 years; Māori females 73.2 yrs vs. non-Māori females 81.9 years.[65] Also, a recent study by the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse showed that Maori women and children are more likely to experience domestic violence than any other ethnic group.[66]

Performing arts and sports

The Māori rugby team playing the England Saxons in 2007 in the Churchill Cup

Kapa haka is defined as a cultural performance and is well known as an entertainment or cultural aspect of Maori life. It is very creative and is performed to an audience or just for pure pleasure. People may enjoy the creative and performing arts in a variety of ways, from being an audience member to performing or participating in the art itself.[67]

There are many indigenous dance forms, however kapa haka is unique in its own way as the participators must all sing and dance in synch.

In kapa haka we see different avenues which make up the whole kapa haka concept.

For sports, rugby league has traditionally been viewed as the preferred sport amongst Māori people.[68]


A song usually performed quite often in the structure of kapa haka. Since the 1930s, action songs have been promulgated most of all by clubs for young people which operate all over New Zealand, especially in urban areas.[69]

The importance of the Maori language, of holding on to customs and traditions, were some of the key messages contained in the songs. The traditional Maori society history was passed down orally throughout the generations as Maori did not read or write. Waiata were chant poems that formed the canon of Maori oral literature.[70] Most of the waiata are sung and written by women and include laments, love songs, lullabies, and songs of challenge and contempt.[71]

The Poi

Poi is a performance art employing a ball suspended from a length of flexible material, usually a plaited cord, held in the hand and swung in circular patterns. This is usually accompanied by the waiata, to add rhythm and a visual accompaniment.[72]

The earliest recorded performances of the Poi dates back to 1905, when it represented the arrival of the canoe to New Zealand. One of the Poi dances represents the arrival of the Arawa tribe in New Zealand about 10 centuries ago, and was called the canoe Poi. The visual scene of this would have seen women rocking to and fro, forwards and backwards, swinging their poi to imitate the paddling of a canoe.


The haka is a dance that is performed with loud and fierce shouts. People sometimes refer to it as a war dance, or as a challenge to whomever the haka is being performed.

It is widely known through pre-match performance by the All Blacks, the New Zealand national rugby union team, and the Kiwis, New Zealand's rugby league team, so has come to be strongly associated with New Zealand.

This form of dance was used on battlefields during wartime, perhaps because of its fierceness.[73]

Indigenous Māori sports

Ki-o-rahi and tapawai are just two sports of Māori origin. Ki-o-rahi got an unexpected boost when McDonalds chose it to represent New Zealand.[74]

Where activities take place

Kapa haka performances and practices take place on the marae. “Marae centred, family oriented events became an important part of urban life, with opportunities for peer groups and multi-recreational interaction while playing and sleeping together” [75] This is important as it allows families to engage in other activities and are able to learn and pick up a lot of things during this time with family members. Because of the growth in kapa haka and its popularity this activity is performed nationwide and internationally.


In New Zealand society there are many kapa haka cultural groups. There are now groups of different age levels and special competitions or festivals are held for them.[76] Teams from around New Zealand gather at these festivals to compete, and show their uniqueness and ability to perform.[77]

This is the first and most important function of the performances: an enrichment of national life in New Zealand, when the dominant group can watch, listen and appreciate Māori art.[78]

Not only is kapa haka performed nationwide but it was also performed in New York for the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[79]

Recent festivals

A recent example of a kapa haka festival was the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival [77], which was held in Tauranga. Many groups performed for the honour of their areas and honour of their iwi (tribe). Many well known groups were present, such as Rangimarie, Te Waka Huia, and Waihirere. These groups are well known from former festivals, and many of these groups have won the competition.

See also


  1. ^ Statistics New Zealand (2007). Māori population estimates tables as of 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  2. ^ Table 2.1, p 12, in Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004). Australians' Ancestries: 2001PDF (2.01 MiB). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 2054.0.
  3. ^ a b Walrond, Carl (2005). Māori overseas - England, the United States and elsewhere, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  4. ^ New Zealand-born figures from the 2000 U.S. Census; sum of "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander" and people of mixed race. United States Census Bureau (2003). Census 2000 Foreign-Born Profiles (STP-159): Country of Birth: New ZealandPDF (103 KiB). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. ^ Statistics Canada (2003). Ethnic Origin (232), Sex (3) and Single and Multiple Responses (3) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2001 Census - 20% Sample Data. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Cat. No. 97F0010XCB2001001.
  6. ^ New Scientist Webpage: Rat remains help date New Zealand's colonisation. Accessed 2008-06-23
  7. ^ Atkinson, A. S. (1892). "What is a Tangata Maori?" Journal of the Polynesian Society, 1 (3), 133-136. Accessed 2007-12-18.
  8. ^ Māori has cognates in other Polynesian languages such as Hawaiian 'Maoli,' Tahitian 'Mā’ohi,' and Cook Islands Maori 'Māori' which all share similar meanings.
  9. ^ The orthographic conventions developed by the Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori) recommend the use of the macron (ā ē ī ō ū) to denote long vowels. Contemporary English-language usage in New Zealand tends to avoid the anglicised plural form of the word Māori with an "s": Māori generally marks plurals by changing the article rather than the noun, for example: te waka (the canoe); ngā waka (the canoes).
  10. ^ Atkinson, Neill, (2003), Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand, Otago University Press
  11. ^ McIntosh, Tracey (2005), 'Maori Identities: Fixed, Fluid, Forced', in James H. Liu, Tim McCreanor, Tracey McIntosh and Teresia Teaiwa, eds, New Zealand Identities: Departures and Destinations, Wellington: Victoria University Press, p. 45
  12. ^ In 2003, Christian Cullen became a member of the Māori rugby team despite having, according to his father, about 1/64 Māori ancestry. (BBC Sport: 'Uncovering the Maori mystery', 5 June 2003.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Pacific People Spread From Taiwan, Language Evolution Study Shows
  15. ^ (2005) [ Mitochondrial DNA Provides a Link between Polynesians and Indigenous Taiwanese]. PLoS Biology 3(8): e281. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030281.
  16. ^ Irwin, Geoffrey (2006). 'Pacific Migrations' in Māori Peoples of New Zealand: Ngā Iwi o Aotearoa. Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Auckland: David Bateman, 2006:10-18.
  17. ^ Howe, Kerry, (2006). 'Ideas of Māori Origins' in Māori Peoples of New Zealand: Ngā Iwi o Aotearoa. Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Auckland: David Bateman, 2006 pp 25-40.
  18. ^ Howe, p 161
  19. ^ Moriori - The impact of new arrivals - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  20. ^ 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
  21. ^ Entwisle, Peter (20 October 2006). "Estimating a population devastated by epidemics". Otago Daily Times. 
  22. ^ Pool, D. I. (March 1973). "Estimates of New Zealand Maori Vital Rates from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to World War I". Population Studies 27 (1): 117–125. doi:10.2307/2173457. 
  23. ^ Thompson, Christina A. (June 1997). "A dangerous people whose only occupation is war: Maori and Pakeha in 19th century New Zealand". Journal of Pacific History 32 (1): 109–119. doi:10.1080/00223349708572831. Retrieved 2008-06-15. "Whole tribes sometimes relocated to swamps where flax grew in abundance but where it was unhealthy to live.". 
  24. ^ Orange, Claudia (1989). The Story of a Treaty. Wellington: Allen & Unwin. pp. 13. ISBN 0046410538. 
  25. ^ "Differences between the texts". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  26. ^ Lee, Jennifer. "Treaty of Waitangi and the Maori Ethnic Movement". Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  27. ^ King 2003, p 224
  28. ^ "Population - Factors and Trends", from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, published in 1966. Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2007-09-18. Accessed 2007-12-18.
  29. ^ "Māori - Urbanisation and renaissance". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. "The Māori renaissance since 1970 has been a remarkable phenomenon.". 
  30. ^ "Time Line of events 1950 - 2000". Schools @ Look4. 
  31. ^ Baillie, Russell (24 January 2006). "Other NZ hits eat dust of 'Fastest Indian'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  32. ^ "Aramoana film cracks $1 million". The New Zealand Herald. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  33. ^ "Awards for Once Were Warriors". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  34. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (29 September 2008). "National to dump Maori seats in 2014". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 December 2009. 
  35. ^ "Racist graffiti harms early Maori rock art". Stuff. 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2006-12-17. 
  36. ^ Tūi Tūi Tuituiā - Race Relations in 2006, Human Rights Commission, March 2007. ISBN 0-478-28625-2. Accessed 2007-12-21.
  37. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (25 June 2008). "Iwi 'walks path' to biggest ever Treaty settlement". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  38. ^ "All Blacks fight to keep haka". 2000-07-16. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  39. ^ "Iwi threatens to place trademark on All Black haka". New Zealand Herald. 2005-05-22. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  40. ^ "Iwi claim to All Black haka turned down". New Zealand Herald. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  41. ^ Ngāti Toa Rangatira Letter of Agreement
  42. ^
  43. ^ Wired - Lego Site Irks Maori Sympathizer
  44. ^ TVNZ
  45. ^ Stokes, Jon (29 April 2006). "Tobacco giant apologises to Maori". The New Zealand Herald. 
  46. ^ Field, Michael. "Cheeky French steal moko". Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  47. ^ Glaceyeux Blog. "I'll eat your liver and still look fabulous". Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  48. ^ Kopytko, Tania (1986). "Breakdance as an Identity Marker in New Zealand". Yearbook for Traditional Music (International Council for Traditional Music) 18: 21–28. doi:10.2307/768516. Retrieved 2008-07-13.  [Payment or subscription required for online version]
  49. ^ Kopytko, Tania (1986). "Breakdance as an Identity Marker in New Zealand". Yearbook for Traditional Music (International Council for Traditional Music) 18: 22. doi:10.2307/768516. Retrieved 2008-07-13.  [Payment or subscription required for online version]
  50. ^ a b c Mitchell, Tony. "Kia Kaha! (Be Strong!): Maori and Pacific Islander Hip-hop in Aotearoa-New Zealand." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, ed. Tony Mitchell, 282-284. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
  51. ^ Mitchell, Tony. "Kia Kaha! (Be Strong!): Maori and Pacific Islander Hip-hop in Aotearoa-New Zealand." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, ed. Tony Mitchell, 280-305. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
  52. ^ "Waka Umanga : A Proposed Law for Maori Governance Entities - NZLC R". Law Commission. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  53. ^ "Waka Umanga (Maori Corporations) Bill - NZLC MP 15". Auckland District Law Society. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  54. ^ International Religious Freedom Report, retrieved 2008-02-07
  55. ^ Kia Ora Aotearoa
  56. ^ Hume, Tim. "Muslim faith draws converts from NZ prisons." Star Times
  57. ^ Maori Health Web Page: Socioeconomic Determinants of Health - Deprivation. Accessed 2007-06-12.
  58. ^ "Over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system". Department of Corrections. September 2007. p. 4. 
  59. ^ Department of Labour, NZ, Māori Labour Market Outlook
  60. ^ University of Otago, NZ, Suicide Rates in New Zealand - Exploring Associations with Social and Economic Factors
  61. ^, Flavell: Maori Education - not achieved
  62. ^, Who gets Cervical Cancer?
  63. ^ Diabetes in New Zealand - Models And Forecasts 1996 - 2011
  64. ^ PubMed Maori Health Issues
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  66. ^ "Mana Māori". Community Action Toolkit to Prevent Family Violence Information Sheet #30 (p. 40). Accessed 16 July 2009.
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  77. ^ a b
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  79. ^ Mead,

Further reading

  • Biggs, Bruce (1994). "Does Māori have a closest relative?" In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 96 – 105.
  • Hiroa, Te Rangi (Sir Peter Buck) (1974). The Coming of the Māori. Second edition. First published 1949. Wellington: Whitcombe and Tombs.
  • Irwin, Geoffrey (1992). The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • King, Michael (2003). History of New Zealand ISBN 0-14-301867-1 Penguin.
  • Simmons, D.R. (1997). Ta Moko, The Art of Māori Tattoo. Revised edition. First published 1986. Auckland: Reed
  • Sutton, Douglas G. (Ed.) (1994). The Origins of the First New Zealanders. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 1869400984
  • Mclean, Mervyn (1996). "Maori Music". Auckland : Auckland University Press.

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Maori phrasebook article)

From Wikitravel

The Maori language is cherished by the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori, as a treasure and many pakeha are now trying to learn it. However, although it is an official language of New Zealand, few New Zealanders (and only a minority of Maori) can conduct a conversation in the Maori language (all indigenous Maori speakers are bilingual and understand English just as well).

Still, a number of Maori words have been adopted into New Zealand English, while many place names are Maori words. Being able to correctly pronounce Maori words is a valued skill since incorrectly pronounced Maori sounds like fingernails scratching on a blackboard and will immediately identify you as a visitor to the country. Even a tolerable and halting attempt at the correct pronunciation is better than a poor guess – your effort to get it right will be appreciated and accepted. (Many New Zealanders have trouble with some Maori place names, so you will blend in with the crowd.)

Pronunciation Guide

The New Zealand Maori language (Maori: Te Reo Maori) is relatively simple to pronounce.


Each of the vowels has a long and short form:

short a 
a as u in butt
long a 
ā as a in father
short e 
e as e in pen
long e 
ē as ai in pair
short i 
i as i in bit
long i 
ī as ee in feet
short o 
o as o in fort
long o 
ō as o in store
short u 
u as u in put
long u 
ū as oo in boot

Macron usage

In written Māori, the long vowels are often denoted by macrons (bars over the letters) or whatever similar characters were available to the typesetter. Sometimes the vowel letter is repeated for vowels that are long and hard.

Macrons are not normally used when a Maori word has been adopted into English and they do not generally appear on direction signs or maps.

Thus Māori, Maaori and Maori all represent the


Maori words are broken into syllables at each vowel or Consonant-Vowel pair.

For example:

is said A ka ta ra wa
is said MAOW ree roll your tounge, though Westerners tend to incorrectly pronounce it Maa o ri
is said Pa ra pa ra u mu
is said Pe to ne
is said Wha nga rei


Maori word root combinations tends to have a major root subject followed by qualifier suffixes. This means a literal translation from Maori to English produces a lot of transposed word combinations.

For example:

  • Rotoruarotolake and ruatwo = two lakes.
  • Kaimoanakaifood and moanasea = seafood.

Phrase list

It is unlikely that an ordinary traveler will need to resort to speaking Maori to make themselves understood. However an understanding of Maori words and their meanings will lead to an appreciation of the culture and enhance the travel experience.



Maori take meetings and greetings seriously. Visitors and honored guests will often be welcomed in a formal ceremony known as a Powhiri. While such ceremonies generally take place on a Marae, it has become accepted practice that such ceremonies may also take place at conferences, important meetings, and similar ceremonial occasions. On such formal occasions, protocol will normally mean that a representative or adviser who can speak Maori will be assigned to the visitors' party to assist and explain what is happening and may formally speak (Whaikoreroe) to introduce the visitors.

Hello (informal or answering the telephone) 
Kia ora
Hello (to one person) 
Tēnā koe
Hello (to two people) 
Tēnā kōrua
Hello (to a group) 
Tēnā koutou
Haere mai
Good-bye (to the person staying) 
E noho rā
Good-bye (to the person going)  
Haere rā
Thank you 
kia ora
hello means kia ora

As there is no word for thank you, kia ora is used No is Kahore for the Northland tribe Nga Puhi

Tahi (tar-he)
Rua (rew-ah)
Toru (toh-rew)
Wha (far)
Rima (ree-ma)
Ono (o-noh)
Whitu (fee-too)
Waru (waah-rew)
Iwa (ee-wah)
Tekau (teh-ko)

To say numbers higher than then you must say Tekau ma *number*

Tekau ma Tahi
Tekau ma Rua
Tekau ma Toru
Tekau ma Wha
Tekau ma Rima
Tekau ma Ono
Tekau ma Whitu
Tekau ma Waru
Tekau ma Iwa

To say 20,30,40,50 - 90 you must say *number* Tekau E.G. 20 is Rua Tekau and 30 is Toru Tekau

If you want to say any numbers in between you must say *number* Tekau ma *number*

Rua Tekau ma Tahi
Toru Tekau ma Rua
Wha Tekau ma Toru

And so on....

river, channel
sea, lake
beach, sand, soil
sky, heavens
tide, sea
bay, harbor

Many place names have been made tautological by Europeans adding a word which is already contained in the Māori name, e.g. Mount Maunganui = "Mount big mountain". However, in recent years, there has been a trend for New Zealand English speakers to drop the English geographic qualifier and refer to many geographic features by their Māori names alone. Thus Mount Ruapehu is often referred to simply as Ruapehu. In many respects this is an English contraction rather than a reversion to Māori names, as many of the Māori words are followed by a pluralising s where the omitted English geographic term was plural. So the Rimutakas is used in place of the Rimutaka ranges, while the Waikato will normally refer to the the Waikato river although Waikato (without the) would probably refer to the region, though this may need to be inferred from the context.

Learning more

Maori is taught in many places around New Zealand, often as a night class. Ask at the local information centre or citizens advice bureau. The Maori Language Commission also has a list of course providers.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Database error article)

From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also maori, māori, and Māori



Wikipedia has an article on:




  • From Maori language term maori, meaning "aborigine", "native", "normal", "ordinary", or "plain".

Alternative spellings

  • Māori: Preferred usage in Māori text. Macrons recommended by Māori Language Commission to indicate long vowel sounds in Māori words. Macrons also used in New Zealand English texts with Māori-related content.
  • Mäori: Alternative usage in Māori text where macrons not available.
  • Maaori: Alternative usage in Māori text with limited character sets.



  1. Of, from, or pertaining to the Maori.




countable and uncountable; plural Maori or Maoris

Maori (countable and uncountable; plural Maori or Maoris)

  1. Language of the Maori.
  2. Indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand.
  3. Member of the people of New Zealand.

Usage notes

The plural form "Maoris" is sometimes used for members of the people, but "Maori" is preferred, as the term is invariant in Māori.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Derived terms

See also

External links

eTexts at the NZ Electronic Text Centre


Simple English

Redirecting to Māori


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